Jets 2022 NFL Draft picks: What to expect from each player and how they'll fit in

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Jermaine Johnson, Sauce Gardner and Garrett Wilson treated image - all three side by side holding up jerseys after draft
Jermaine Johnson, Sauce Gardner and Garrett Wilson treated image - all three side by side holding up jerseys after draft

The Jets couldn’t be more excited about the players they added in the NFL Draft, and the rest of the world seems to agree. They are being universally praised for one of the best classes of last weekend, including four likely impact players in their first four picks.

In fact, it’s possible almost every one of the seven players they selected will have an impact on the 2022 season. Here’s a look at each of them, what to expect, and where they’ll fit in:

CB Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner (First round, 4th overall)

The most obvious addition to the Jets’ starting lineup is their top pick, who is probably their best corner the minute he steps on the field. He brings a size element (6-3, 190) to the corner corps that the Jets didn’t have, especially since their other starter is the 5-9 D.J. Reed. Gardner figures to be the one eventually locked down on the bigger, No. 1 receivers he’ll have to face, though he has the speed and ability to keep up with the Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hills of the division, too. And now the rest of the Jets’ young corners (Bryce Hall, Michael Carter, Brandin Echols, Jason Pinnock) can battle it out for the third and fourth corner spots.

WR Garrett Wilson (First round, 10th overall)

Whether or not he’s the "No. 1 receiver" right away is just semantics, but he will surely be a featured part of the Mike LaFleur offense. He’s so explosive and so fast he can be used in a variety of ways. And yes, he’s somewhat similar to Elijah Moore, which makes the possibilities even more fascinating. LaFleur has options now and figures to move them around a lot. The 6-3, 209-pound Corey Davis is still there too, of course, and will likely still get plenty of attention from quarterback Zach Wilson. And Braxton Berrios is the fourth receiver. Meanwhile, it looks increasingly less likely that Denzel Mims, a second-round pick from a year ago, has a future with the Jets.

Jermaine Johnson
Jermaine Johnson

DE Jermaine Johnson (First round, 26th overall)

Given how much Jets head coach Robert Saleh loves Johnson, and how badly the Jets wanted him, it’s hard to imagine he won’t be lining up as one of their ends on Opening Day. He and a healthy Carl Lawson make for a heck of a 1-2 punch in the pass rush. But they do have options for an impressive rotation. John Franklin-Myers may line up more inside, but he’ll see some snaps at end. They also brought in Jacob Martin, re-signed Vinny Curry, and they have hopes for Bryce Huff, too. Johnson and Lawson, though, are the most dangerous players on the outside of that line. The Jets think both of them can put up huge numbers, especially in "pressures."

RB Breece Hall (Second round, 36th overall)

As much as everyone likes Michael Carter and what he did last season, everyone who has seen Hall play believes he will quickly emerge as the lead back in the Jets’ backfield. He is that good, that versatile and that much of a "home run threat," as Saleh called him. Carter has all those traits, too, but not quite on Hall’s level. Still, there is room for both of them because the Jets want to go with a running back rotation, and what they showed last year is they have no problem riding the hot hand. So expect an offense that starts with Hall and Carter and works in Tevin Coleman on third downs. Who is featured or who gets the most touches could vary from game to game.

TE Jeremy Ruckert (Third round, 101st overall)

He was perhaps the Jets’ most curious pick, though certainly not a bad one. Ruckert is a promising tight end with excellent (and underused) receiving skills, and scouts think he could have a bright future in the NFL. The issue is where he’ll play since the Jets signed C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin in free agency. There is no doubt Uzomah will be the Jets’ No. 1 tight end and Conklin is the No. 2, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for Ruckert. The Jets have four good receivers, three good running backs, and two tight ends ahead of him in the pecking order in the passing game. Unless there are injuries, he’ll be lucky to get more than a couple of looks per game. And there might not be room for him to get more until 2023.

Mar 4, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Louisiana-lafayette offensive lineman Max Mitchell (OL33) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Mar 4, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Louisiana-lafayette offensive lineman Max Mitchell (OL33) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.

OT Max Mitchell (Fourth round, 111th overall)

The Jets are not only set with starters on the offensive line, but they’ve got veteran depth at every position, which likely means Mitchell is destined to spend the season on the inactive list. That’s fine, considering this is the Jets' only real "future" pick. They want to develop him to potentially push for a backup, or maybe even a starting job next season. It’s very unclear what the future holds for Mekhi Becton or George Fant, so there definitely could be an opportunity for Mitchell to compete for an actual job in 2023.

DE Michael Clemons (Fourth round, 117th overall)

The Jets were willing to take a risk on the only player in their class with character red flags because they are enamored with his abilities. They not only think he can be a steal if he stays out of trouble, but they think he can fit into their edge rotation this year. That obviously starts with Lawson and Johnson, and Franklin-Myers will get some time there, too. As noted above, Huff, Curry, and Martin all factor in too, but Clemons is good enough to push his way into a few snaps per game at the start and maybe even more as the season goes along. It will depend, obviously, on him staying out of trouble. But it will also depend on how quickly he progresses in training camp.