The Jets have selected Florida State DE Jermaine Johnson with the No. 26 overall pick.
Johnson (6-4, 254) played at three schools in five seasons, wrapping up at Florida State in 2021. He was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, leading the conference with 12 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss to go with 2 forced fumbles and 2 pass defenses.
"I'm the best edge rusher in this draft because I do everything exceptionally well," Johnson said at the NFL Combine. "I play the run as well as I play the pass. Nobody in this class does that like I do."
His stock has consistently risen since the first Senior Bowl practice. After standing out in a couple workouts in front of NFL scouts, Johnson departed Mobile, AL having cemented his status as one of the draft's premier talents.
"I think NFL personnel wanted to see me do it against elite competition and I went into it with a chip on my shoulder and showed I can do it against the best of the best," he said at Florida State's pro day. "I look forward to doing it at the next level as well."
Johnson, who is from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, began his college career at Independence Community College and was featured on the Netflix series 'Last Chance U' where he became the No. 1 JUCO recruiting class and committed to Georgia.
In two seasons with the Bulldogs, he had 36 tackles, 6.5 sacks and 1 pass defense in 24 games (four starts). He was a part of a rotation in Georgia and averaged 27.0 snaps per game in 2020 compared to 61.3 with FSU in 2021.
"Johnson is a long, athletic edge defender with the quick feet and natural instincts to win as a pass rusher and make stops vs. the run," Dane Brugler of The Athetlic wrote. "Although he can be too segmented and upright in his rush attack, his motor runs hot and his swipe/rip/stab moves are angry."
Johnson becomes the highest defensive player that Joe Douglas has drafted in his tenure general manager of the New York Jets and the second pass rusher to join the room this offseason (Jacob Martin, free agency).
Johnson is the ninth FSU player drafted by the Jets all-time and the second in Round 1. The first was Marvin Jones, who was taken fourth overall in 1993 and went on to log 129 starts and 142 games played at middle/inside LB. Other notable Seminoles drafted by the Green & White: CB Bobby Jackson in the sixth round (140th overall) in 1978, WR Laveranues Coles in Round 3 (78th) in 2000, and RB/KR Leon Washington, now the Jets' assistant special teams coach, in the fourth round (117th) in 2006. Current Jets LB Hamsah Nasirildeen also was a Florida Stater before coming to the Jets in Round 6 last year.
The most recent Jets first-rounders who might qualify as edge rushers were Bryan Thomas from UAB in '02 and Hugh Douglas out of Central State in '95. But the top edge was John Abraham, who arrived 13th overall out of South Carolina in the 2000 "Four Aces Draft" and proceeded to rack up 53.5 sacks in his six Jets seasons.