On day one of the 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Jets stole the show. The additions of cornerback Ahmad Gardner, wide receiver Garrett Wilson, and defensive end Jermaine Johnson added some of the biggest talents in the entire class to the roster. On days two and three, General Manager Joe Douglas and the draft room doubled down on value selections, while addressing multiple needs too.
New York Jets Finish 2022 NFL Draft Early and Confident
Second Round (36th Overall) – Running Back Breece Hall
In round two, the Jets entered the night with the 38th overall pick, having dealt 35th overall in the trade-up for Jermaine Johnson. But that didn’t stop the Jets from jumping back up to 36th overall, parting with one day three pick, to get their guy.
Iowa State running back Breece Hall has been one of the best rushers in college football for the past three years. In 36 career games, Hall rushed for 3,941 yards, 50 touchdowns, and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. Not only did he break onto the scene as a freshman, but he only got better each year. Also a productive pass catcher, Hall has 82 collegiate receptions to his name, providing a receiving option out of the backfield.
What is the most exciting part about this selection is the potential pairing with second-year running back Michael Carter. Hall, who is 5’11” and 217-pounds gives New York that big bruiser to complement the smaller Carter’s shiftiness. In forming a one-two tandem out of the backfield with the two, the heavy workload Hall saw at Iowa State is not a concern. If anything, it will allow him to further thrive in offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s committee backfield.
Now, there remains the long-lasting debate about drafting running backs early. Especially in a 2022 NFL Draft class that did not have many worth an early-round selection. However, Hall is one of the backs that were worth it. A surprise trade-up brings him to Florham Park, in a move that will drastically improve New York’s run game.
Third Round (101st Overall) – Tight End Jeremy Ruckert
In free agency, the Jets went out and signed tight ends C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin to multi-year deals. The move not only added two starting-caliber players but did so at a position that has been without a playmaker for a decade. Therefore, seeing another high-upside tight end being added to the room is icing on the cake.
On a loaded Ohio State offense, Jeremy Ruckert didn’t steal the show in the passing game. Playing with 2022 first-round receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, there were limited receptions left to go around. So, Ruckert instead became a sound blocker, while maintaining the frame and hands that make him such an intriguing prospect. A big, physical tight end, Ruckert is capable of developing into a good starting tight end one day.
For now, Ruckert will be the third-string tight end behind Uzomah and Conklin. Therefore, buying him time to develop and truly become the receiving threat he has the potential to become. It is early, but on paper, this is the Jets deepest tight end group in well over a decade.
Fourth Round (111th Overall) – Offensive Tackle Max Mitchell
Coming into the draft, it seemed likely Gang Green would add a developmental tackle. Whether that came on day one, two, or three was the lone question that remained. As of Saturday, the answer became clear. Louisiana-Lafayette offensive tackle Max Mitchell was drafted 111th overall by the Jets, in what is a perfect fit for both sides.
Standing at 6’6″ and 307-pounds, Mitchell has a ways to go towards bulking up to face stronger defensive ends in the NFL. He may not be the best of athletes, but once his footwork and balance improve, his physicality and versatility will excel in the Jets zone-run-oriented offense.
As for the Jets, their tackle position just got stronger. Fant played at a high-level last year, and Becton will hopefully be back healthy. But Mitchell gives them insurance in case of injury, as well as a swing tackle. Capable of playing both right and left tackle, Mitchell will find playing time as a rookie as he is brought along in the NFL.
Fourth Round (117th Overall) – Defensive End Micheal Clemons
With their final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Jets added even both depth along their defensive front. Texas A&M defensive end Micheal Clemons is not one of the flashy names at the position in the class, but one who will be a rotation player early on. In going back to A&M for a fifth year, Clemons got the opportunity to stay healthy and grow as a rusher. He flashed a very high motor and the toughness necessary to be a productive player in the pros.
Michael Clemons will be able to come in and earn reps early in what is a deep rotation used by defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich. Yet, Clemons does come with a limited ceiling. Despite having an NFL-ready frame and the length any defense wants, he plays with so-so bend and fluidity around the edge. Clemons will win with the Jets with his power and adds another big lineman to an improved Jets front.
As a matter of fact, Micheal Clemons is the earliest last pick in franchise history. New York had never had their final selection in the fourth round or earlier, making this year’s quick exit something never before seen by the fan base.
New York Jets Confident in 2022 Draft Class
In the press conference, Douglas stated “I feel like we’re a better team now than we were going into this weekend.” Certainly, that is true… for now. The Jets added arguably the top cornerback, receiver, and running back, one of the best defensive ends, a high-upside tight end, an offensive tackle, and a solid rotational defensive end. Douglas and company sought out this off-season to improve their weapons on offense and their defense. Having done exactly that, it is only a matter of time until training camp begins…
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