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The 2021 Draft Class: Including UDFAs

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets have been busy putting the finishing touches on their draft class and it’s hard to not be impressed with what Joe Douglas and team did. For today’s newsletter I wanted to just quickly run through all the selections made, including the UDFA’s that were signed and consider what’s next.

NFL: NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

#2 Overall Pick - Zach Wilson, BYU, QB

There’s a lot of work to do for Zach at the next level but his talent is evident and his potential is exciting. He’s coming off a season where he threw for 3,694 yards and 32 touchdowns to 3 INT. He played in the outside zone system, he has off-platform ability that is unrivalled and he has the swagger and confidence to take New York by storm.

#14 Overall Pick - Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC, OG

Some people have questioned the Jets for moving up for the best interior lineman in the draft. Those people in my opinion are short-sighted. The Jets made an investment in Wilson and they needed to protect it. You collect picks to allow you to be aggressive when the move is right. Vera-Tucker should slot straight in a LG, last time he played that position for USC in 2019 he was dominant in the run game and he allowed 1 sack, 0 hits and 6 pressures in nearly 600 pass-blocking snaps. The same people questioning the Jets are the same people who questioned the Colts when they drafted Quenton Nelson 6th overall in 2018, go and ask the Colts if they regret drafting a 3x pro bowler and 3x All-Pro.

#34 Overall Pick - Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss

Make no mistake about it, Elijah Moore is a 1st round talent that fell into the Jets laps at the top of the 2nd round. Moore is coming off a 1000+ yard season in just 8 games. His route-running, start/stop ability make him the perfect piece for this offense. He makes tacklers miss in the open field and makes defenders look foolish with his double-moves. Moore is elite and promises to be an exciting prospect to watch.

#107 Overall Pick - Michael Carter, RB, North Carolina

How did this one happen? Michael Carter was considered a 2nd round prospect by a lot of people, and no lower than a middle 3rd. So when the Jets came onto the clock with Carter still available in the 4th, they counted their lucky stars and got the pick in. He had over 1200 yards last year with 9 touchdowns. He makes explosive cuts, and offers + contact balance through tackles. Carter had 814 yards after contact last year, those are elite numbers.

NCAA Football: Western Carolina at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

#146 Overall Pick - Jamien Sherwood, S/LB, Auburn

Sherwood was a little bit of a do it all player at Auburn, lining up all over the defense in 2020. He often did the grunt work, taking on blockers to allow his teammates to make the splash plays. It sounds as though the Jets predominantly see him as an off-ball linebacker and a good options as a box specific safety. He hits hard and he explodes to the ball carrier. This is a really underrated selection. PFF had him as a 3rd round talent, so to pick him up at 146, yeah that’s value.

#154 Overall Pick - Michael Carter II, Duke

The second Michael Carter on this list, the Duke corner actually had an offer from North Carolina, so he could have ended up playing with his now teammate of the same name. He had 41 tackles, 10 pass defenses and 2 interceptions in 2020 and showcased his quickness and elite read/react ability. He was the slot defender in Duke’s defense and a three-year starter, so there is plenty of experience there. He obviously loves making plays on the ball with 28 career pass defenses.

#175 Overall Selection, Jason Pinnock, CB, Pittsburgh

Pinnock led Pittsburgh with 3 interceptions in 10 games in 2020. Known for making plays on the ball, Pinnock had 8 pass defenses over the final three years in college, despite only starting his senior year. Pinnock is a good sized athlete who shows plenty of game speed, which continues a trend with the Jets taking athletes and trusting their coaches to get the best out of them.

#186 Overall Selection, Hamsah Nasrildeen, S, Florida State

This is a selection that I’m absolutely pumped about. I had an early 3rd round grade on Hamsah and due to his size, strength and tackling ability, he is the perfect fit for a team that likes to versatility and interchangeability between their linebackers and safeties. Hamsah suffered a torn ACL in 2019, which kept him out for most of 2020. When he was healthy in 2019 he had over 100 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 5 passes defended and 2 interceptions. He’s a quick, long athlete with outstanding tackling ability. One to watch.

NCAA Football: Alabama State at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

#200 Overall Selection, Brandin Echols, CB, Kentucky

Echols attended Northwest Community College out of high school due to poor grades. After switching from receiver to cornerback he was named a JUCO All-American in 2018. He laded at Kentucky in 2019 and instantly led the team with 9 passes defended. He’s a physical corner who’s still relatively new to the position. He offers superb developmental potential, but I wouldn’t expect him to contribute too much outside of special teams.

#207 Overall Selection, Jonathan Marshall, DT, Arkansas

You didn’t think we’d complete a draft without at least one defensive tackle did you? After redshirting in 2016, Marshall didn’t start for Arkansas until 2020. He finished the season with 35 tackles, 6.5 for a loss and one sack. His explosion off the ball is evident as soon as you turn on tape, but most scouting reports indicate that his conditioning will need considerable work. Marshall joins the strongest unit on the Jets and while I love strength in depth, he’s going to have to really perform to make the team out of camp.

