When analysts speak about the NFL Draft they usually are breaking down the top picks in the first round.
Although an abnormally large contingent of the experts were discussing who the New York Jets crowned Mr. Irrelevant with their last pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Typically the final selection of the NFL Draft receives the label of ‘Mr. Irrelvant.’ It’s a tradition that dates back 45 years to the 1976 NFL Draft.
While technically the Jets have never had an official Mr. Irrelvant, their version of it created a lot of buzz following this year’s NFL Draft.
With the Jets’ final pick they selected Arkansas defensive tackle, Jonathan Marshall, with the No. 207 overall pick in the sixth round.
NFL Draft gurus LOVE Jonathan Marshall
NFL Draft analyst Jon Ledyard raved about the value of a player like Marshall in the sixth round:
“I think Jonathan Marshall is great to get him in round six is just wow. He’s got traits and if he doesn’t work out whatever but getting him is part of a sound process in my opinion.”
Ledyard wasn’t the only draft analyst that got excited by the pick. Bleacher Report NFL Draft analyst Connor Rogers got giddy when talking about him on the Badlands podcast:
“Jonathan Marshall is a freak. I know nobody wants to hear anything about the interior defensive line anymore but this dude is a freak. He’s in a great spot for him here with the Jets. Marshall doesn’t have to play right away and he’s with a coach that’ll can coach up front-four players. There’s just not a lot of humans on planet Earth that are 6-foot-3, 310 pounds, can run a 4.88, and can bench press 36 reps (225 pounds).
The 1.67 10-yard split is Quinnen Williams type stuff. So I’m not saying he’s going to be a star but when I’m making my last pick of the draft give me the biggest and best athlete. There’s a dart throw that he can be Sheldon Rankins in two years. I get the dart throw there. I know he’s a defensive tackle but I like this pick more than the corners they took earlier.”
The Jets are absolutely loaded on the defensive line, so Marshall is facing an uphill battle to make the roster. The good news is historically Robert Saleh has utilized a very deep rotation in the trenches and likes to mix guys in and out of the lineup to keep them fresh.
Day three is a point in the NFL Draft where the Jets are taking a flier betting on traits that they think can translate to the next level.
Marshall played four years at Arkansas, but only started in one of those seasons. He’s a superb athlete previously starring in both football and basketball growing up.
During his time in college, he predominantly played in a 3-4 as a nose tackle. He seemed super out of place but showed enough flashes for the Jets to take a chance. When you watch the tape his initial first step and get off really stand out.
Marshall will be an ideal fit in the Jets’ new 4-3 scheme as a penetrator that can pin his ears back and get after the quarterback. Despite his modest numbers (1.5 career sacks), there’s a lot more potential underneath the surface that just has to be unlocked.
Also, another thing that’ll benefit Marshall is playing with several other talented players like Quinnen Williams and Carl Lawson. With all the focus on those guys, Marshall should get some one-on-one opportunities that he can take advantage of.
On top of everything he’ll bring to the football field, the other thing that attracted the Jets is his character. It was a theme for Gang Green during the draft and during undrafted free agency to add a ton of former captains to round out this locker room.