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Sauce Gardner, Breece Hall Projected as Immediate Rookie Performers by The Athletic

Jets GM Joe Douglas Drafted Former Cincinnati CB No. 4 Overall, Iowa State RB No. 36

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Dane Brugler, Diante Lee and Nate Tice of The Athletic recently wrote an article answering a number of questions about the 2022 rookies, and Lee and Brugler have high expectations for the Jets' newest players.

Lee believes RB Breece Hall, the Green & White's second-round pick, will have the biggest immediate impact on offense among all NFL rookies.

"Like Dane, my first consideration was an offensive lineman," Lee wrote. "I'm comfortable predicting the blockers at the top of the 2022 draft will all be plus-starters before the end of their rookie deals. But I'll throw a little curveball here: Running back Breece Hall fits perfectly into Mike LaFleur's offense with the New York Jets, which finished 15th in rushing DVOA last season. Hall can create explosive gains in this outside zone scheme and leave the tough yardage for Michael Carter, a similar stylistic combo to Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman for Kyle Shanahan and the 2016 Falcons. Just like that pair, Hall and Carter are also reliable threats as receivers out of the backfield."

Freeman and Coleman, who enters his second year with the Jets, combined for 1,599 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns in 2016 with 85 receptions, 883 receiving yards and 5 receiving scores.

Hall was a consensus first-team All-America and Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year in 2020 and 2021, rushing for 3,044 yards and 41 touchdowns. He also had 59 receptions, 482 yards and 5 TDs. He left the Cyclones owning 11 school records and set an FBS record with a rushing touchdown in 24 consecutive games. He joins a room that that includes Carter (639 rushing yards, 4 TD in 2020), Coleman, Ty Johnson, La'Mical Perine and Zonovan Knight.

Brugler, on the defensive side, thinks Ahmad "Sauce Gardner," the No. 4 overall pick, will have the biggest immediate impact.

"The first five picks in the draft were on the defensive side of the ball, so there are several logical choices here," he wrote. "I'm going with corner Sauce Gardner, who should step in as an outside starter for the Jets from Day 1. College offenses stayed away from his side of the field last season, but it will be the opposite in the NFL as teams look to attack the rookie on an island. And in a division with stud receivers such as Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill, the Jets will need Gardner to be the playmaker they believe he is."

A three-year starter at Cincinnati, Gardner was a consensus All-America in 2021 as he saw only 11% of the Bearcats' defensive targets and allowed only 13 catches for 117, and no TDs.

"I fit great," Gardner said. "However they want to use me, I'm willing to be versatile, I'm willing to do whatever it takes to win. They want to play zone, they want to play man, they want to blitz me, they want to put me at linebacker — I don't think that's going to happen, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes; however they want to use me."

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