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Jets 2018 NFL Draft grades: Darnold, Shepherd, more

Kristian Dyer and Joe Pantorno break down the Jets' 2018 NFL Draft.
Nathan Shepherd. (Photo: Getty Images)

There will be plenty of New York Jets fans that will admit that their first-round selection was the only one that mattered in the 2018 NFL Draft, making the entire selection process an overall successful one. 

But there were five other picks to be made after the Jets traded up to No. 3 from No. 6 and with plenty of holes to fill, they attempted to address them in the later rounds. 

Here is how Metro New York columnist and insider Kristian Dyer, along with sports editor Joe Pantorno, thought the Jets did:

 

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Round 1, Pick 3: Sam Darnold, QB, USC

Kristian Dyer: The only pick that made sense; Darnold is finally the franchise quarterback this team so desperately needed. Will benefit from sitting a bit before being thrown onto the field. GRADE: A

Joe Pantorno: Somehow, the best quarterback available in the draft fell past two teams that need promising prospects under center and right into the Jets' laps. Now Gang Green can mold Darnold into something they haven't had in decades: A true star quarterback. GRADE: A+

 

Round 3, Pick 72: Nathan Shepherd, DT, Fort Hays St.

Kristian Dyer: Big and athletic, a nice addition at nose tackle who will need at least a year before he becomes an impact player. Big upside. GRADE: B+

 

Joe Pantorno: While plenty of fans were saying, "who?" when Shepherd's name was called, this is a raw talent that can move quickly east and west in order to find holes in the offensive line. GRADE: B 

 

Round 4, Pick 107: Chris Herndon, TE, Miami

Kristian Dyer: The tight end has a good frame but is coming off a serious knee injury; has good hands and surprising speed. GRADE: B

 

Joe Pantorno: Like Shepherd, Herndon is a work in progress, but the athletic, pass-catching tight end could develop alongside Darnold as a go-to target one day. GRADE: B 

 

Round 6, Pick 179: Perry Nickerson, CB, Tulane

Kristian Dyer: Not the biggest cornerback, Nickerson overcomes his lack of size with tenacity. Adds depth to the secondary: GRADE: C

 

Joe Pantorno: Given his size, Nickerson's best chance of contributing in the NFL is in the slot. But if he can't tackle, his chances of staying in the league are slim to none. GRADE: C-

 

Round 6, Pick 180: Foley Fatukasi, DT, UConn

Kristian Dyer: A good, thick defensive tackle with limited upside but certainly can carve his way onto the two-deep. GRADE: C

Joe Pantorno: Fatukasi showed flashes of becoming a disruptive presence in the trenches. As long as the Jets find the right spot for him, he could do well. GRADE: B-

 

Round 6, Pick 204: Trenton Cannon, RB, Virginia St.

Kristian Dyer: The Virginia State running back is speedy and shifty but a bit light, not built for being an every-down back. GRADE: C+ 

Joe Pantorno: Trying to catch Cannon in the open field is like trying to catch smoke. But he has to get there in order to show off that speed. That means he has to build up his strength big time. GRADE: C