After using their first four picks on offensive players, the NY Jets finally addressed their defense by selecting Auburn's Jamien Sherwood with the 146th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
A standout safety at Auburn, the Jets drafted Sherwood with the plan to move him to linebacker in the NFL. A plan that they will also enact on a couple of other rookies they added earlier this month.
Sherwood was seen as a borderline Day 3 candidate heading into the draft with most projecting him as a sixth or seventh-round pick. The Jets took him a bit earlier than expected, adding the 21-year-old with the second pick in the fifth round.
Nonetheless, Sherwood is expected to compete for playing time on both defense and special teams with the chance to develop into a starter at linebacker.
Following our conversations with both Alicia de Artola and Kelvin Hunt where we discussed fellow Jets rookies Alijah Vera-Tucker and Hamsah Nasirildeen, we reached out to Andrew Hughes of Fly War Eagle, our sister site, to learn more about Sherwood's game.
Andrew is an expert on all things Auburn and watched Sherwood play in college over the last few years.
Below is a look at our conversation.
What are the NY Jets getting in Jamien Sherwood?
Justin: "What's your favorite thing about Sherwood's game?"
Andrew: "Sherwood is a classic bruiser who can lay a hit with the best of them. Many analysts referred to him as one of the hardest-hitting tacklers in the draft, and Auburn has long been a factory for some of the scariest defenders in football. His NFL draft candidacy was because of his ability to meet RBs and WRs in the open field and put them down with emphasis. Nothing stands out more than his tackling ability — undeniably any Auburn fan's favorite trait about Sherwood."
Justin: "What are some areas of improvement that Sherwood needs to work on?"
Andrew: "Even as a linebacker at the next level instead of a safety, Sherwood is going to struggle to defend the passing game. Given the elite athleticism of any given NFL tight end, Sherwood needs to get better at dropping back into coverage and keeping up with the speedier route-runners in the pros."
Justin: "Do you have any favorite memories of Sherwood at Auburn?"
Andrew: "Despite coming in a loss, Sherwood's 14 tackles against the "Deep South's Oldest Rivalry," sworn nemesis Georgia, this past season was easily the best memory of Sherwood's three-year career. He was all over the field and was a menace in the red zone, batting passes away and laying big hits for losses to unfortunate receivers."
Justin: "The Jets plan to move Sherwood to linebacker in the NFL. How do you see him fitting into his new role?"
Andrew: "Sherwood is a far smoother fit as a linebacker, especially in the NFL. He is unlikely to keep up with any of the top deep threats of the league, but as a linebacker, he can focus on taking out opposing running backs before they can break out into the open field. The Jets are doing the best thing to maximize his talents."
Justin: "Are there any other things that Jets fans should know about Sherwood?"
Andrew: "Despite not having the speed of an NFL defensive back, he has the length to disrupt the passing game no matter where he is on the field because of his reach. Sherwood possesses 34-inch arms, the longest for a defensive back in the past 15 draft classes."
Special thanks again to Andrew for taking the time to speak with us. Don't be surprised to see Sherwood compete for significant playing time at linebacker in his rookie season.