The Jets finished the 2021 season 4-13, making it their sixth-consecutive losing season. Joe Douglas was entering his fourth season as Jets General Manager. They were scheduled to have two first-round picks entering the draft, both of which were in the top ten after getting the Seattle Seahawks’ first-round pick in the Jamal Adams trade. After drafting Zach Wilson, who they believe is their franchise quarterback in last year’s draft, it was time to improve the defense and give Wilson some weapons.
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Best Pick: Jermaine Johnson II (Round 1, Pick 26)
In 2021 the Jets were among the bottom seven of the NFL in sacks with 33. They needed to add a pass rusher, and they were set up perfect to do just that with those two first-round picks. However, after taking Sauce Gardner and Garrett Wilson with their top picks, it looked like they would have to pick one on day two. The Jets began getting aggressive, making phone calls to move back into the first round. They finally found a partner and were able to strike a deal with the Tennessee Titans to move up to the 26th pick overall.
With that pick, they selected Johnson, the defensive end out of Florida State. There were a lot of talks just before the draft that Johnson had worked himself into a top ten pick. However, that wasn’t the case as he slipped, and the Jets were thrilled to take him. He had a stellar 2021 season where he accumulated 11.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for a loss. Johnson will make an impact immediately next season, and it will be exciting to see what Robert Saleh can do with him. With Saleh and his staff, Johnson could become a pro-bowl-caliber edge rusher.
For more on Johnson, check out our scouting report on him.
Worst Pick: Jeremy Ruckert (Round 3, Pick 101)
The Jets had such a good draft that even the worst pick was still solid. However, after spending a good chunk of money on free agents C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin. Going tight end with this pick was a bit confusing, especially considering they still needed offensive tackle, but they decided to wait for that until round four and selected Ruckert.
Ruckert is a solid tight end, but the Jets will have to develop his receiving ability. With him being at Ohio State, he wasn’t asked to be much of a pass-catcher. That wasn’t necessarily because he couldn’t, but more so because they had two wide receivers taken in the top 11 and another potential top ten pick in next year’s draft. Because of that, he was mostly used as a blocker. He will likely be used summarily early in his career with the Jets. However, look for him to be more involved in the offense by year three with some development in the passing game.
For more on Ruckert, check out our scouting report on him.
Sleeper Pick: Breece Hall (Round 2, Pick 36)
The Jets were not done being aggressive heading into day two after an aggressive day one. Just as the second round got underway, they decided to trade up in front of the Houston Texans to take Hall. This pick was a bit surprising because they just drafted Michael Carter last season. However, in today’s NFL, you need two good backs. Hall was rated as the top running back heading into the draft. He will immediately bring speed and elusiveness to the Jets backfield, giving Wilson a dynamic back in the run and pass attack.
For more on Hall, check out our scouting report on him.
The Jets knocked this draft out of the park. They very well could have had the best draft of any team in the league. That is a major accomplishment, considering the awful drafts they have had in years past. They were able to give Wilson some playmakers while adding two immediate impact starters in the defense. The Jets could very well be a wild card contender next season. However, a lot of that will be depending on the improvement at quarterback with Wilson. Moreover, they put themselves in a good position with this draft class.
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