Jets general manager Joe Douglas was stunned when he saw defensive end Jermaine Johnson II fall in the first round of the NFL Draft last Thursday and he jumped at the chance to land one of the players the highest rated on his team.
After coming back in the first round, the Jets drafted Johnson, the Florida State defensive end, 26th overall.
“Picks 4 and 10 were perfect, and then Jermaine was like this Christmas present that’s not like home,” Douglas said during an interview on The Post’s Jets “Gang’s All Here” podcast. “That special four-wheeler or something your dad bought for you that’s in the driveway. This is the supplement you had no idea was coming. It was a very chilly Thursday evening.
Douglas received a lot of praise for his draft, in which he landed three first-round picks after trading for Johnson. He drafted cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner with the fourth overall pick and took wide receiver Garrett Wilson 10th overall. After taking Wilson, Douglas didn’t think the Jets would also land Johnson.
“Those three D ends went real early, right?” Douglas said of Travon Walker, Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux. “So you expect Jermaine to leave before we pick at 10 or soon after. So we celebrate after Garrett and everybody claps hands, kisses. Then we come to a point probably around 13, 14 you sort of lose track of what’s going on for a few minutes and then [head coach] Robert [Saleh] taps me on the shoulder, ‘Hey man, let’s get Jermaine. It is always available. He is still outside.
“Then the calls started around 3 p.m. We are working on the phone lines. There’s a lot of emotion because with every ‘no’ you hang up the phone and you’re like ‘this is where it’s going’. This happened several times. In the end, we were able to do it with Tennessee and get Jermaine here.
Douglas built the roster this offseason to help second-year quarterback Zach Wilson and said he thinks the Jets have given Wilson a strong supporting cast.
“I’m absolutely encouraged, I feel really good to know where Zach is at in his Year 2 progress,” Douglas said. “I feel good that he shouldn’t be in the first- or second-year quarterback position that he feels like he has to carry the team. I think with the pieces that we’ve added around him, the offensive line in front of him, the addition of assists at the short end, the addition of pieces at the wide receiver, the addition of pieces at the backfield , building a good depth around it.
“Hey, you just gotta play like you did at the end of last year. Just run the offense, play in yourself. It’s our job to put good people around you and they have to do their job.
New York Post