NFL Rumors: Teams Praise Jets for Draft Picks and 'Jealous' Colts Got WR Alec PierceMay 1, 2022
The New York Jets ended up with three first-round picks in the 2022 NFL draft and made it count, earning praise from around the NFL.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler discussed the reaction from other teams on the Jets' draft during Sunday's SportsCenter:
"The New York Jets are getting some unusual love. They usually don't get praise around the league, but I talked to execs who said they had a strong draft. And to be sure, they said they had to, right? If you're picking first, second, there's a lot in the top 10, four picks in the top 38 overall, that's because you've been having bad seasons, which the Jets have had winning four to five games a year. But they capitalized on those picks. Jermaine Johnson, the guy they got 26th overall, was widely considered by some scouts as sort of a top-15 player. And then you go and get Breece Hall, he's in that top 15-to-20 overall pool, and they got him early in the second round in a trade up. So a really strong performance from the Jets."
New York drafted cornerback Ahmad Gardner, receiver Garrett Wilson and edge-rusher Jermaine Johnson in the first round before grabbing Breece Hall in the second as the top running back off the board.
Wilson, Hall and third-round tight end Jeremy Ruckert give Zach Wilson a variety of weapons heading into his second year after a disappointing rookie campaign. The 2021 No. 2 overall pick had just nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 13 starts, but the quarterback should have few excuses with some explosive talent around him.
With Gardner and Johnson potentially upgrading a defense that finished dead last in both points and yards allowed last year, the Jets seemingly took a big step toward ending the 11-year playoff drought.
While New York did benefit from having four of the top 40 picks, other teams fared well without any top selections. The Indianapolis Colts were among those that earned praise after the draft, per Fowler:
"Teams like what the Indianapolis Colts did because they didn't have a first-round pick and they got a bunch of needs filled with some really good players. I talked to some teams that were in the receiver market and were sort of jealous that they got Cincinnati wideout Alec Pierce in the second round, he's going to be a big-time player."
Alec Pierce was the 21st pick in the second round and the 12th receiver taken in the draft, but he could end up being a steal. The 6'3" wideout led Cincinnati with 52 catches for 884 yards and eight touchdowns last season and should quickly transition as an exciting downfield threat for the Colts and new quarterback Matt Ryan.
Indianapolis also drafted Bernhard Raimann in the third round, a player rated by Bleacher Report's Scouting Department as the 28th overall player in the class and fourth-best offensive tackle, ahead of eventual first-round picks Trevor Penning and Tyler Smith.
Safety Nick Cross could also be an early contributor for a team that is trying to rebuild its secondary this offseason.