The New York Jets had three first-round draft choices this past April. It is easy to lose track of who is doing what in training camp, especially since there are still 90-man rosters in the first week of August.
However one of those premium selections is already making a name for himself during the dog days of summer.
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Turning Some Heads
There were rumors that the Jets were considering taking JJ with either the No. 4 or No. 10 overall picks, so when he was still available in the backend of the first round the Jets brass was flabbergasted.
Coming out of FSU, Johnson was described by NFL dot com’s Lance Zierlein as an “explosive playmaker” that has all the tools to be special at the next level.
It was a nerve-wracking couple of hours when general manager Joe Douglas got the green light from ownership to try and move up to secure the former Florida State pass rusher.
Ultimately Douglas found the right deal and Gang Green secured a top-10 player on their board with the No. 26 overall pick.
Our very own Senior NFL Reporter for Heavy, Matt Lombardo, said the Jets have a chance to join the NFL’s elite:
“The Jets sneakily have the chance to be one of the premier front-four pass-rushes in the league.”
To accomplish that they’ll need some juice from Johnson as a rookie.
“I liked him a lot as a player coming out,” an NFC scout told Heavy via Lombardo. “He has a ton of talent, a ton of speed, and the ability to bend the edge. The Jets got a good one.”
Still a Long Way to Go
The 23-year-old had a unique path to the NFL and he will have to explore a similarly difficult path to playing time on the Jets.
Gang Green’s defensive line room is loaded and with that Johnson won’t have to be an immediate contributor. He has shown some sizzle during practice but head coach Robert Saleh said he still has a long way to go.
Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic agreed with that assessment based on Saleh’s comments saying Johnson “still [has] a lot to improve on” before they’re ready to hand him the keys of the franchise.
For now, he is going to be utilized situationally this season.
One of Johnson’s calling cards from college that should help him contribute immediately is his run-stuffing talents. That should get him on the field for the early downs and if he can prove capable in that department he will add in pass rushing duties on his plate.
Johnson was a one-year wonder in college with insane production in the ACC after transferring away from Georgia. What will his encore look like in 2022? That is anyone’s guess, but with an attacking-style defense and plenty of talent around him, Johnson will be in a great position to make some big plays this season.