Draft

Thoughts on the NY Jets' massive first-round 2022 NFL Draft haul

Craig Epstein
NY Jets, Garrett Wilson
NY Jets, Garrett Wilson / David Becker/GettyImages
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It was a happy night at One Jets Drive as the NY Jets ended night one of the 2022 NFL Draft with the trio of Sauce Gardner, Garrett Wilson, and Jermaine Johnson.

Sauce Gardner, CB, NY Jets

Following the selections of Travon Walker Aidan Hutchinson, and the Houston Texans surprisingly taking Derek Stingley Jr. third, Gang Green had a decision: fortify the offensive line with NC State offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu or go for the dynamic cornerback in Cincinnati’s Sauce Gardner?

While it is hard to say the Jets would have gone wrong in taking Ekwonu, he would have been more of a luxury than a necessity. And in a division that now features Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill, the Jets needed a ball-hawking corner who can follow an opposing team’s best receiver for the entire game.

Much like any prospect, whether or not Gardner ends up being a boom or bust is yet to be determined. However, it is hard to walk away thinking Gang Green did not make the right choice here as they look to turn Revis Island into Sauce Island.

Garrett Wilson, WR, NY Jets

Following the Jets’ selection of Gardner, Gang Green appears to have made another stellar move in drafting Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson at 10.

In a first-round that saw a historic number of receivers taken, perhaps none of them will be going into the 2022 season with more pressure than Wilson.

Following the Jets striking out on a potential trade for Tyreek Hill, all eyes turned to Deebo Samuel after the star playmaker requested a trade out of San Francisco.

For weeks, the question of whether or not Gang Green would/should be willing to give up the 10th overall pick for Samuel was discussed to the point where many thought it could happen on the draft night itself. Well after the selection of Wilson, those dreams appear to be put to bed (at least for now).

As for Wilson, this is once again another case where you cannot help but feel like the Jets got it right. While USC’s Drake London went two picks before the Atlanta Falcons, many believe Wilson was WR1 coming into this draft so to be able to take him without having to move up feels like a dream come true for the Jets.

Now, combine the fact Gang Green was going big game hunting before this selection and A.J. Brown finds himself in Philadelphia, there might not be a rookie receiver under more pressure to deliver than Wilson.

However, if he is as good as many would lead you to believe then the duo of Wilson and Elijah Moore could be a scary thought for opposing defenses for years to come. Not to mention, the Wilson-to-Wilson connection sounds pretty cool.

Jermaine Johnson, DE, NY Jets

While many figured the Jets were done following Wilson’s selection, all of a sudden Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson II kept falling to the point where trading back into the first round for him was too good of an opportunity for general manager Joe Douglas to pass up.

While there was much chatter about the Jets possibly taking the defensive end at either four or 10, to be able to get him at 26 is a move that could end up making a lot of teams look foolish if he turns out to be a productive player.

While he might not be viewed on the same level as Walker, Hutchinson, or Kayvon Thibodeaux, to see Johnson fall to 26 is almost inexplicable and something that even Nostradamus could not have predicted coming into the night.

Overall, while the stories for these three players have yet to be written, it is hard to come away from this haul and give the Jets anything but an A.

Next. 18 players the NY Jets can target on Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft. dark

Coming into the draft, Gang Green’s biggest needs were cornerback, wide receiver, and the pass rush, so to be able to fill up all three slots in night one is a home run for Douglas and company. Now, the question remains whether or not he can turn that home run into a grand slam.

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