ARLINGTON, Texas -- Defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd is a New York Jet.

The six-foot-five, 315-pound native of Ajax, Ont., was taken in the third round, No. 72 overall in the NFL draft Friday night.

It marks the eighth straight year at least one Canadian has been selected.

Shepherd, who played collegiately at Division II Fort Hays State University, was the highest-projected Canadian heading into the draft.

Gil Brandt, the longtime Dallas Cowboys player-personnel director and current senior analyst at, ranked Shepherd 50th among his top-150 draft prospects.

NFL draft guru Mike Mayock had Shepherd ranked No. 43 in his top-100 draft-eligible players.

Shepherd registered 38 tackles (12.5 for loss) and four sacks to earn Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association defensive player of the year and NCAA Division II All-American honours last season.

Shepherd also helped the Tigers (11-0) win their first MIAA title.

The draft caps a whirlwind off-season for Shepherd, who suffered a fractured hand at the Senior Bowl but still attended the NFL combine.

Shepherd also visited 10 teams and conducted nine private workouts, doing both for the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals.

Dallas and Arizona were also among 16 NFL teams that watched Shepherd perform at Fort Hays State's pro day in March.