Early in the second round, the Jets drafted former Iowa State running back Breece Hall with the 36th overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, making Hall the first running back to come off the board for the year. Despite the annual debate over whether or not it’s worth it to use a first-round pick on a running back, this marked the first Draft since 2014 that a running back did not get selected in the first round.
It was almost a continuation of the 7-year trend, though. According to Rich Cimini of ESPN, New York was so high on Hall that they attempted to trade back into the bottom of the first round to draft him. Whether they just wanted to be extra sure Hall became a Jet or whether they sought to add a fifth-year option to his rookie contract is unclear at the time.
If New York had succeeded in this endeavor, it would’ve been the first time that an NFL team had used four first-round selections since the Jets, themselves, did it in the 2000 NFL Draft. The 2000 Draft saw the Jets select future-Pro Bowl defensive ends Shaun Ellis and John Abraham back-to-back at No. 12 & 13 overall. Five picks later, New York selected quarterback Chad Pennington, who would become their starter two years later and take them to the playoffs three times. Lastly, they drafted tight end Anthony Becht who became a red-zone threat throughout his tenure in New York.
The Jets are certainly hoping to get the same, if not better, success out of this year’s class. With two top-ten picks in cornerback Ahmad Gardner and wide receiver Garrett Wilson, in addition to No. 26 overall pick defensive end Jermaine Johnson II and Hall at No. 36 overall, New York has added key pieces to positions of need.
Stacked up with last year’s high value picks of quarterback Zach Wilson, guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, and wide receiver Elijah Moore, the Jets are looking to build draft success into success on the gridiron, something they haven’t seen since their last winning season in 2015, a year in which they still failed to qualify for the postseason. They will look to end the NFL’s longest active playoff drought and make the playoffs for the first time since the 2010 NFL season.