The New York Jets wrapped up the first round of the 2022 NFL draft with Jermaine Johnson, which was thrilling for Jets fans. It was surprising he was still available when Joe Douglas made the move up to the 26th overall selection to secure him. Ultimately, the draft fall may have been worth the wait for Johnson. He is in a defensive scheme that suits his skill set perfectly. To line up out wide as a 9-technique and be able to attack right upfield with his speed is the ideal situation for Johnson to land in.
- New York Jets 2022 Preview: RB Breece Hall
- New York Jets 2022 Preview: QB Zach Wilson
- New York Jets Alijah Vera-Tucker ‘starting to feel more comfortable’ at RG
Johnson’s measurables and athletic ability
Great height and length come with Johnson. He stands tall at 6-foot-4 and has long 34″ arms. Johnson has enough size to hold up on the edge as well, weighing roughly 260 pounds. Johnson uses his frame to play with great physicality as both a pass rusher and run defender.
Athletically, Johnson tested incredibly well during the pre-draft process. His speed was clearly evident as he ran a 1.59 10-yard split and 4.58 40-yard dash. In terms of explosiveness, his 125″ broad jump grade ranked high. Overall, his Relative Athletic Score was a 9.22, an exceptional grade, to say the least.
In 2021, Johnson had a massive breakout season at Florida State. He concluded last year with 11.5 sacks, 17.5 tackles for loss, and 70 total tackles in 12 games played on a team that greatly struggled. Johnson consistently impacted games drastically last year, both rushing the passer and playing the run on the edge. Johnson also forced two fumbles last season. Even in 2020 at Georgia, Johnson quietly posted solid stats. He played in seven games and finished with five sacks.
What Johnson will bring to the New York Jets
The most notable attributes of Johnson that he provides the Jets with are his height, length, speed, athleticism, and physicality. Johnson plays hard every snap. His impact as a run defender will likely be there from the start. On first and second downs, anticipate a lot of reps for Johnson.
As a pass rusher, Johnson has the talent to make an immediate impact. Ideally, he can give some impactful rushes, whether it be sacks or pressures, especially on third downs and in two-minute situations. Roughly five to seven sacks in year one would be a great start for Johnson.
Going forward, having a consistent pass rush plan every snap will unlock his significant potential. The good thing is he proved his variety of moves and sound hand technique in college. Refining just that will give him the chance to be a dominant Jet for years to come.