Reviews of the Jets' 2022 NFL Draft class have been pouring in on Sunday and everyone seems to agree on one thing.
New York and general manager Joe Douglas crushed it with this year's draft.
In case you missed a pick or two over the last few days, here's a complete list of New York's seven-player class:
- Round 1, Pick 4: Ahmad “Sauce” Garner, CB, Cincinnati
- Round 1, Pick 10: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
- Round 1, Pick 26: Jermaine Johnson, DE, Florida State
- Round 2, Pick 36: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
- Round 3, Pick 101: Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Ohio State
- Round 4, Pick 111: Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana
- Round 4, Pick 117: Micheal Clemons, DE, Texas A&M
The pressure was on for Douglas and the Jets entering this draft after years of ineptitude on both sides of the ball. New York went out and added playmakers, bolstering a defense that was the worst in football last year while providing their young quarterback on offense with more weapons.
If New York wants to play meaningful games late in the season, this was an important first step, putting the entire roster in more of a position to succeed.
Gang Green didn't sit around and cross their fingers that they would get their top guys in this draft either. New York was aggressive, as Douglas has been hinting at all offseason long. Not only did they trade up into the first round for a third first-rounder, giving head coach Robert Saleh another toy on his defensive line in EDGE Jermaine Johnson, but they made sure they got running back Breece Hall by moving up in the second round as well.
That's an example of the Jets having a plan, knowing who they wanted to add to their scheme and executing, using a surplus of draft capital to snag impactful players in the first few rounds.
Don't take my word for it, though. Here are some of the initial evaluations from a slew of draft analysts:
ESPN, Mel Kiper Jr.
Entering this draft, the Jets had an extra first-round pick (from the Jamal Adams trade) and an extra second-round pick (from the Sam Darnold trade), giving them two in the top 10 and four in the top 38. And after another last-place finish in the AFC East -- their fifth in six seasons -- I thought they'd choose two prospects from three positions -- offensive live, wide receiver and cornerback -- with their top two picks. And that's exactly what they did.
The Jets selected my top-ranked corner in Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner (4) and my top-ranked wideout in Garrett Wilson (10), each of whom have All-Pro skill sets. Then they moved back into Round 1 to take Jermaine Johnson II (26), who had fallen down the board. He is a really solid, all-around defensive end who had 12 sacks last season and was the best prospect at the Senior Bowl in January. I had Johnson No. 11 on my Big Board. Those are three rookie starters from general manager Joe Douglas, for a team that needed a talent infusion at all three positions.
And still, Douglas & Co. had an early-second round pick to get a good player, and they landed my top-ranked running back, Breece Hall (36), a touchdown maker with some tools to be a weapon in the passing game. That's three of my top prospects at their respective positions drafted by the Jets -- and an awesome class from Douglas.
The only slight knock here is waiting until Round 4 for an offensive tackle, which means they must be OK with George Fant and Mekhi Becton in 2022. Max Mitchell (111) is more of a developmental prospect who can be the swing tackle early in his career. I do think Jeremy Ruckert (101) could be a useful tight end in backing up C.J. Uzomah. Overall, this is one of the best groups of 2022.
For the rest of Kiper's analysis, click here
The Jets have been in a vicious cycle of late. The end of the Mike Tannenbaum era carried a chips-all-in mentality balanced by the John Idzik era of savings and pragmatism (though most of the draft picks they acquired failed to produce). This was followed by a disastrous Mike Maccagnan regime that buried the franchise … until now? As we mentioned in our draft night recap, I’m not sure people understand how difficult a job Joe Douglas had and how far the roster has come. With this class, the team should be able to start seeing some results. Ruckert was an interesting pickup. On film at Ohio State, he carried some of the exact same responsibilities as Kyle Jusczcyk and George Kittle do in the 49ers’ offense, down to some of the minute, arc-motion-style blocking. This should be a real plug-and-play scenario for the Jets, who needed more players intimately familiar with the way offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur wants to run his offense. Hall is exactly what Zach Wilson and the offense needs: a running back who can turn a play dead in the backfield into something. At Iowa State, he rescued the Cyclones from time to time when their offensive line was plowed over.
