Jermaine Johnson-to-New York Jets buzz is growing after a productive visit
It’s no secret that the New York Jets are in the market for an edge defender to partner Carl Lawson in the 2022 NFL draft. The only question is which edge defender the Jets will target come draft night.
We don’t know who will be available for the Jets come April 28. There’s a lot of talk that Oregon prospect Kayvon Thibodeaux could fall to New York at No. 4, and even some chatter that the Jets would pass on him there. However, most of what we’ve heard indicates the critiques around Thibodeaux are off the mark and that the Jets love what he could become in their defense.
One player that continues to be linked to New York is Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson, who led all of the top 2022 edge prospects in sacks (11.5), tackles (70), and tackles for loss (17.5) during the 2021 college football season.
Some advanced metrics, like pass-rush win rate, do not paint as good a picture for Johnson. His 14.1% pass-rush win rate in 2021 was the second-lowest among the top-7 projected EDGE rushers in the 2022 draft (ahead of only Georgia’s Travon Walker).
Johnson reportedly visited with the Jets last week. He even shared a tweet while located in Florham Park, New Jersey (the location of the Jets practice facility).
I don’t need to talk… my tape does that and will continue to. Whoever drafts me, let’s ball💯
— Jermaine Johnson II (@ii_jermaine) April 7, 2022
I quickly caught up with Johnson to confirm the visit to the Jets facility, and the Florida State man described his time with Robert Saleh, Joe Douglas, and the Jets staff as “awesome”.
The belief is that New York has a significant amount of interest in Johnson. On Monday, a report came out from Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network that backed up everything we’ve heard in relation to the interest being very real.
“Jermaine Johnson II continues to ascend up draft boards and, from what I’m hearing, will be a top-eight pick and could even land in the top five,” Pauline wrote. “Sources close to Johnson tell me the New York Jets have been in constant contact with the edge rusher and have been doing an inordinate amount of research on the Florida State product.”
Johnson was a member of the American team coached by the Detroit Lions at the Senior Bowl, but he likely crossed paths with the Jets coaching staff as Robert Saleh often stayed to watch Detroit’s American team practice once New York’s National team concluded its practice.
Although Johnson didn’t appear in the Senior Bowl game he put forward an outstanding week of practice, constantly beating offensive linemen in positional drills.
I know some people are lukewarm on Johnson, but I can see him working in the type of system the Jets operate. It’s easy to understand why he’s a popular name in the building with just a couple of weeks remaining until the draft.
I’m torn between Johnson and KT. I think the Jets need to take their Edge at #4, and then trade down from #10 if possible (if it isn’t used to trade for Brown or Metcalf) into the mid-teens, adding additional 2nd and 4th round picks this draft, and either take their WR there or perhaps Devonte Wyatt. I think the Jets’ first four picks are going to be some combination of Edge, WR, S, and DT. I’d prefer Edge and WR in the 1st round giving them the best choices at those two positions, and then taking Travis Jones and Lewis Cine in the 2nd round. They may take Wyatt in the 1st however, and then would need to take Christian Watson or George Pickens in the 2nd, and maybe another WR in the 4th round.
If it looks like “Trumaine Johnson,” and sounds like “Trumaine Johnson,” then Jermaine Johnson should be avoided at all costs.
The kid had the most sacks, tackles, and TFL for all edge defenders last year and his 14.1% pass rush win rate means that there is still so much room for improvement. That’s not a negative in my opinion. Prospects who peak too early and don’t progress every year in college like KT tend to be stagnant in the pros.
How does he do on that athletic RAS scale you were talking about the other day?
If the NYJ trade down slightly from 1-4 (with ATL or SEA or CAR), then Johnson is a possibility. I can see that happening, actually.
Johnson at 4. Best WR at ten. Best LB or CB or S and then another WR
Thibideaux at 4
Jermaine Johnson at 10
I love the idea of grabbing two edges, although I think I’d prefer Karlaftis over Johnson. It’s out of the box thinking and people would hate it, but could have the duo of the future. All depends on the board and how it falls.