New York Jets turn their attention back to the defensive side of the ball
With the 184th overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft, the New York Jets selected Zaire Barnes, a linebacker from Western Michigan.
The Jets acquired the 184th overall pick in a trade with the New England Patriots earlier in the day. In exchange for the 114th pick (used on Maryland K Chad Ryland), New England sent the 120th and 184th picks to New York. The Jets selected Pittsburgh OT Chad Warren with the 120th selection.
In 2022, his fifth season with Western Michigan, Barnes played in 12 games and had 93 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 8 passes defended, 3 fumble recoveries, one sack, one interception, and one forced fumble. He will turn 24 years old this September.
Barnes stands at 6’0⅜” and 233 pounds. He owns a Relative Athletic Score of 9.12, highlighted by his 4.56-second time in the forty-yard dash and his 123-inch broad jump. The Jets have shown an affinity for speedy linebackers under Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich, and Barnes continues that trend.
C.J. Mosley and Quincy Williams will reprise their roles as the Jets’ two primary starting linebackers in 2023, but the Jets have a vacancy in their third linebacker spot with Kwon Alexander remaining an unsigned free agent. The Jets’ third linebacker typically plays between 40 and 50 percent of the defensive snaps in a given game.
As things stand, Barnes projects to compete for the LB3 role against two of the Jets’ 2021 day-three picks, Hamsah Nasirildeen and Jamien Sherwood. New York could also end up re-signing Alexander, which would leave Barnes, Nasirildeen, and Sherwood to compete for the top backup spot on the depth chart and special teams snaps.
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