New York Jets select Nathan Shepherd: The initial reaction

Defensive Coordinator Kacy Rodgers (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Defensive Coordinator Kacy Rodgers (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) /

Reaction to the New York Jets selection of Nathan Shepherd in the third round of the NFL draft.

On Thursday night the New York Jets set their offense in a new direction with the selection of Sam Darnold. In the third round on Friday night, they selected a new weapon for Kacy Rodgers and the Jets defense. For anyone who hasn’t been watching the Jets selected Nathan Shepherd, defensive tackle out of little Fort Hays St.

This one was a bit of a surprise. The thought was that the Jets might look for an edge rusher, but an interior lineman was not on many fans’ radars. But then again, the Jets do have to rebuild the line, with Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson no longer a part of it. Steve McLendon is performing well in the middle of that line, but he isn’t getting any younger. A guy who can command the double team would be a good asset.

That is exactly what Shepherd is. At 6-4, 315 pounds, he is an immense individual. He commanded the double team a lot in college, although the competition level wasn’t as high for him as it was for other players. In his final college career, he was second team All-American. He only posted 38 tackles but 12.5 went for losses, along with four sacks. The year before he put up 9.5 TFL’s, three sacks and two forced fumbles.

This is a raw player, but he reminds me a bit of Damon Harrison but he may be faster. There is definite talent here. She how he takes on two guys? That will allow players like Leonard Williams to face defensive opponents one on one. Williams and others will see opportunities to makes tackles, thanks to plays by Shepherd that won’t show up on any stat sheet.

Drafting Shepherd is the type of move designed to bring this defensive line back to prominence.

Next: Reacting to the Darnold pick

Time to give Mike Maccagnan some credit. His defensive choices haven’t been bad for the most part. Nobody expected Leonard Williams and he has been good. This pick has the potential to be outstanding. Maybe it won’t be right away but this raw player could develop into something very good.