For the rest of Conor Orr's analysis, click here
Jets fans were thrilled to see the team get an outstanding corner in Gardner, elusive receiver in Wilson and power rusher in Johnson all in the first round. General manager Joe Douglas moved up to get Johnson and Hall (the best back in the draft) without losing significant value. He chose Ruckert over other needs in the third, but the former Buckeye has the potential to be a nice blocker/receiver as a pro.
Mitchell will be at least a valuable swing tackle on Sundays, if not a starter on the right side. The Jets added another power rusher in Clemons on Day 3, but their lack of picks in Rounds 5-7 means they'll have to add some top-notch undrafted free agents.
For the rest of Chad Reuter's grades, click here
You’re supposed to do well when you have the fourth and 10th picks. The Jets did more than well, getting CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner at No. 4 and WR Garrett Wilson at No. 10, then trading back into the first round to land pass rusher Jermaine Johnson II at No. 26. RB Breece Hall in the second round and TE Jeremy Ruckert in the third round also amounted to productive moves. Skepticism generally is in order when the Jets are involved, but this has the look of a fantastic draft class.
For the rest of Mark Maske's analysis, click here
The New York Jets needed a transformational draft class, and that's exactly what this has the potential to be.
Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner has rare length for a cornerback and was dominant while being asked to play plenty of press coverage in college. He never allowed a touchdown reception during his time at Cincinnati, according to Pro Football Focus.
Garrett Wilson was the fifth receiver on the final B/R big board, but he was 19th overall, so it wasn't an egregious reach. Trading back into the first round to select Jermaine Johnson II gives the Jets three immediate starters at impact positions.
The Jets then turned their attention to helping second-year quarterback Zach Wilson on Day 2. Breece Hall has the makings of a superstar tailback, while Jeremy Ruckert was the top tight end in B/R's rankings.
The Jets had to nail this draft, and general manager Joe Douglas did just that.
For the rest of Alex Ballentine's grades, click here
Day 1: A lot of the talk in the pre-draft process was that the Jets would target an edge defender or offensive tackle in this spot. Instead, they opted for the cornerback who didn’t allow a single touchdown in his college career. Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner is a strong fit in Robert Saleh’s defense, and it’s hard to poke holes in his profile from size to athleticism to college production. Gardner allowed just 43% of the passes thrown into his coverage to be completed across his three seasons with the Bearcats.
The Jets continue to add talent around second-year quarterback Zach Wilson with a 6-foot, 184-pound wide receiver who wins in space before and after the catch. Garrett Wilson averaged over 3.0 yards per route run in each of the last two seasons at Ohio State. He rounds out a receiving corps that has added Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin in the last two offseasons.
There were murmurs that the Jets were thinking of selecting Jermaine Johnson with their No. 4 overall pick, yet they managed to land him at No. 26 after moving up in a trade with Tennessee. The Florida State product, who also played at Georgia and the JUCO level, was one of the biggest winners at the Senior Bowl, impressing scouts so much that he opted out of the final day of practice and the game itself. The 6-foot-4, 259-pounder has over 34-inch arms and the tools to put them into action. He produced multiple pressures in every game he played for Florida State last season and ended the campaign with an 81.0 PFF grade.
Day 2: The Jets were clearly worried that Houston had its sights set on a running back at Pick No. 37, jumping the Texans to land their RB1. Breece Hall has outstanding contact balance, can produce as a receiver and tested extremely well athletically at the combine. This is a bit early to take a running back, particularly following a trade-up, but there’s not much to dislike about Hall’s profile as a prospect. The Jets now have a 1-2 punch at running back with Hall and Michael Carter.
Jeremy Ruckert is arguably the best blocking tight end in the draft class and has uber-reliable ball skills. He dropped only two passes on 56 catchable targets in his college career. He complements what the Jets already have in C.J.Uzomah and Tyler Conklin really well.
Day 3: After drafting several skill players earlier this draft, the Jets finally decided to help out quarterback Zach Wilson from a protection standpoint. Max Mitchell entered the draft as the 88th overall player on PFF’s big board and the 13th best tackle. Last season, he earned a very impressive 94.8 PFF grade.
For the rest of PFF's grades, click here
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