We are in the season of instant Draft analysis. Pro Football Focus took a look at each NFL team’s Draft haul. The Jets were one of three teams to put together a Draft class PFF termed elite.
Day 1: The Jets should be ecstatic that Darnold was still on the board at No. 3 overall. Our No. 2 player on the PFF Draft Board, Darnold has shown exceptional high-end play, throwing with the accuracy and anticipation desired from an NFL quarterback. He has two strong years of grading under his belt, and while last year was not as good as anticipated, Darnold was still the No. 3-graded quarterback in the nation outside of his four poor games. He must cut back on the bad decisions and fumbles that marred that four-game stretch, as he finished with the fifth-highest percentage of turnover-worthy plays in the draft class last season, but it’s the big-time throws that make him a potentially special prospect as he ranked second. Darnold has shown well in crunch time, whether at the end of the half or with the game on the line, and his ability to make plays both inside and outside the pocket will lead to memorable moments for Jets fans.
Day 2: With only a third-round selection on Day 2, the Jets add athletic defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd to the mix, a small-school player who looked strong during his limited reps at the Senior Bowl. He has outstanding size and athleticism, and he could develop into a good all-around player given his measurables.
Day 3: Christopher Herndon showed strong big-play ability last season, forcing nine missed tackles on only 40 receptions and averaging 9.3 yards after the catch per reception. Parry Nickerson could become a steal in the sixth round as he has three outstanding years of production to go with 4.32 speed. He allowed a passer rating of only 41.7 in 2017 and 32.5 when targeted in 2016. Folorunso Fatukasi is an outstanding run defender, grading between 82.8 and 86.1 in all four years at UConn, though he provided little as a pass-rusher, including a 3.1 pass-rush productivity last year that ranked 131st in the draft class.
Overall grade: Elite
As always, these instant grades do not mean a whole lot. The proof will come over the next few years.
It still is a refreshing change of pace to hear such positive feedback on a Jets Draft class.