The New York Jets Day 1 NFL Draft Grade is an A+. They executed a perfect trifecta of picks and got one of the top players at each position of need. Joe Douglas’ experience in the Raven’s draft room is paying dividends as he continues to build his team through the NFL draft in a captivating manner. Not every pick since 2020 has paid off, but this draft could be the one that ties everything together and turns the Jets into a perennial playoff contender.
Pick #4: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner
This pick gets an A. Gardner never allowed a single touchdown in his career despite starting since he was a true freshman. In 2021, he took his game to another level, allowing only 131 yards in 14 games. Sauce is 6’3, 190lbs with a 4.41 40 yard dash. His mentality is more important than his physical stats however; Gardner gives out Deion Sanders vibes with his confidence, bling, and immaculate collegiate record. He is being compared to Richard Sherman, which could definitely be the case after he puts on some muscle in an NFL weight room. There are some worries about the competition he faced at a mid-major program, but his adaptability and physical gifts will help him adjust quickly and become a cornerstone for the Jet’s defense.
Pick #10: Garrett Wilson
This pick also gest an A. The Jets landed the best “ready now” receiver in the draft to get Zach Wilson immediate help. Zach Wilson racked up 2300 yards last season throwing to Elijah Moore and Corey Davis. Not exactly an all star cast and tough talent to evaluate the young QB with. Now that Zach has Garrett, the Wilson brothers can take the AFC East by storm. Garrett will have his work cut out for him, as Miami, Buffalo and New England are all known for the excellent cornerback play. Good thing the Jets got the number 1 receiver in the draft at #10, what a steal for the Gang Green.
Pick #26: Jermaine Johnson II
The Jets traded up with the Titans to grab this raw, athletic edge rusher as an excellent value pick. A+ here as the Jets nabbed a top talent at 3 positions in round 1. Jermaine Johnson II was slated to go early in this draft, but fell off for some reason. One slight against him is that he continually got bullied by bigger offensive lineman. Some teams might worry that his stats were inflated at Florida State with him being a bit of a flat track bully and beating up on lesser talent. However this can be fixed with some small technique changes and by teaching Johnson how to use leverage, hand placement and footwork at a pro NFL level. Great pick by the Jets to get a high ceiling prospect at the tail end of the 1st round.
Day 1 Overview
Overall, Day 1 for the New York Jets was one of their best drafts in recent memory. If these picks hit, they will also inevitably help Zach Wilson and Meckhi Beckton improve. Wilson, Beckton, Gardner, Johnson, and Wilson could all become cornerstones of this franchise, and then the Jets are just one draft away from challenging the Bills for the AFC East title.