The Jets, after a flurry of late-draft trading with Minnesota, wound up with three Round 6 picks, Nos. 179, 180 and 204.
With the back-to-back picks they selected DB Parry Nickerson from Tulane and DL Folorunso "Foley" Fatukasi from Connecticut. Then at 204 the Green & White grabbed RB Trenton Cannon from Virginia State.
In the midst of that, the Jets also traded their seventh-round pick, No. 235, which they acquired from Seattle in the Sheldon Richardson/Jermaine Kearse trade last year, to Indianapolis for fourth-year DE Henry Anderson. Thus they got their first and next-to-last acquisitions in this year's draft with help from the Colts — in the tradeup that enabled them to take QB Sam Darnold No. 1 on Thursday night and the trade to get Anderson. That trade is detailed in a story by Ethan Greenberg.
Nickerson (5'10", 182), taken at 179, was a standout at West Jefferson HS in Algiers, LA, earning all-state first-team honors in football and finishing on the bronze-medal team in the state 4x100 relays in track.
In Tulane's 2013 opener, he suffered a season-ending knee injury as a true freshman. Then he fought back to post strong numbers his last four years with the Green Wave. He had career highs of six interceptions in both 2014 and last year, and for his college career he played in 48 games with 46 starts, had 188 tackles, 16 INTs, 47 pass defenses and 8.0 tackles for loss.
"It's the greatest day ever. It's a great opportunity," Nickerson told Jets reporters this afternoon. "It's just an honor to be part of the organization moving forward."
Fatukasi (6'4", 318) is a New York area product from Beach Channel HS in Queens, NY, not far from JFK Airport. At UConn he redshirted in '13, then assembled a solid college career with 48 games (35 starts), 13.5 sacks (4.0 as a senior last year), 21.5 TFL, and four forced fumbles (all as a redshirt sophomore).
The Husky played in the East-West Shrine Game and then put up a strong 33 reps in the 225-pound benchpress at the NFL Combine.
"It feels great to be drafted by the New York Jets," Fatukasi said. "I have my teammates following me. I also have my hometown and New York City behind me. It's a real blessing and I thank God for it so much."
Cannon (5'10", 185) was a star back at Division II Virginia State after he transferred from Division II Shepherd. He rushed for 1,000-plus yards in each of his three Trojans seasons, capped by a monster senior campaign in which he ran for 1,638 yards (7.7 yards/rush) to become the school's all-time leading rusher and the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Year.
For his college career he played in 38 games (25 starts), rushed for 4,246 yards (7.1 yards/carry) and 46 touchdowns, caught 51 passes for 638 more yards and seven more TDs, and also averaged 32.6 yards/kickoff return with three TD returns the last two seasons.
Cannon turned a 4.40 time in the 40 at his pro day.
And now he's a Jet who will be looked at as a returner on the next level. "It feels unreal, to be honest," he said. "I knew I could get a chance with the Jets. I took a visit during the visiting period and I loved it, I just loved it."
Nickerson is the fifth Tulane player ever drafted by the Jets and the first since DB Mike Riley was chosen in the sixth round (No. 160) of the 1991 draft.
Fatukasi is only the third Connecticut player ever drafted by the Jets and the first in 55 years. In the 1963 AFL Draft they took T John Contoulis 27th overall and in the '61 AFL Draft they went with RB Bill Minnerly in Round 30 (237th overall).
And Cannon is only the second player taken from Virginia State, with the first, DB Jim Williams, selected in Round 7 of the 1970 draft.
The Jets also got No. 204 in their late wheeling and dealing with the Vikings. At first they got Nos. 167 and 225 from Minny for their No. 157. Then they sent both picks back to the Vikes for 180 and 204. The Jets selected back-to-back for the first time since 2014, when they took WR Quincy Enunwa at No. 209 and LB IK Enemkpali at 210.