NY Jets news: Jets dominate Pro Bowl voting, Sauce Gardner reaches elite status

Justin Fried
NY Jets, Sauce Gardner
NY Jets, Sauce Gardner / Al Bello/GettyImages
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The final Pro Bowl votes were tallied on Monday and no AFC team finished with more players at the top of their respective positions than the NY Jets.

Four Jets players paced all others in their conference at their positions in Pro Bowl votes, those players being cornerback Sauce Gardner, defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, special-teamer Justin Hardee, and long snapper Thomas Hennessy.

Gardner, Williams, and Hardee all finished first in votes at their respective positions in the entire NFL while Hennessy ranked third among all long snappers (first in the AFC).

It should be noted that just 12 days ago, Hardee ranked seventh at his position while Hennessy ranked ninth. Jets fans certainly came through with their votes over the last two weeks.

Other Jets players to finish in the top 10 (AFC and NFC combined) in Pro Bowl votes were cornerback D.J. Reed (fourth), linebacker C.J. Mosley (fifth), safety Lamarcus Joyner (fifth), return man Braxton Berrios (sixth), kicker Greg Zuerlein (10th), and center Connor McGovern (10th).

The Jets finished tied with the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins for most players leading their position in votes in the AFC. It's hard to argue that Jets players aren't receiving their due this season.

Now, it should be noted that players and coaches both vote on who should make the Pro Bowl. Final Pro Bowl rosters will be announced on Wednesday night.

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Sauce Gardner has reached elite status

With all due respect to players like Tariq Woolen, Jalen Pitre, and Aidan Hutchinson who are having excellent rookie seasons in their own right, Sauce Gardner has locked up the Defensive Rookie of the Year race. It isn't a competition anymore.

In fact, Gardner could make a legitimate case to be named Defensive Player of the Year. He's putting together one of the best seasons by a cornerback in the last 20 years — in his rookie season no less.

Gardner was once again shut down against the Detroit Lions in Week 15 as he wasn't targeted a single time. Gardner's 38 coverage snaps without a target are tied for the fourth-most by an outside cornerback in a game since 2017, per NFL Next Gen Stats.

It's nearly impossible to argue that Gardner isn't the best cornerback in the NFL from a statistical perspective at this point. The tweet below says it all.

Sauce Gardner isn't just the best defensive rookie in the NFL. He isn't just the best cornerback in the NFL. He might just be the best defensive player in the NFL. That's about as elite as it gets.

Quinnen Williams trending in the right direction

The Jets didn't hold practice on Monday, but they provided an estimated injury report ahead of their Week 16 meeting with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday. Perhaps most notable on the injury report was the "return" of Quinnen Williams.

Williams was listed as a limited participant which would be the first time he had participated in a practice since suffering his calf injury in Week 14.

Next. 11 players who can be the starting QB for the NY Jets in 2023. dark

The Jets seem more optimistic that Williams will be able to play on Thursday and Monday's injury report suggests that will be the case. The arrow is pointing up for the Jets' star defensive tackle.

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