Could Jets draft Jermaine Johnson over other pass rushers?

·2 min read

The Jets will be in a prime position to take one of the best pass rushers in the 2022 NFL draft with the fourth or 10th pick. Many mocks have Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux or Georgia’s Travon Walker going to New York, but there’s another pass rusher the Jets could target instead.

Florida State edge rusher Jermaine Johnson II is well regarded by the Jets, according to multiple reports. Perhaps more so than Thibodeaux.

The 23-year-old Johnson is one of the most productive defensive linemen in the draft. He tallied 11.5 sacks in 2021, his first season with the Seminoles following two years with the Georgia Bulldogs. Johnson also finished the year with 23 run stops, which is another need for the Jets, and 70 combined tackles.

Johnson has a lot of the traits the Jets are looking for in an edge rusher. He’s built like one at 6-foot-5, 254 pounds, and has a good blend of strength and athleticism. He’s an athletic marvel – something Douglas has targeted with many of his other picks – with a Relative Athletic Score of 9.23 and a 40-yard dash time of 4.58 seconds.

The issues with Johnson aren’t his size or athleticism, though. It’s his age and consistency. He’s one of the oldest players in the draft at 23 years old, and he only had a 14.1 percent pass-rush win rate in 2021, per Jets X-Factor. Douglas wants his first-rounders to be Day 1 contributors, and Johnson may need time before becoming an everyday disruptor.

Picking Johnson would be a bit surprising if Thibodeaux and/or Walker are still available, but it would mean Douglas, Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich believe Johnson is a better fit for the defense and the best player left on the draft board. That’s important when determining whether or not the Jets made the right pick.

The Jets defense needs all the help it can get after a season in which New York ranked 32nd in points and yards allowed. Johnson could very well be the one to deliver it.

List

8 dark horse candidates for the Jets' first-round draft picks

List

8 pass rushers Jets could target in 2022 NFL draft