The Jets have signed pass rusher Jermaine Johnson out of Florida State, the team's third of three first-round picks (No. 26 overall) of the NFL Draft.
Johnson (6-4, 254) played at three schools in five seasons, wrapping up at Florida State in 2021. He started at Independence Community College for two seasons before transferring to Georgia for a pair and Florida State for one. He was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2021, leading the conference with 12 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss to go with 2 forced fumbles and 2 pass defenses.
"It wasn't a clean-cut, cookie-cutter way to get here, but I wouldn't want it any other way because it truly created the man that's seated in front of you," Johnson said. "I embrace it all. That is the real blessing. People talk about blessings being materialistic things, the real blessing is the journey for me and who I ended up becoming out of that. I couldn't be more excited to go on the path that I went on."
Head coach Robert Saleh said of Johnson: "Big, long, explosive. He's got great athleticism, violence to his game. He's very smart. He's probably the most pro ready of all the pass rushers this year in terms of having a repertoire to his game and something we can add to. Really a perfect fit for what we do defensively with our wide-nine system, putting him on an edge, getting him firing off the ball and attacking. Really going to be a great complement to the group that we already have."
For the second year in a row, general manager Joe Douglas traded up nine slots to select a lineman. He went from 23 to 14 to draft Alijah Vera-Tucker in 2021 and this year he moved up from 35 to 26 to select Johnson. Douglas called every team from picks 15 to 26 before making Johnson a member of the Green & White.
"This was my first pick and I know how these guys feel about me in the building," Johnson said at his introductory press conference. "To hear they were trying to trade for me since pick 15 all the way until 26, it means the world. I know I'm wanted and I'm loved. Everyone makes me feel that way. I'm excited. It makes it that much easier to have me give everything I can to this organization."
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.