Sauce Gardner and Garrett Wilson have taken home some serious hardware for putting up excellent seasons in their first year as New York Jets, but the best awards could be yet to come.
The NFL announced that both Gardner and Wilson are finalists for the Rookie of the Year Awards to be announced at the NFL Honors show a day before Super Bowl LVII.
Gardner, the first rookie defensive back to be named an All-Pro since Ronnie Lott in 1981, led all NFL defenders this season with 20 passes defended. He was named the PFWA Rookie of the Year Tuesday afternoon.
Garnder was the Jets’ fourth overall selection out of Cincinnati and immediately changed the culture of New York’s defense, helping them catapult from the 32nd-ranked defense to No. 4 in just one season.
Wilson had to battle quarterback instability but still put forth one of the best rookie seasons for a Jets’ skill position player. The Ohio State product set franchise records in rookie receptions (83) and yards (1,103) and was often the beacon of light in a struggling offense for the Jets last season.
Other finalists for Defensive Rookie of the Year are Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson and Tariq Woolen of the Seattle Seahawks. Wilson shares his finalist spot with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy and Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III. The Jets and Seahawks are the only two teams to share finalists for both offensive and defensive Rookie of the Year awards this season.
New York finished 7-10 in 2022 in Robert Saleh’s second season at the helm. It was the 12th straight season that the Jets did not make the postseason, but their strong rookie class has shown there is hope for the future.