First-round draft picks enjoy a chance to flip jets

The Jets’ three first-round picks began their journey together Thursday night with a private jet flight from Las Vegas to New Jersey.

Cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, wide receiver Garrett Wilson and defensive end Jermaine Johnson II were forever linked when the Jets selected them in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. The Jets hope the trio will have a long career together and be part of the turnaround in the franchise business — something all three spoke out in favor of at their inaugural press conference on Friday afternoon.

“This team is going to be something very special,” said Gardner, number 4 overall.

The three young players probably have no idea what they are getting themselves into. The Jets have missed the playoffs for the past 11 seasons and are tied with the Giants for the worst record in the NFL in the last five years. Many draft picks have come in at One Jets Drive over the past few years in a bid to change the team’s losing culture. So far none have succeeded.

Jets fans are excited after Thursday’s three-pick night that could be transformative.

Jets selects Ahmad in the first round "sauce" Gardner, Garrett Wilson and Jermaine Johnson pose for photos during their inaugural press conference.
Jets first-round draft picks Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Garrett Wilson and Jermaine Johnson pose for photos during their induction press conference.
Bill Kostron

“We came here to be the best teammates we can be and to sacrifice whatever it takes so we can win and turn the program around,” Gardner said. “No matter what it takes, we’ll do whatever it takes.”

The three took the spotlight on Friday, showing they are not afraid of the pressure they will face as first-round picks.

“We’re coming out of the limelight,” said Johnson, who played at Florida State last year after starting his Division I career in Georgia. “This is nothing new for us. We’ve been leaning on the team before these guys. I think we will attack it. All we will do is be ourselves and be the best teammates we can be.”

Normally, a first-round player is under different pressure than any other player, but the Jets now have three players who work together to withstand that pressure.

“Coming in and having two other guys doing the same thing as you really takes some of the pressure off. It’s a blessing,” Wilson said.

One of the highlights of this summer’s training camp will be the daily battles between the team’s two top picks – Wilson and Gardner. The two actually played each other in 2019 when Ohio State and Cincinnati competed. The Buckeyes won 42-0 and Gardner said he covered Wilson in the fourth quarter.

Gardner said he’s looking forward to them competing this summer.

“I’d say really competitive,” Gardner said when asked what those matchups are going to be like. “At the end of the day we have the same goal, to win, but we will make sure we fight. Iron sharpens iron. We will just keep making each other better.”

Wilson agreed.

“He will make me do my best,” he said. “I’ll try to get him to do his best. This creates greatness. We’ll try to get that out of each other.” First-round draft picks enjoy a chance to flip jets


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