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Jets Sign S Jaylen Key, Seventh-Round 'Mr. Irrelevant'

Alabama Product Signs as Last Pick in 2024 NFL Draft

Key 16x9

The Jets have signed S Jaylen Key to his rookie contract.

Key (6-0, 208), drafted as the last pick in the 2024 NFL Draft (No. 257), spent five seasons at Alabama-Birmingham before transferring to Alabama in 2023.

The Quincy, FL, native began his collegiate career at UAB in 2017 then transferred to Alabama after five seasons. He went to UAB as a cornerback, but during his redshirt season in 2018, converted to a safety. His breakout season came in 2022 with 60 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 3 interceptions.

"The versatility," Key said about what sets his game a part. "Plus, the physicality that I play with. Driving on the balls, physicality hitting, being able to play multiple positions, that's pretty much what I'm bringing to the table.

In his single season at Alabama, Key started all 12 games for the Crimson Tide. He recorded 60 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 2 passes defensed. In 2023, Key helped Alabama to an SEC championship and a spot in the College Football Playoffs.

"Another guy who's been given nothing and had to earn everything," GM Joe Douglas said. "The right kind of warrior makeup mentality and perseverance that is going to help him here and in life."

HC Robert Saleh said: "He's a safety. His football IQ and intelligence, his instinct, his length, his play speed is actually much faster than his time speed, so we're excited to get him in that spot and give him a chance to compete."

Key joins a safety room that includes Chuck Clark, Ashtyn Davis, Tony Adams and Jarrick Bernard-Converse. Even though he was the last pick in the draft, Key is embracing the role of Mr. Irrelevant and is ready to prove himself.

"It means everything, that's part of the title," Key said of the name Mr. Irrelevant. "You just have to take it and lean into it. So, for me, I'm definitely going to lean into it, every bit of it. I'm the Mr. Irrelevant this year, and we're going to make something shake for sure."