Jets rookie WR Garrett Wilson walked away with the league's Offensive Rookie of the Year Award Thursday night at the the NFL Honors ceremony at Symphony Hall in Phoenix.
Wilson, the No. 10 overall pick, is the first Jets rookie (since the NFL-AFL merger) to win the award and the team's only rookie on offense to even receive a vote since 1996.
"This means everything," Wilson said. "This is something that no one can ever take from me. You put in a lot of work to end up in this one and to see it come to fruition is awesome. Also to hear Sauce [Gardner's] name come shortly after is special. No one can take this from us, no one can take this from the organization, the fans. It's something special, for sure."
The Jets' quick, sure-handed and slithery wide receiver had himself an impressive rookie season. Seventeen games, playing with four quarterbacks, Wilson had 83 receptions and 1,103 yards, which were both rookie franchise records and paced all rookies. His 4 touchdowns tied for first among first-year players.
The Ohio State product had three 100-yard games (another franchise rookie record) and surpassed 90 yards in six games. In addition, according to Pro Football Focus, Wilson forced 22 missed tackles, second in the league, and forced those missed tackles after 26.5% of his receptions.
"For me, [the award] wasn't really a thought that crossed my mind," Wilson said. "I figured if we were playing good ball, it would happen and I would be in a good spot. I'm just excited to be here."
In his second game as a professional, the Ohio State product broke out in the Jets' thrilling come-from-behind victory at Cleveland. After his first game -- against Baltimore when he had 4 receptions -- Wilson grabbed 8 passes from QB Joe Flacco for 102 yards and 2 TDs. The second was a 15-yard scoring toss with 22 seconds to play that capped the Green & White's furious 14-point rally in the game's final 82 seconds.
That was among his favorite moments of his rookie season.
"The Browns game was my favorite," Wilson said. "It gave my confidence a boost and it was a great win back in my home state. Something I'll never forget. Then beating the Bills, I felt we're going to be alright, we're going to be a good team and we are a good team. Those are two that stick out to me."
Wilson, who was named Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Week four times this past season, edged out San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy (Mr. Irrelevant in last year's NFL Draft) and Seattle running back Kenneth Walker (who rushed for more than 1,000 yards). RB Breece Hall would have likely been in the conversation had his season not ended after seven games because of a torn ACL sustained in Week 7 at Denver. Wilson believes Hall, who was on pace for more than 1,600 scrimmage yards before his injury, would have won the award if he stayed healthy.
"It wouldn't have been any competing, it would've been a runaway with Breece winning it," Wilson said. "It's special. We feel like our best days are ahead of us as an organization, as young guys. We're trying to change the culture. Awards are cool and all, but we want to start winning games. We're going to start winning games here soon. Obviously it's awesome to get recognized for the work you put in on the field, but these are going to turn into wins at some point."
Minutes after Wilson won the award, fellow rookie teammate CB Sauce Gardner was named AP Defensive Rookie of the Year. It marks the third time in NFL history a team has won both awards (1967 Lions and 2017 Saints).
"Congratulations Sauce and Garrett for being APs defensive and offensive rookies of the year," Chairman and CEO Woody Johnson said. "This is an absolutely tremendous individual accomplishment but to do it on offense and defense is almost unprecedented. Both of you are an inspiration to your teammates, your coaches and we, your fans. Congratulations men and Go Jets!"
See the Jets rookie's journey from draft night to becoming the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.