Is it possible that the New York Jets are receiving praise for their drafting? What in the name of Jeff Lageman and Kyle Brady is going on here?
Thanks to the trade of safety Jamal Adams to the Seattle Seahawks and the Jets’ own struggles, they had two of the top 10 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft so it would be hard to totally mess things up. Still, the people who follow the draft 365 days a year and 24 hours a day couldn’t heap enough praise on the team that usually frustrates its fans with head-scratching draft-day decisions.
The impressive draft haul didn’t immediately make the Jets a title contender as only the Houston Texans have lower odds than the Jets (+15000) to win the Super Bowl Odds according to the NFL betting lines.
Here’s a Look at How the Jets Fared in The Draft.
Pick 4 Ahmad Gardner | CB, Cincinnati Bearcats
While Gardner was not the first cornerback chosen, he was rated as the top player at his position going into the draft.
Playing in a division where Stefon Diggs is catching passes from Josh Allen and Tyreek Hill was traded to the Miami Dolphins in the offseason, having a shutdown cornerback is a must.
The 6-foot-3 Gardner offers tremendous size at the position but it wasn’t just his frame that made him the fourth-overall selection.
The Jets used to have elite cornerbacks especially when Darrelle Revis was patrolling the secondary. The hope is that this pick will help the team have a top-notch playmaker to neutralize the top receivers once again.
The NFL predictions have Gardner tied for the eighth-best odds to win the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Pick 10 Garrett Wilson | WR, Ohio State Buckeyes
After making quarterback Zach Wilson the No. 2 overall pick a season ago, the Jets tried to give him top receiving options by taking Elijah Moore early in the second round of the 2021 draft and signing former top-five pick Corey Davis as a free agent. They both return and will team with the dynamic Wilson to give the Jets the makings of an explosive passing game.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) May 3, 2022
The Jets haven’t used a first-round pick on a receiver since picking Santana Moss 16th overall in the 2001 NFL Draft. With Moore showing promise and Wilson a highly touted prospect, perhaps the Jets can move on from a less than stellar track record when picking receivers in the top 100.
Denzel Mims, ArDarius Stewart, Devin Smith and Stephen Hill are the receivers taken in the top 100 between the selections of Moss and Moore. Enough said. Perhaps things will be different with Wilson who is currently fourth in the odds to be named the winner of the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year according to the Las Vegas odds.
Pick 26 Jermaine Johnson II | DE, Florida State Seminoles
The Jets passed on Oregon edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux when they selected Gardner. There were some who thought that Johnson, who thrived in his lone season with the Seminoles after transferring from Georgia, was a possible option with the 10th overall selection.
When receivers and offensive linemen kept coming off the board and Johnson kept on sliding, the Jets decided enough was enough. The Jets gave up a fifth-round pick and agreed to drop back from pick No. 69 to 101 so they could move up nine spots and select Johnson 26th overall. Those who bet online viewed this as one of the top moves made in the draft.
The Jets have been using undrafted players and late-round picks in an attempt to have something resembling a pass rush. Johnson should add some explosiveness off the edge that the franchise hasn’t had in a while.
Pick 36 Breece Hall | RB, Iowa State Cyclones
The Jets had the 38th overall pick thanks to the trade of quarterback Sam Darnold to Carolina. With the Houston Texans believed to be in the market for a running back in the draft, the Jets gave up a fifth-round selection to jump ahead of Houston and select the highest-ranked running back on many draft boards.
Running back, might not have been the greatest need considering what 2021 fourth-round pick Michael Carter accomplished a season ago; however, Hall is 15 pounds heavier than Carter and the fact that Hall had 82 catches in his three seasons at Iowa State didn’t hurt either.
Pick 101 Jeremy Ruckert | TE, Ohio State Buckeyes
When you are in an offense with Wilson, fellow first-round pick Chris Olave as well as Jaxson Smith-Njigba, there aren’t many targets left for tight ends. That is a reason why Ruckert had only 39 catches over the last two seasons.
Unlike many tight ends coming into the NFL, Ruckert has drawn rave reviews for his blocking ability. He gives Wilson another talented receiving option. The Jets did sign tight ends Tyler Conklin and C.J. Uzomah to three-year deals on back-to-back days in March. It remains to be seen how much Ruckert is utilized early in his professional career.
Pick 111 Max Mitchell | OT, Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
There are some concerns about former first-round pick Mekhi Becton who was expected to be the starting left tackle for at least a decade when he was taken 11th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. Max Mitchell offers another option at the tackle position as the Jets pulled out all the stops to upgrade the offense in the draft. This pick was also acquired in the Darnold trade so that could end up becoming the gift that keeps on giving.
Pick 117 Micheal Clemons | DL, Texas A&M Aggies
Speaking of picking up draft picks via trade, the move to send tight end Chris Herndon and a sixth-round pick to Minnesota brought back the 117th pick.
The 6-foot-5, 270-pound Clemons had seven sacks as a senior with 3.5 coming in the season finale against LSU. There will be some options on how the Jets will use Clemons. They could have him add some weight and use him inside or kick him out to the strong-side defensive end as he could team with Johnson to upgrade the defensive end position.
The Jets dealt away their fifth, sixth and seventh-round picks to help them move up a couple of times during the draft so this wraps up their seven-player draft class.
Grading the Draft
Few teams received as much praise from the draftniks as the Jets and it has been a while since those words could be uttered.
The defense needs plenty of help and the additions of Gardner and Johnson should help out. The selections of Hall and Ruckert weren’t exactly coming at positions of need but when you have struggled as mightily as this franchise has, grabbing as many good players as possible is the smart way to go.