There was plenty of excitement on the first day of the 2022 NFL Draft. The New York Jets selected cornerback Ahmad Gardner, receiver Garrett Wilson and defensive end Jermaine Johnson. Running back Breece Hall also was part of one of the top-rated classes in the draft. Question now is how long will it take for those playmakers to lead Gang Green out of the AFC East basement?
Playing Buffalo, New England and Miami twice each season makes it hard for the Jets to defy the NFL predictions. Games against Cincinnati and Green Bay before New York’s bye week also test improved the 2022 Jets are.
2021 record: 4-13 (fourth in AFC East)
Playoff results: Did not qualify
Season opener: vs Baltimore, Sept. 11, 1:00 p.m. EDT
Playoff teams on 2022 schedule: HOME – Buffalo, Cincinnati, New England; AWAY – Buffalo, Green Bay, New England, Pittsburgh
Key newcomers: S Jordan Whitehead, CB Ahmad Gardner (first-round pick); WR Garrett Wilson (first-round pick); DE Jermaine Johnson (first-round pick); RB Breece Hall (second-round pick); TE Tyler Conklin, TE C.J. Uzomah, OL Nate Herbig, OL Laken Tomlinson, DL Solomon Thomas.
Key losses: WR Keelan Cole, WR Jamison Crowder, DL Foley Fatukasi, S Marcus Maye, LB Jarrad Davis, OL Morgan Moses, TE Ryan Griffin.
Award candidates: Garrett Wilson (+850) in the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year; Jermaine Johnson (+900) in the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year; Breece Hall (+900) in NFL Offensive Rookie of the Years odds and (+10000) in NFL Offensive Player of the Year; Ahmad Gardner (+1000) in the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year odds.
Im last season’s draft, the Jets used the second overall selection to land their quarterback of the future in Zach Wilson. Now, they have surrounded him with playmakers. Receiver Garrett Wilson and running back Breece Hall were among the top players at their respective positions.
Jets lost a couple of receivers. However, Wilson, second-year receiver Elijah Moore and former top-five pick Corey Davis form the foundation of a pass-catching duo with tons of potential.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) June 14, 2022
The tight-end position will look much different after the addition of free agents Tyler Conklin and C.J. Uzomah. Former Ohio State tight end Jeremy Ruckert was added through the draft.
However, still questions about the offensive line. Former first-rounder Mekhi Becton hasn’t developed into the blind-side protector that the Jets had hoped. If the line improves, this could be a pretty solid offense for the Jets.
The addition of first-round picks Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner and Jermaine Johnson will add playmakers at cornerback and defensive end.
The top eight tacklers all return for the Jets. That list is led by C.J. Mosley, who had 168 tackles during the 2021 season. Quincy Williams added 110 tackles. Quinnen Williams has been solid but somewhat unspectacular since being the third-overall pick in 2019. If he can become a dominant force on the D-line, that’s a huge boost for the rebuilding Jets.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Jordan Whitehead will bring a big hitter to the back end of the secondary while Gardner should help at cornerback.
Defensive lineman Foley Fatukasi and safety Marcus Maye are among the defensive players who went elsewhere.
The New York Jets will be a better team in 2022 after adding three first-round picks, and perhaps the top running back in the draft. There’s still some work to be done before Gang Green becomes a threat to reach the playoffs.
Obviously, the hope is that quarterback Zach Wilson makes a huge jump after being the No. 2 pick in 2021. It was a very difficult rookie season for him, more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (9). Viewed by some as a potential breakout star at quarterback, Wilson has additional playmakers, so let’s see his progress.
A tough division led by the Super Bowl-favorite Buffalo Bills and perennial playoff participant New England Patriots. Then, there’s the Miami Dolphin team that added receiver Tyreek Hill and left tackle Terron Armstead. Playing in this division, the Jets could be an improved squad and it might not be reflected in the standings.
The Jets kick off the season with four games in a row against AFC North teams, including the defending defending conference champion Cincinnati Bengals. Then, Miami and Green Bay. It shouldn’t take very long to see the strides the Jets have/have not made.