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Jets DE Jermaine Johnson Primed for a Sophomore Jump

New York Jets Offseason Workout Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Jermaine Johnson Looking To Take Off in Year Two

Feels more comfortable after an off-season to work on his body

When you share the same draft class as Sauce Gardner and Garrett Wilson, you’re likely going to be out of the spotlight as a rookie first-round pick. But Jermaine Johnson enjoyed a productive campaign with plenty of talent flashes, and now he’s ready to make the jump.

As part of a defensive line rotation last year that utilized a 6-man rotation, Johnson had to make the most of his snaps. He finished the season with 2.5 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss and a marquee moment. That moment was chasing Buffalo Bills star QB down and making a shoestring tackle that prevented a big game. In one play it showed his recognition, speed and tackling ability. Something we’re hoping to see more of this year.

Jermaine has been speaking to the official Jets website and he believes that he’s ready to take off in 2023 having had a full season to acclimatize to the NFL, and a full off-season to work on his body, adding strength:

“I just feel day and night in terms of explosiveness,” Johnson said during OTAs. “Explosiveness, technique, building my body, stuff like that. Just old school, you know. Just in the weight room all the time, eating, making sure I’m good.

“I feel insanely more comfortable for a couple of reasons,” Johnson said. “One, I never did it before at this level last year, so I didn’t really know what to expect. Everything’s moving so fast and now, I had an opportunity to have a proper offseason to build my body to what I want it to be. Last year, I didn’t have that. We’re getting ready for the Combine and whatnot. As a rookie, you’re kind of trying to play catch up in terms of football development, but this offseason has given me a lot of confidence let alone understanding what everyone expects of me this year in the building and wants for me this year in the building.”

Earning Your Playing Time

If you want snaps on this defensive line, you’re going to have to earn them.

The Jets will be returning starters John Franklin-Myers and Carl Lawson in 2023, along with situational pass-rush specialist Bryce Huff, fellow second-year player Micheal Clemons and rookie first-round pick Will McDonald. There are only so many snaps to go around.

There is talk that Micheal Clemons could see more time inside, which would open up snaps for Johnson. There’s also talk that the Jets could be open to moving Bryce Huff for the right price, although that’s purely rumor right now.

Johnson received 312 snaps last season with just 151 of them coming in pas-rush situations. With Carl Lawson’s contract up at the end of this year, it’ll be up to one of the younger players to prove to the Jets they’re ready to take over in 2024.