Thursday, June 30, 2022

The former Super Bowl champion believes the Jets’ signing is binding for the 2022 Pro Bowl

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When the New York Jets selected Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner as their No. 4 pick overall, that decision overshadowed another key offseason acquisition at cornerback.

Head coach Robert Saleh recommended general manager Joe Douglas signing a former San Francisco 49ers fifth-rounder he admitted made a mistake with. As the Niners’ defensive coordinator, the Jets’ HC had DJ Reed Jr. in his system out west but saw him as a nickelback rather than an outside CB.

In Seattle, Reed proved Saleh and everyone else wrong after establishing himself as one of the league’s most consistent reporting specialists. Still, the free-agent acquisition has yet to earn its first trip to the Pro Bowl — but could that change in 2022?

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Ahead of the draft, Bleacher Report has hinted at Reed as a signing expected to succeed at his new target, and ex-Seahawks star linebacker KJ Wright agrees.

The former Super Bowl champion has turned analyst as he debates retirement and during a new spot on the NFL NetworkThe veteran defender touted his old teammate as an under-the-radar “breakout star”.

“If you look at the offseason moves that the Jets have made,” Wright explained, “that’s my favorite … He’s going to come in and change the dynamic of this dressing room.” He will change the culture of this New York Jets team. And if you see him on the football field – excellent man-to-man coverage, he’s rowdy, he’s gritty and the man’s confidence is through the roof.”

Concluding, he said: “I loved playing with DJ and to see him go there and set him up with Sauce Gardner, it will be fun to watch him have a breakthrough year.”

Wright also tweeted the video segment, adding context that he predicted Reed would reach the Pro Bowl in 2022.

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Most assume Gardner will ultimately be the number one in this roster, and while that could be true, don’t be surprised if Reed shadows some of the elite opposing wideouts in their first season together.

Of course, it might just depend on where they set up. The veteran excels when playing right cornerback, so you’ll likely see the rookie on the left.

According to Michael Nania of Jets X-Factor, the former Seahawk closed the right side of the field the last two seasons with zero touchdowns and a 45.5 passer rating at RCB. In that position, Reed held receivers to a 47.5% catch percentage, with just 4.7 yards per goal.

gardener didn’t allow touchdowns Neither did during his college career in Cincinnati, so this pairing could create a no-fly zone near the cones.

Make no mistake, if Reed is having his first Pro Bowl season and Gardner lives up to expectations as a rookie, that defense could be scary with the attacking mentality of Saleh’s system. In other words, if quarterbacks have nowhere to throw the football, those front four will produce a lot of sacks and/or turnovers in 2022 — something this defense has been sorely lacking over the last year.

Wright also made it clear that acquiring Reed would help the culture. Those close to him call him the ultimate contender, and you’ll definitely get that vibe when you hear the cornerback talk.

While commenting on the Jets’ opponents in 2022, Reed told NYJ team reporter Caroline Hendershot that he’s “looking forward to the whole schedule.” He repeated: “I want to play against the best and we play against a lot of good teams.”

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Make no mistake, if Reed is having his first Pro Bowl season and Gardner lives up to expectations as a rookie, that defense could be scary with the attacking mentality of Saleh’s system. In other words, if quarterbacks have nowhere to throw the football, those front four will produce a lot of sacks and/or turnovers in 2022 — something this defense has been sorely lacking over the last year.



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