The New York Jets, after addressing their offense with their first four picks of the 2021 NFL Draft, have turned to the defensive side of the ball with their first pick of Round 5, No. 146 overall, by selecting linebacker Jamien Sherwood out of Auburn.
"We had a couple of interactions," Sherwood told reporters about the predraft interest the Jets had in him. "They showed me a lot of interest. I felt the interest, and at the end of the day I was hoping that they picked me up, and they did."
Sherwood (6-2, 216) became a full-time starter for the Tigers as a junior safety this past season, totaling 75 tackles (3.0 for loss, 1.0 for sack) and breaking up three passes in 11 games. He started the first 10 games, then came off the bench from an ankle injury to join in Auburn's bowl game action.
As the first of two college safeties taken by the Jets and projected to linebacker, Sherwood said of the new position, "I'm more than comfortable. At the end of the day I'm a football player. My versatility got me here, so they could put me at defensive end or corner. ... I'm just going to go out there and make plays."
Draft analyst Lance Zierlein on nfl.com said Sherwood "is a big, sure tackler with the striking power to leave a mark. He can intimidate receivers working into the middle of the field and has the size to cover tight ends." He was one of several analysts to note Sherwood's physical dimension.
"I take pride in that," he said. "Being a safety, you're the last line of defense, so that's just stopping touchdowns. You do everything you can for your team. Whenever I get my chance to make a tackle, I make it."
Sherwood is the 12th Auburn player drafted by the Jets in franchise history. The most recent and most prominent Auburn product to play for the Green & White was TE Fred Baxter, their fifth-rounder (No. 115) in 1993 who played in 102 games with 33 starts. DE Ron Stallworth (Round 4, No. 98, 1989) and LB Jim Price (Round 6, No. 43, 1963 AFL Draft) were other drafted Tigers who played for the Jets.