Sauce Gardner and Garrett Wilson are at the head of the rookie class.
On Tuesday, the Pro Football Writers Association named Gardner the 2022 Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year, while handing Wilson the offensive title.
Gardner, the No. 4 selection in last year’s draft, quickly became a star NFL cornerback after a standout career at Cincinnati. In his first pro season, he started all 17 games for the Jets, defending an NFL-high 20 passes defended. The 22-year-old ranked in the top five among corners in receptions allowed (9), yards allowed (65), passes defensed, completing percentage allowed (34.6 percent) and highest coverage success rate (76.9 percent). He was the only rookie named to the PFWA All-NFL team this season.
Wilson, selected six picks back of Gardner out of Ohio State, set Jets franchise records for rookies in receptions (83) and receiving yards (1,103). Eight times, he racked up at least 75 yards through the air, topping the 100-yard mark thrice. He added four touchdowns on the season.
“Better days are coming,” Wilson said Monday, via the Jets’ official team site. “We took a step from the year before this one, and we plan to do the same next year. We know what we were brought here to do and that’s produce and make a difference, and we all take a lot of pride in doing that and given that we did take a step, we still feel like we could’ve made something more out of this season.”
Both Gardner and Wilson are in the running for the AP Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards, to be presented Feb. 9 at NFL Honors.