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.
- 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
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.