UDFA Signings

NCAA Football: Auburn at Mississippi Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Kenny Yeboah, TE, Ole Miss

At 6’4 and 250lb’s, Kenny may not be as big as some TE’s around, but he flashed plenty of pass-catching ability at Ole Miss. He recorded 524 yards on just 27 receptions for 19.4 yards per catch. He came down with 75% of his catches and while he has struggled with drops, I’d bet on him making the team.

Hamilcar Rashed Jr, Edge, Oregon State

Hamilcar may have suffered from a bit of recency bias. The truncated 2020 season wasn’t kind to Rashed Jr after he packed on a bit of weight to try and get stronger. In 2019 when he was 20 lb’s lighter he had 15 sacks, 17 hurries and 3 batted passes. He could thrive with the Jets.

Tristen Hoge, OG, BYU

Hoge was the RG for Zach Wilson at BYU after transferring from Notre Dame. He doesn’t get off the ball as quickly as you’d like, but technically he’s very sound and he was extremely reliable running that outside-zone blocking scheme at BYU. He allowed 0 sacks and just the 1 hit on 228 pass-blocking snaps in 2020. He’ll come in and compete for that RG spot along with Clark and others.

Milo Eifler, LB, Illinois

Eifler was a highly recruited prospect coming out of high school and originally committed to Washington. However, he moved to Illinois and his quick-twitch athleticism showed up instantly. He’s a physical tackler who may make a name for himself on specials.

Teton Saltes, OT, New Mexico

Saltest started every single game between 2018 and 2020 for New Mexico and won the Wuerffel Trophy in 2021, which recognizes the most dedicated student-athlete in the nation to community service. At 6’6 and over 300lb’s he ran the forty in 4.94 seconds. He’s likely to kick inside to guard at the next level and his movement skills are what likely attracted the attention of the Jets.

Brendon White, S, Rutgers

After struggling to make an impression at Ohio State, White transferred to Rutgers where injuries derailed his season. He’s known as being a physical tackler who loves coming downhill. He’s projected as a good run defender who may struggle in coverage. Sounds as though he’s being looked at as a special teams player first and foremost.

Michael Dwumfour, DT, Rutgers

Another transfer, Dwumfour spent three seasons at Michigan before moving to Rutgers. At only 6’1 and under 300lb’s he may struggle against the power inside at the NFL level, but he does have a good first step and is known for playing with good pad level. It’s a good depth signing for the Jets on the defensive line.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Stanford Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Dunn, CB, Oregon State

Dunn received the highest UDFA contract for any cornerback, so the Jets obviously rate the Oregon State man. He started 26 games in college making 115 tackles and 18 pass-break-ups. He ran a 4.36 forty which is absolutely lightning and showed good explosion through the other drills.

Grant Hermanns, OT, Purdue

Hermanns is a 4 year starter and former team captain at Purdue. At 6’7 and 300lb’s Grant is a big big man, and was known as a superb leader while in college, the type of chracter that Joe Douglas will absolutely love and someone that will come in and compete every day. You need these guys in camp.

Chris Naggar, K, SMU

You know how much I love a kicker addition. It’s been a problem position for the Jets now for a while and Naggar has the opportunity to come and in and make the position his own. He originally started at Texas but it was only when he got to SMU that we started to see his true talent. He’s known for having a big leg and completed 81% of his field goals. He’ll need a little more consistency, but he’ll be given a good opportunity to compete.

Parker Ferguson, OL, Air Force

Ferguson has plenty of experience for Air Force and although he’s under 300lb’s his movement skills could make him a good option for the Jets outside-zone scheme. He’s a former defensive end who switched to offensive tackle and started at LT for three years.

Jordyn Peters, S, Auburn

Peters had four blocked punts while at Auburn, so instantly you think this is likely a selection for special teams. He is known as a physical run defender who struggled at times in coverage, especially in taking the right angles. Again this hints that the Jets are eyeing him as a member of the coverage units.

What’s Next for the Jets

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets were never going to be able to fill every single hole on this roster in one off-season. The state of the roster after years of Idzik and Maccagnan drafts left the talent draw pretty empty. Saying that, the Jets have made a superb start and I’m excited to see how this team performs in 2021.

The goal for this year is to be competitive, the goal for next year will be to compete for top honours.

The offense got a considerable facelift and the defense got an injection of young, athletic players. There’s still a need for some experience on the back end and I can see someone like Steven Nelson being signed to add some experience in the CB room.

Alex Lewis should be released with the drafting of AVT and that money can be used on someone like Nelson and a veteran back-up to sit behind and mentor Zach Wilson. Whether that’s Brian Hoyer or someone else is up for debate, Nick Mullens would also make a lot of sense for the Jets considering his time in San Francisco.

The off-season is 75% done, but there are still a few moves to make out there.

Overall I think this draft class has the potential to be the best Jets draft in recent memory. Saying that it’s impossible to grade drafts a day after, we’ll need to wait 3-4 years down the line to see how good this class will be. The work has just started.