The Jets dominated the night at the NFL Honors on Thursday night.
The team had rookies Sauce Gardner and Garrett Wilson win the Defensive Rookie of the Year and the Offensive Rookie of the Year, respectively. It capped off two incredible years for the top two picks in the Jets’ 2022 draft class.
Wilson also named a Pro Bowl alternate, had 1,103 yards, 83 receptions, and four touchdowns in his first season with the Jets. He also had forced 22 missed tackles and, according to PFF, 14 contested catches and a 91.5 passer rating when targeted. Wilson was able to post these numbers while dealing with the Jets’ fluid quarterback situation, which included Zach Wilson, Mike White, Joe Flacco, and Chris Streveler all seeing time at one point or another.
Gardner, who also was a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro selection, had 20 passes defended, 75 total tackles, and two interceptions (see full stats). According to PFF, he also had a 53.9 QB rating when targeted and a 90.0 coverage grade, ranking first out of all cornerbacks.
With both Jets’ rookies winning the awards, it was only the third time in NFL history that one team had won the DROY and the OROY in the same year. The other two occasions were in 2017 and 1967; Marshon Lattimore and Alvin Kamara won the awards for the Saints in 2017, while Lem Barney and Mel Farr won the award for the Lions in 1967.
The Jets Dominated the Night at NFL Honors
Gardner said that he always imagined himself having these types of accolades.
“I feel like it’s a huge reason why I’m so confident, is because of my imagination. I always pictured myself doing these amazing things, and these things are not easily achievable. And, you know, it always ends up happening.”
Wilson also spoke about winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year and what the award means to him.
“Those were great candidates, and you know, even if I didn’t win, I felt blessed just to be nominated and to be there in the presence of all that greatness. It’s just something I’ll never forget, something that no one can take from me, or take from us, and, just really a special night for me.”
Gardner and Wilson winning their awards was only the start of the night for the Jets, as legends Joe Klecko and Darrelle Revis got inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
It was a long time coming for Klecko, who retired from the NFL following the 1988 season. Klecko was a significant part of the New York Sack Exchange, one of the best defensive line units in the Jets’ history. He was a Pro Bowler three separate times and was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1983.
Revis, who is now a first-ballot Hall of Famer, was named to seven Pro Bowls throughout his career. He was also first-team All-Pro four times, named to the 2010s All-Decade team, and owns the Jets’ all-time record for pass defense at 112.
The night, which solidified two Jets’ legends in NFL history and honored two current Jets superstars, is something that fans hope indicates more things to come. Revis said on Thursday night that they were “just excited” and that “the sky’s the limit” for the future players on the Jets.
With a pivotal off-season upcoming, including who will be the starting quarterback, the Jets will be looking to build off their successes in 2022. Outside of Gardner and Wilson, the Jets have other exciting young players, such as Quinnen Williams, Breece Hall, and Alijah Vera-Tucker. If Revis is to be believed and Thursday night was a sign of things to come for the Jets, then an exciting new era of Jets football may be underway. Time will tell, but the team’s dominance at NFL Honors is a great step in the right direction.