The NY Jets' first preseason game of the 2022 season may have been overshadowed by the early departure of quarterback Zach Wilson, but rookie defensive end Micheal Clemons quietly put together a dominant debut performance.
Clemons received ample playing time with the second and third-stringers, playing 30 defensive snaps throughout the night. And he certainly made the most of his opportunities.
The rookie fourth-round pick finished with a whopping seven pressures, five hurries, and a sack, earning an excellent 78.7 Pro Football Focus pass rush grade in the process.
Clemons led the Jets in total pressures and actually registered a pressure on 35 percent of his pass-rush snaps. That's a remarkable rate and further evidence of just how disruptive he was on Friday night.
Micheal Clemons is trying to play his way into the NY Jets' pass-rush rotation
Clemons was a bit of a controversial prospect coming out of college. The former JUCO standout transferred to Texas A&M in 2017, appearing in just shy of 40 games in five years with the Aggies.
Clemons battled injuries at Texas A&M and had his share of legal issues. That combined with the fact that he'll turn 25 years old before the start of the regular season had many believing he'd fall quite a bit in the draft.
But the Jets took a chance on Clemons' talent and believed that his natural ability would supersede his off-field concerns. So far, the early signs are that they may have struck gold.
Clemons won't be guaranteed anything, of course. He's competing for snaps in a stacked pass-rush rotation alongside the likes of Jermaine Johnson, Bryce Huff, Jacob Martin, Vinny Curry, and Jabari Zuniga, not to mention Carl Lawson and John Franklin-Myers.
The competition for snaps will be fierce, but Clemons is doing everything he can to ensure that he earns a regular role in the rotation. More performances like this one will go a long way toward solidifying his role.
On a night that left many Jets fans fearing the worst for their young QB, Micheal Clemons did everything he could to provide a little glimmer of hope in an otherwise dreary few hours.