NY Jets see Jamien Sherwood as 'an ideal fit' at weakside linebacker

NY Jets, Jamien Sherwood
NY Jets, Jamien Sherwood / James Gilbert/Getty Images

The NY Jets expect early contributions from a number of players in their 2021 NFL Draft class. But one rookie who could be flying a but under the radar is fifth-round pick Jamien Sherwood.

Sherwood was selected by the Jets with the 146th pick in the draft, ending a streak of four straight offensive players that the team took. While the attention has been on those first four picks, Sherwood has a chance to contribute early as well.

ESPN's Rich Cimini discussed Sherwood and his potential role on Sunday saying that the Jets see him as an "ideal fit" for the weakside linebacker position.

Cimini doubled down on that and insisted that "there's some thought he could emerge as the starter." After all, the position is virtually wide open at the moment.

The NY Jets seem to be high on Jamien Sherwood

A standout safety at Auburn, Sherwood only spent one season as a starter in college, but it was enough for the Jets who see him as a potential long-term starter on defense. Although he won't be playing safety in the NFL.

The Jets added three "safeties" during draft weekend in Sherwood, sixth-round pick Hamsah Nasirildeen, and undrafted rookie Brendon White. All three players played safety in college, but they will each be moved to linebacker with the Jets.

New head coach Robert Saleh's defense emphasizes speed and athleticism at the linebacker position and one way to ensure you have fast linebackers is to convert former defensive backs.

Sherwood will be in competition with the likes of Nasirildeen, White, and the incumbent Blake Cashman for the starting weakside position. Cashman might be the favorite on paper, but don't be surprised if a rookie snags the role.

Sherwood was a tackling machine at Auburn making a name for himself with his hard-hitting, downhill approach. While he's not the greatest in coverage, his deficiencies will be masked more at linebacker and he has the natural length and awareness to make plays in zone.

That's likely the role the Jets envision for him in 2021 and beyond.

Sherwood may never be a C.J. Mosley-type linebacker. He isn't going to be a three-down player with the range to cover sideline-to-sideline.

Instead, he's an oversized defensive back with downhill thumping ability and enough length and anticipation to not be a liability in zone.

If he could put together a strong summer, Sherwood has every chance to emerge as the starting WILL alongside Mosley and free-agent signing Jarrad Davis.

He'll have some competition, mainly in the form of Cashman and Nasirildeen, but there are people within the organization who believe Sherwood will emerge as the starter.

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Expect him to be given every opportunity to win the job in training camp.