The New York Jets received great returns from their 2022 rookie class last year.
Sauce Gardner and Garrett Wilson are in the running for both offensive and defensive rookie of the year, while Breece Hall showed areas of dominance early on.
But it’s Jermaine Johnson II who wasn’t given the same amount of playtime, but still showed enough flashes to get Jet fans excited as he gets into the first full year as an NFL pro.
Johnson was drafted 26th overall out of Florida State and was touted as a top pass rusher coming out, but someone who needed more experience. Scouts believed that it would take a few years for Johnson to fully develop into the top pass rusher he can grow to be with his intangibles already through the roof.
The tape agrees with the scouts. While the Jets never played Johnson for over 50% of snaps on defense, in the short amount of time he did see on the field, the Florida St. product showed plenty of flashes.
#Jets rookie pass rusher @ii_jermaine played sparingly at times this season, but when he did, he flashed the potential that made him a first round pick. @AMNY_Sports @amNewYork pic.twitter.com/rUXvs6WRn4
— Nick Faria (@Nick_Faria1720) February 6, 2023
Even with the lack of snaps, Johnson produced pretty well when he got opportunities. Pro Football Focus graded the first-round pick at an elite 71.7. In 14 games played, Johnson tallied two and a half sacks, 29 tackles, and a blocked punt.
Rookie development is difficult to track. Not every young player is able to produce at a high level but that doesn’t mean the player is a bust. Several top players in the league today took several years to hit their stride and produce as top playmakers.
The 2023 offseason will be a big one for both Jermaine Johnson and the New York Jets. If the second-year vet takes the steps that many people believe he will, New York will have a top pass rusher at their disposal in the second year of a rookie deal.
And going off the tape of his rookie season, it’s not far-fetched to think that’s possible.
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