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Seahawks Select North Carolina Defensive Tackle Nazair Jones With No. 102 Overall Pick In 2017 NFL Draft

The Seahawks took North Carolina defensive tackle Nazair Jones with their fifth pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

The Seahawks added a second defensive lineman in as many rounds of the NFL draft, selecting North Carolina defensive tackle Nazair Jones with the 102nd overall pick, one of four third-round picks Seattle used Friday.

Jones got the call from the Seahawks while watching the draft with his mother, grandmother and great grandmother, and wasn't surprised that it came from the Seahawks.

"I had a good idea it would be Seattle knowing that they had six picks on the second day," Jones said on a conference call. "I just think I'm a great fit for (the Seahawks), that's kind of the vibe I got from them. I feel like they liked me a lot, they liked my versatility and everything I brought to the field, and also the character part, the things I do in the community. I just felt like it was a great fit."

Jones started all 12 games he played in 2016, finishing the season with 70 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Jones, who is 6-foot-5, 304 pounds, projects as a big, run-stuffing defensive tackle, and will fit in in the Seahawks locker room not just because of his physical talents, but because he also has one of Seattle's favorite traits in a player: grit.

When Jones was a junior in high school, he was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, a rare disease that took two months to even diagnose, and that caused him to lose 40 pounds and have to re-learn how to walk again before he could even begin considering a return to football. 

"I'm really just blessed man, to go through everything I've went through, just to still be drafted into the NFL," he said. "I really can't ask for anything more than that.

"It was a long road. It took almost two months for me to even get a diagnosis. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is so different, and it is so uncommon, that some of my doctors had never heard of it and had never diagnosed anyone with it. It took me a long time to do that, but it wasn't until my redshirt freshman year at North Carolina where I felt back to 100 percent. I played my (high school) senior season football, basketball and track, still recovering, but just trying my best."

Jones also started his own nonprofit while in college, M.A.D.E. Men Mentoring, which pairs underprivileged youth with college athletes who serve as mentors.

"We're just trying to get guys on the right path," he said. "What I do is I'll take different groups of athletes from surrounding schools and we'll go into middle schools or high schools and have seminars with the guys and just tell them what it takes to be a college athlete and what it takes succeed in the classroom as well. I had a mentor in my life, but he passed away last year, and I knew how big of an impact he had on my life, so I wanted to pass that kind of impact he had on me, because I knew if it weren't for him, I wouldn't be on the phone with you guys right now."


Photos of new Seahawks defensive lineman Nazair Jones from North Carolina.

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