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Did the NY Jets secure the best Day 3 haul of the 2021 NFL draft?

Michael Carter II, CB, Duke, NY Jets
Michael Carter II, New York Jets, Getty Images

The New York Jets crushed the third day of the 2021 NFL draft

I recently broke down the overall rookie-year production of the New York Jets‘ 2021 draft class and where the group ranked out of all 32 draft classes in various categories. It turns out that the 10-player bunch enjoyed one of the best rookie seasons of any class in the NFL.

Throughout the days since that breakdown was published, I spent some more time studying the class’s first-year output, and one particular area of strength stood out to me: the Jets’ Day 3 draft picks (rounds four through seven). They performed very well relative to the rest of the league.

General manager Joe Douglas selected seven players on the third day of the 2021 draft:

  • Round 4, Pick 107: RB Michael Carter, North Carolina
  • Round 5, Pick 146: LB Jamien Sherwood, Auburn
  • Round 5, Pick 154: CB Michael Carter II, Duke
  • Round 5, Pick 175: CB Jason Pinnock, Pittsburgh
  • Round 6, Pick 186: LB Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida St.
  • Round 6, Pick 200: CB Brandin Echols, Kentucky
  • Round 6, Pick 207: DT Jonathan Marshall, Arkansas

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At first glance, that doesn’t seem like a world-beating group of players, but it was actually one of the most productive Day 3 hauls in football.

The Jets’ Day 3 draft picks combined for 16 Total approximate value (AV)*, which was more than the Day 3 picks of any other team in the NFL. They also combined to play 76 games, which ranked as the third-most.

*Approximate Value (AV) is a statistic from Pro Football Reference that attempts to estimate a player’s cumulative impact with a one-number score. Visit here for a more detailed explanation of the methodology.

In terms of Total AV per game, the Jets’ Day 3 picks combined for a strong average of 0.211, ranking sixth-best. That tells us they were still productive on a per-game basis even when you account for their relatively high number of opportunities to take the field.

Here is a look at the rookie-year production of each team’s Day 3 picks in the 2021 NFL draft:


Three players were responsible for pushing the Jets to the top of this leaderboard: Michael Carter, Michael Carter II, and Brandin Echols. All three players were among the best picks of their respective rounds.

Carter – who was the second pick of the draft’s third day – was one of the best picks of the fourth round. His total of 6 AV ranked fourth-best among fourth-round picks, trailing Steelers offensive lineman Dan Moore (7), Packers guard Royce Newman (8), and Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (8).

Carter II was one of the very few fifth-round picks who contributed as a rookie. He only totaled 3 AV, but that was enough to tie for fourth-best among fifth-round picks, trailing Bengals kicker Evan McPherson (4), Falcons defensive lineman Adetokunbo Ogundeji (4), and Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell (5).

Echols posted 4 AV, yet again ranking fourth-best among picks in his round. The only sixth-round picks to beat him out were Texans defensive lineman Roy Lopez (6), 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell (7), and Chiefs offensive lineman Trey Smith (10).

Carter trailed only Elijah Mitchell in AV among the 15 running backs drafted on Day 3. Echols and Carter II ranked second and third, respectively, in AV among the 35 defensive backs drafted on Day 3. The only player ahead of them was Texans cornerback Marco Wilson (5 AV). Carter II was tied with Raiders cornerback Nate Hobbs.

It goes without saying that none of this is set in stone. We’re only talking about year-one output here. There are many, many more years of football left to be played before these picks can be thoroughly judged. Some rookie-year standouts never improve upon their debut campaign. Some players who disappoint as rookies turn into stars in the future.

New York’s Day 3 picks have to keep their success going on a yearly basis to maintain their title as the best post-round-three haul of the 2021 draft. With that being said, their rookie season was an excellent start on the road to earning that coveted label.

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2 years ago

I love this article! It really shows that if you commit to training Day 3 players, you can take a slow and steady approach to development and actually build through the draft. My only worry is that we’re being too optimistic. Maybe the only reason these guys were so good is because we had nobody else worth training, whereas other teams have other non-draft backups who take all the reps in training camp. Thoughts? Am I being too cautious?

2 years ago
Reply to  Michael Nania

Thanks for the response! I’m a big fan of your work. Keep it up!

2 years ago
Reply to  Michael Nania

Most guys should improve with playing time.

verge tibbs
2 years ago

I know he was a long shot but would be amazing if Marshall does develop at all. I dont know how many snaps he got but pfr says he played in 4 games and registered a qb hit and a tackle. Im just happy to see him get any snaps at all to build off of. High ceiling guy that you dont really expect to make it but was worth the shot i think. Especially so late. I know he has nothing to do with this class showing up in year one but going forward..

2 years ago
Reply to  verge tibbs

Remember, Foley didn’t take a snap in his first year, another sixth round pick.

verge tibbs
2 years ago
Reply to  JetOrange

I honestly didnt even remember that. Excellent

2 years ago

If Nasilrdeen Sherwood and Marshall contribute and show something this year then yes. Best day 3 ever.