Jets DT Quinnen Williams and rookie CB Sauce Gardner have been named to The Associated Press NFL first-team All-Pro.
Williams, in his fourth professional season, is the first Jets defensive lineman named to the first team since DE John Abraham in 2001. Williams started 16 games and enjoyed a breakout season, registering a career-high 12 sacks. His sacks were 11th-most in the league, second-most among interior linemen and tied for seventh-most in a Jets season since 1982.
"I think it was a cool year," Williams said after the season. "Just full of excitement, fun, and getting to where I want to be, confident, where I want to be in my career in general and taking the next steps to become the player I want to be."
In addition to his QB takedowns, Williams also set career bests in pressures (31), QB hits (28) and tackles for loss (12) en route to his first Pro Bowl nod. The 28 QB hits tied for fourth-most in the league and tied the team record set by Muhammed Wilkerson in 2015.
DC Jeff Ulbrich said: "I think really, right now, he's probably playing as dominant as any defensive player, not just defensive linemen, in this league."
Before the season, Gardner made an All-Pro selection one of his three goals along with a Pro Bowl nod, which he earned, and Defensive Rookie of the Year, which he remains a frontrunner for.
Sauce is the first Green & White CB since Darrelle Revis in 2011 and the only Jets rookie in franchise history to make the first team. Additionally, he is the first rookie CB named to the first-team since Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott in 1981.
Gardner, the No. 4 selection in last April's NFL Draft, led the league with 20 pass defenses and added 2 interceptions, 3 TFLs and 75 tackles.
The Cincinnati product also had a knack for the big play. In the Jets 20-17 win against the Bills in Week 9, Gardner intercepted QB Josh Allen and returned it to the Buffalo 35-yard line to set up a go-ahead touchdown. And in the Green & White's 40-17 victory against the Dolphins in Week 5, Gardner blitzed and forced QB Teddy Bridgewater into an intentional grounding penalty that resulted in a safety on Miami's first offensive snap.
"Just the level in which he played, and the consistency that he's played with as a rookie has been, I don't know if I've ever seen it before," Ulbrich said of Gardner. "And to think that he hasn't even scratched the surface of where he can go is really cool for his future."
The Jets defense went from dead-last in scoring and total defense in the 2021 season to fourth in each statistical category. The Jets are the first team in the Super Bowl era to rank in the top 10 in both categories after a last-place finish the season before and Gardner and Williams played large roles in the historical jump.
"I'm just thankful to everybody on my team," Williams said. "Everybody in the organization, because if it weren't for those guys, I would be nothing."
Gardner added: "Just being able to build a strong brotherhood, my teammates, I know it's going to last a lifetime. That's the main thing. I knew I wanted to be here. I didn't know what teammates I was going to have, but I feel like I'm around the right group of guys."
The pair are the first Jets defenders since S Jamal Adams in 2019 to be selected to the first team. And 2022 marks the first-time multiple Jets made the top team in the same season since C Nick Mangold and CB Revis in 2009 and 2010.
LB C.J. Mosley, additionally, was selected to the second-team for the fifth time in his career and first time with the Jets. Mosley amassed 158 tackles this season, which was the ninth-most in the NFL and second-most of his career.
See some of the best images of the first-team All-Pro selections for the 2022 Jets season.