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Jermaine Johnson: Jets 'Said They'd Come Get Me and That's What They Did'

FSU Edge Rusher and Team Hit It Off During Predraft Visit, Then Reunited with 26th Pick of the Draft

Florida State linebacker Jermaine Johnson II is selected by the New York Jets during the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 28, 2022 in Las Vegas. (Ben Liebenberg/NFL)

Sometimes in the NFL, the best-laid plans and best of intentions get blasted to smithereens. And sometimes they get realized as if they were written across the heavens.

The story of the reunion of Jermaine Johnson and the Jets at the 26th pick of the first round of the NFL Draft is of the heavenly variety.

"It feels amazing, man. The journey was so long and hard, but it was so rewarding at the same time," Johnson said in his first interview with the team's reporters. "And to be able to be selected in the first round, and by the Jets, I'm so excited. When I visited with the Jets, it was a family feel. We clicked instantly. They said they'd come and get me and that's what they did."

In fact, that's what head coach Robert Saleh reminded the young edge rusher coming off of one fantastic season at Florida State when they talked after the Jets traded up into the first round and tabbed Johnson at No. 26.

"What'd I tell you when you left my office?" Johnson said Saleh reminded him when they talked after the selection Thursday night.

"That you guys would come and get me."

"And I didn't lie. We came and got you. We've been trying to get you all night."

That was true and one reason this story turned from dream into reality for player and team. After taking WR Garrett Wilson at 10, the Jets didn't have their next pick until 35, at the start of day two of the draft.

"We were very surprised he was there in the late 20s," general manager Joe Douglas said of Johnson's short slide from one half of Round 1 to the other. "Coach and I got together and said let's start getting him, probably around 15, let's start trying to make a move to get him."

And that entailed calling how many teams for a fair trade?

"All of them," Douglas said. Every team from 15 to 26? "Yes."

Finally, the Jets and Tennessee swung the deal. The Jets sent their 35th, 69th and 163rd picks to the Titans and got 26 and 101 in return. And Johnson's fairytale story continues.

Johnson never doubted it would get done, that he would return to the team that made him feel like he was among family.

"It was just how they made me feel I was wanted," he said of that predraft visit. "How we felt about the game, about defense, how it's supposed to be played. Everything was clicking. ... It was like everyone had the same idea of me, and it's just awesome to be in an organization like that.

"I'm strong in my faith, I'm a religious man. I knew I was going to be where I was supposed to be. Sure enough, I'm with the Jets now and I'm where I'm supposed to be."

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