The biggest mystery man following the 2022 NFL draft was Texas A&M pass rusher, Micheal Clemons.
He was the final selection by the New York Jets and had a varied background as an older player with some off-the-field concerns.
However, his all-business approach and intensity he brought to the gridiron intrigued a lot of fans ahead of the preseason opener. The talented defender delivered on the excitement in more ways than one during his debut.
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Turned Some Heads
Everyone loves talking about the starters and high draft picks but the players that get the most playing time are the depth pieces and lower draft picks in preseason football.
Clemons ended up getting 30 snaps against the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday and he certainly made the most of them.
Michael Nania of Jets X-Factor credited him with “plowing anything in sight” and whether it was as a pass rusher or in run support he was “impactful.”
Jack Stollow did a very nice job putting together a thread of Clemons reps to show how impressive he was on a play-to-play basis.
The overall numbers Clemons put up were jarring (via The Jet Press):
- 7 total pressures
- Five quarterback hurries
- First sack of his career
- A quarterback hit
- Impressive 78.7 pass rush grade from Pro Football Focus
Those seven pressures by Clemons led the entire Jets defense according to PFF.
On his first sack which came early in the third quarter, Clemons threw the left tackle aside and quickly cleaned the quarterback up in the backfield.
Dennis Waszak Jr of the Associated Press said the talented defender displayed some “serious pass rushing speed/power” during the game.
Larger Piece of the Pie Coming
Although the most impressive play I saw from Clemons didn’t make any highlight show but was so impressive that I stood out of my chair and audibly gasped.
It was the final play of the game. There were three seconds left on the clock with the Jets up three points in a 24-21 game from the Eagles’ own 30-yard line.
Clemons was lined up as an inside rusher with four defenders up front. He exploded off the ball and threw the left guard into the backfield. Clemons then shed that player aside as the quarterback escaped to his left trying to find somewhere to throw the ball.
Clemons started chasing him down like a madman and nearly came down with a sack. As it was he forced the Eagles quarterback to dump it off over the middle and the game was over.
Clemons’ raw power, his continued pursuit of the quarterback, and his tools just wowed me.
Head coach Robert Saleh has been pleasantly surprised with what they have been able to get out of Clemons. The ability to play anywhere in the front and impressive play early on is earning brownie points with the coaching staff.
The defensive line is deep with the Jets, however, he is giving the coaching staff no choice. He is going to continue to earn reps in that rotation with the way he has played and this could prove to be one of the best steals of the 2022 NFL draft when everything is all said and done.