The Jets had a rookie class for the ages in 2022. Expectations were high for the two players they selected in the top ten of the 2022 NFL Draft. To say they met those expectations would be an understatement.
Garrett Wilson has been named the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Meanwhile Sauce Gardner has been named the Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Wilson had a big performance in the Jets’ Week 2 win over the Browns, posting 8 catches for 102 yards, and 2 touchdowns. He was quiet over the next month as the Jets’ offense shifted to the run game. After Breece Hall suffered an season ending knee injury, Wilson emerged as the go to guy. He ended 2022 with 83 catches for 1,103 yards, and 4 touchdowns.
Gardner wasn’t just the best rookie on defense. He established himself as one of the league’s elite cornerbacks, earning a First Team All Pro selection as a rookie. Sometimes it takes a cornerback a while to develop a reputation. Darrelle Revis didn’t get his first All Pro nod until his third season. It has been striking to see Sauce get so much respect so soon. Interceptions aside, cornerback typically isn't a spot where a player can generate attention grabbing stats. Gardner is only the fifth cornerback in the last forty years to win this award. It is a testament to how quickly his reputation has spread.
Gardner and Wilson are only the third pair of teammates to ever sweep the Rookie of the Year awards. They join Mel Farr and Lem Barney of the 1967 Lions and Alvin Kamara and Marhson Lattimore of the 2017 Saints.
The 2022 season had a rough ending for the Jets as the team lost its final six games to miss the Playoffs. It is easy to feel negative about the franchise’s direction, but these awards are a reminder that there are signs things are moving in the right direction.