Round 1, 26th overall, NY Jets: Jermaine Johnson, DE, Florida State
The Jets' draft would have already been successful with just Sauce Gardner and Garrett Wilson. Fans were already celebrating two impact players on either side of the ball — as were the Jets.
But then a player who many had pegged to the Jets with the 10th or even the fourth overall pick started to slide. Pick after pick went by, and Jermaine Johnson was still on the board.
The Jets began the process of trying to trade up for Johnson starting with the 15th overall pick. Joe Douglas called every team that was on the clock, but he wasn't able to strike a deal until the 26th pick.
Douglas agreed to trade up nine spots from pick 35 in exchange for the team's last pick in the draft (163) and a drop down from 69 to 101 in the third round. The trade was fair value, the pick itself was incredible value.
Johnson was a top-eight player on the Jets board and widely seen as a top-10 player in the class. He slid in the draft partially because other teams may not have valued him as high, but also because the need just wasn't there either. No team drafted an edge rusher between Kayvon Thibodeaux at five and Johnson at 26.
In Johnson, the Jets are landing one of the best edge rushers in this class and someone they have high hopes for. The 2021 ACC Defensive Player of the Year finished with 12 sacks and 18 tackles for loss in his lone season at Florida State.
He's explosive and polished with excellent size and length. Considering the Jets nearly drafted Johnson 16 picks earlier, the fact that they were able to trade back into the first to land him at 26 has to be considered one of the biggest steals of the draft.
I have a feeling the Jets' aggressive approach is going to pay off as it pertains to Jermaine Johnson.