Jets Make Alabama DB Jaylen Key ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ to Close Out 2024 NFL Draft (2024)

Jets Make Alabama DB Jaylen Key ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ to Close Out 2024 NFL Draft (1)

The Jets put the finishing touches on the 2024 NFL Draft Saturday night, selecting Alabama defensive back Jaylen Key with the final pick of the 7th Round (No. 257) and granting him the title "Mr. Irrelevant."

"I actually was off in the garage while my family was in the living room watching the draft," Key said. "Then once I got the call and saw that was from New York, and I knew they had the last pick, I ran back in the house."

With the recent success of 49ers QB Brock Purdy – the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft – Key is excited about wearing the title and, more importantly, making the most of his opportunity with the Green & White.

"You just got to take the title and lean into it," Key said. "So, for me, I am definitely going to lean into every bit of it. I am Mr. Irrelevant this year and we are going to make it mean something for sure."

Key (6-0, 208), 24, and a native of Quincy, Florida, spent five seasons at UAB before transferring to Alabama in 2023. He came into UAB as a cornerback but during his redshirt season in 2018 converted to safety. He put together a breakout season in 2022 for Blazers with 60 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 3 interceptions and parlayed that into a starting role with the Crimson Tide.

"My overall thinking when going to the portal was, if I am going to do it, I am going to do it to go against the best talent in the country so I can get better for the next level," Key said. "So, when I get to the point I am now, it is a seamless transition."

As a sixth-year senior, Key started all 12 games for Nick Saban's squad, recording 60 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 2 pass defenses and helped guide Alabama to a SEC Championship and a berth in the College Football Playoff. He joins an established defensive back room highlighted by two-time All-Pro CB Sauce Gardner, CB D.J. Reed, nickel Michael Carter II and safeties Chuck Clark and Tony Adams.

"I would describe my game as being a versatile player," Key said. "For example, when I was at UAB, I basically played every position in the backfield. Then when I got to Alabama, going into that system under Nick Saban, I got to learn from one of the best defensive minds in the game."

The Jets' first five picks in the draft were spent on offensive players – LT Olu Fashanu (Rd. 1, No. 11 overall), WR Malachi Corley (Rd. 1, No. 65), RB Braelon Allen (Rd. 4, No. 134), QB Jordan Travis (Rd. 5, No. 171) and RB Isaiah Davis (Rd. 5, No. 173).

However, over their final two selections, general manager Joe Douglas beefed up an already dominant secondary with Key and cornerback Qwan'tez Stiggers (Rd. 5, No. 176) out of the Canadian Football League.

Jets Make Alabama DB Jaylen Key ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ to Close Out 2024 NFL Draft (2024)


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