The NY Jets have selected their 10th and final player (barring a trade-up) of the 2021 NFL Draft in the form of Arkansas defensive tackle Jonathan Marshall.
After selecting four offensive players with their first few selections in the draft, the Jets switched over to the defensive side of the ball adding six consecutive defensive players.
And all six of those players have something in common. They’re all excellent athletes. And Marshall might be the most athletic of them all.
A one-year starter at Arkansas, Marshall will join a deep Jets defensive line rotation featuring the likes of Quinnen Williams, Folorunso Fatukasi, and Sheldon Rankins, among others.
The NY Jets added another elite athlete in Jonathan Marshall
Marshall was perhaps the best athlete at the defensive tackle position in the entire 2021 NFL Draft class. The 23-year-old posted a blazing 4.81 40-yard dash at his pro day despite measuring in at 6-foot-3, 310 pounds.
His relative athletic score of 9.99 ranked in the 99th percentile of every defensive tackle drafted in the NFL since the year 1987. He’s a super athlete, although his lack of consistency certainly pushed him down draft boards.
Marshall spent the first three years of his career as a reserve defensive lineman before being given the starting job in his senior season. Arkansas lined him up primarily at nose tackle, but he projects best as a developmental three-technique defensive tackle.
Marshall was out of place at nose tackle and was frequently overpowered by interior offensive linemen and double teams. He needs to work on his leverage technique and is clearly still a work in progress.
But you’d be hard-pressed to find a better athlete at the position than Marshall.
The Jets boast an already-deep interior defensive line and Marshall will work to earn a roster spot in his rookie season. At worst, he could be a draft-and-stash developmental project on the practice squad while he continues to grow as a player.
General manager Joe Douglas has evidently valued athleticism with his first two drafts and Marshall might be the single-greatest athletic freak of them all.
A worthwhile Day 3 selection and another swing for the fences on defense for the Jets.