The Jets’ 2022 campaign didn’t end with a postseason berth, bringing their playoff drought to 12 years. But there was plenty of reason to be optimistic about the future—particularly in the form the team’s most recent first-round picks, cornerback Sauce Gardner and wide receiver Garrett Wilson.
New York hit on both rookies, taking Gardner with the No. 5 pick and drafting Wilson at No. 10. Each was outstanding in his debut season: Wilson had 83 receptions for 1,103 yards with four touchdowns, while Gardner started all 17 games with two interceptions, earning first-team All-Pro honors.
When Wilson was asked which of the pair had the better season, he didn’t hesitate with his response.
“Sauce was All-Pro, so I’ve got to give that up to Sauce,” Wilson told Sports Illustrated’s Lacey Jane Brown on Wednesday. “All-Pro as a rookie, I think he’s the only one to ever do that, isn’t he?”
Wilson wasn’t quite right with his analysis, but he wasn’t far off. Gardner became the first rookie cornerback to be named to first-team All-Pro since Ronnie Lott in 1981.
The Jets have finished in last place in the AFC East in six of the past seven seasons and haven’t posted a winning record since 2015.