Dearborn’s Saleh, Detroit’s Sauce Gardner focused on impact in 2022

Florham Park, NJ – Dearborn native and head coach Robert Saleh refuses to put any pressure on any of the New York Jets’ draft picks.

Now’s not the time for that.

It’s the start of rookie minicamp, with the Jets getting their first look at their newest players.

“I’m not expecting anything from the guys except for just stepping on the field and doing your absolute best,” Saleh said Friday. “I know it’s cliché, but it’s the truth. Rookies and all these guys, they cook at their own rate. You know, they evolve and they become impact players at different rates all over the place. ”

But the expectations are most certainly different for the seven players drafted by the Jets last week – and they know that. Cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, wide receiver Garrett Wilson, running back Breece Hall, and defensive ends Jermaine Johnson and Micheal Clemons, in particular, could all play significant roles for the franchise – immediately and for years to come.

“I just can’t wait to see the impact we have on the team,” said Gardner, No. 4 overall pick from Cincinnati.

And neither can Jets fans.

New York Jets' cornerback Sauce Gardner (20) catches a pass during the NFL football team's training camp, Friday, May 6, 2022, in Florham Park, NJ

Last year’s draft class was highlighted by quarterback Zach Wilson, and the focus will remain on him into the regular season. But this year’s draft haul could be what helps the Jets end an 11-year playoff drought – and perhaps even this season.

Gardner was on the Jets’ wish list to bolster a secondary that includes veteran DJ Reed, with both projected as No. 1-type cornerbacks. The former Cincinnati star comes to the NFL with an impressive resume, which includes having never given up a touchdown in college. Gardner will be hard pressed to continue that streak in the pros, but he’s ready for the challenge.

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