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.