- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Setting realistic expectations is always important — especially when it comes to rookies in the NFL.
It’s easy to get overly excited about the potential of a rookie and their ability to produce at a high level once the draft wraps up. Fans are excited about their team’s draft haul and are looking for high draft picks to come in and contribute from day one. The Jets have three players who can accomplish that in Ahmad Gardner, Garrett Wilson and Jermaine Johnson II, but there’s no guarantee either of the three — or any member of New York’s 2022 draft class — rises to the ranks of the elite in year one.
With that being said, let’s take a closer look at what the Jets can realistically expect from their rookies in 2022.
CB Ahmad Gardner: Establish himself as a solid starter
Cornerbacks who go in the top five are expected to be elite right away and Gardner has a chance to be that player as a rookie. New York shouldn’t necessarily be holding him to that, though. Gardner still has developing to do with his technique and avoiding downfield penalties. The Jets will likely be satisfied if Gardner avoids any major growing pains and establishes himself as a mainstay in the secondary in year one.
WR Garrett Wilson: Take the pressure off Corey Davis
Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images
Davis struggled to assert himself as the Jets’ No. 1 wide receiver when he was healthy in 2021. Some of that had to do with New York not having another dangerous weapon until Elijah Moore came into his own midway through the season, but Davis struggled to get open against top cornerbacks. Davis will still see No. 1 cornerbacks on a weekly basis, but the Jets are counting on Wilson to take some of the pressure off the veteran. Wilson’s presence adds a new element to New York’s offense — one opposing defensive coordinators are going to account for. Davis won’t be zoned in on as heavily as long as Wilson does his job.
DE Jermaine Johnson II: Settle into his niche
Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images
Johnson II is going to play a healthy amount for the Jets’ in 2021, but he isn’t going to be an every-down player like he was at Florida State. John Franklin-Myers is going to play outside against the run and shift inside against the pass, opening the door for Johnson II to get after opposing quarterbacks. It might take some getting used to, but the Jets are looking for Johnson II to settle into his initial niche as a situational pass rusher.
RB Breece Hall: Compliment Michael Carter
Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images
Hall is going to team up with Carter to form a 1A-1B duo in Mike LaFleur’s backfield. It remains to be seen how exactly LaFleur will formulate game plans with the duo in mind, but he’ll be looking for Hall to compliment Carter as more of a workhorse. Hall shouldering a bit heavier of a load will be beneficial for the smaller Carter, who the Jets will be counting on as a high-impact player on the ground and through the air.
TE Jeremy Ruckert: Provide quality depth
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Tyler Conklin and C.J. Uzomah are slated to take on the bulk of the snaps at tight end, but both have dealt with injuries in the past. That may require Ruckert to provide quality depth in a pinch at some point in 2022. Ruckert has the skill set as a blocker and receiver to succeed in that role. He’s not a rhythm player and should be in a position to produce whenever his number is called.
OT Max Mitchell: Adjust to uptick in competition
AP Photo/Matthew Hinton
Mitchell was one of the best offensive linemen in college football in 2021 playing in the Sun Belt. Not to knock the conference, but he’ll see a much higher level of pass rushers in the NFL. It was a bit easier for Mitchell to grade ahead of Charles Cross, Ikem Ekwonu and Evan Neal — three top 10 picks — playing against Group of 5 pass rushers. He’ll have to take his game up a notch as a rookie.
DE Micheal Clemons: Bring intensity off the bench
AP Photo/David J. Phillip
The Jets are crowded on the defensive line, and while Clemons is going to have some sort of role given his ability as a pass rusher, it still needs to be determined how he fits in. One thing he can do to help his case is bring intensity off the bench when asked to attack the quarterback. It sounds like that won’t be an issue.