Jets’ draft picks easier, but expect impact
FLORHAM PARK, NJ
Robert Saleh refuses to pressure New York Jets draft picks.
Now is not the time for that.
It’s the start of rookie minicamp, with the Jets getting a first look at their newest players.
“I don’t expect anything from guys except to just get on the pitch and do your best,” Saleh said on Friday. “I know it’s cliché, but it’s the truth. Rookies and all these guys, they cook on their own. You know, they evolve and they become impact players at different rates everywhere.
But expectations are most certainly different for the seven players drafted by the Jets last week — and they know it. Cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, wide receiver Garrett Wilson, running back Breece Hall, and defensive ends Jermaine Johnson and Micheal Clemons, in particular, could all play big roles for the franchise — immediately and for years to come. coming.
“I can’t wait to see the impact we have on the team,” said Gardner, Cincinnati’s No. 4 overall pick.
And neither do Jets fans.
Last year’s draft class was highlighted by quarterback Zach Wilson, and the focus will remain on him through the regular season. But this year’s draft could be what will help the Jets end an 11-year playoff drought — and maybe even this season.
Gardner was on the Jets’ wishlist to bolster a secondary that includes veteran DJ Reed, with the two projected as No. 1 type cornerbacks. The former Cincinnati star arrives in the NFL with an impressive resume, which includes never giving up a touchdown in college. Gardner will struggle to continue that streak in the pros, but he’s up for the challenge.
“I think I can have a good impact,” Gardner said. “I just arrived and I know I have vets there and I’m like a sponge. So, I just want to absorb as much information as possible from these guys.
Garrett Wilson was No. 10 overall at Ohio State and should give his young QB a deep threat.
Adding Hall to the offense could also be a major factor due to his top speed and elusiveness. Iowa State’s second-rounder was the first running back drafted this year, and he should complement Michael Carter in a versatile backfield.
“I feel like he’s a type of player, I’m an impact player,” Hall said. “So I feel like I could come in and if I do the right things and on my P’s and Q’s then I’ll be able to have a big impact and help this team a lot.”
Johnson was Florida State’s 26th overall pick, while Clemons went in the fourth round from Texas A&M. Both are well aware of the Jets’ long-standing search for a consistent pass thrower. And Clemons is convinced they found some.
“I plan to make an impact, whatever the story,” Clemons said.
The Jets also have big plans for tight end Jeremy Ruckert, a third-rounder from Ohio State who doesn’t need to be the lead producer in that role after New York signed CJ Uzomah and Tyler Conklin in free agency. Ditto for Max Mitchell, a Louisiana-Lafayette offensive lineman who was taken in the fourth round as a depth piece for now.
But all seven draft picks are in practice. Saleh wants them to gradually improve physically after their turbulent last month leading up to the selection. This approach comes from being an assistant at Jacksonville in 2015, when first-rounder Dante Fowler tore his ACL during his first rookie camp practice.
“It wasn’t worth bringing them in here and hurting them or risking injury,” Saleh said of the Jets’ draft picks. “Let them go to the side, let’s have a great working weekend for them. And it also gives us a better chance of having our eye on the tryout guys rather than the whole organization that’s obsessed with new draft picks.
After all, there will be plenty of time for this. And the whole franchise – and their fans – will soon be watching.
NOTES: OL Greg Van Roten was released, saving the team $3.5 million. The move came a day after the Jets asked OL Nate Herbig to waive Philadelphia. Van Roten played 30 games, including 23 starts, in two seasons. … The Jets signed five undrafted free agents: RB Zonovan Knight (NC State), WRs Keshunn Abram (Kent St.) and Irvin Charles (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), LB DQ Thomas (Middle Tennessee St.) and S Tony Adams (Illinois). … RB Austin Walter, OL Isaiah Williams and S Zane Lewis have been canceled. … The Jets honored the memory of Lazar LaPenna, a 10-year-old from Long Island who died last week after having a seizure during a Little League game. The team has hung a No. 9 jersey with LaPenna’s name on one end of the field and will not assign that number to any player during rookie camp. Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas also wore long-sleeved t-shirts with LaPenna’s name and number during practices. “An absolute tragedy,” Saleh said. … Former Mississippi College DL Gavin Greene, son of the late Pro Football Hall of Famer Kevin Greene, is among several dozen rookie camp players on trial.
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