The New York Jets surprised many in the 2018 NFL Draft with their third-round selection of defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd out of Fort Hays. Here’s grading the decision.
If you were a bit confused when the New York Jets made their Round 3 selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, many fans were as well. When defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd’s name was called, not many people heard of him or even the college he came from, Fort Hays.
Make no mistake about it, general manager Mike Maccagnan has a knack for finding talent and hopefully, found a hidden gem in this year’s draft. It’s no secret that the Jets defensive line, besides Leonard Williams, needed more talent and especially better depth.
At least with Shepherd, he brings quality depth to the table and the potential to be a force to reckon with through proper coaching and development. If Shepherd can translate his decent statistics in college to the pros, the Jets are likely going to have a good defensive tackle that can be used in key defensive situations.
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In three years at Fort Hays, Shepherd totaled 168 tackles, 27 for a loss, and 10 sacks. Looking at his highlights, Shepherd has a good motor, speed, and is all about doing whatever it takes to have an impact on the gridiron.
Based on all this, however, Shepherd is a relatively unknown defensive tackle with not much of a large sample size to determine if he’s starting quality or just a backup.
Maccagnan, outside of first-round picks, hasn’t had the best track record when it comes to the mid and later rounds of the NFL Draft. Hopefully, that changes this year but until proven otherwise, this was a pretty random pick.
Of course, all that can change based on what Shepherd does when training camp rolls around but what grade do the Jets get for drafting him?
At the end of the day, Shepherd is all about possibilities other than reality, hence why he earned a “C” grade at this point in time. He has potential to be a good defensive tackle but patience is needed to see how things pan out. Hopefully, Maccagnan nailed it with somewhat of an unknown player that is ready to make a name for himself by being a quality pass rusher.