Jets trade, take RB Hall in 2nd, draft TE Ruckert in 3rd

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From left, Jermaine Johnson, Ahmad Gardner and Garrett Wilson speak during a New York Jets NFL Football Draft press conference Friday, April 29, 2022 in Florham Parrk, NJ (AP Photo/Brittainy Newman)

PA

The New York Jets moved up again in the NFL Draft and added another quick playmaker to their offense.

Iowa State running back Breece Hall was selected with the 36th overall pick on Friday night after the Jets acquired him from the Giants for their second-round selection — No. 38 — and a fifth-round pick.

“It’s a home run threat,” general manager Joe Douglas said. “He can score from anywhere on the pitch.”

New York focused on offense in the third round, signing Ohio State tight end Jeremy Ruckert with the 101st pick.

“He’s a dynamic athlete,” Douglas said. “He’s a dynamic weapon in the passing game. He wasn’t always the No. 1 option at Ohio State, but he was a guy willing to do the dirty work to help his teammates as a tackle.

Unless otherwise agreed, the Jets have two other selections in this draft: two fourth-rounders (Nos. 111 and 117).

Hall was staying at a hotel in the Las Vegas area and watching the draft, but did not attend. Instead, he was celebrating with friends and family when he got the call from New York and his name was announced by former Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis.

After doing a Zoom interview with reporters, Hall went to the site project. Wearing a Jets cap, Hall was allowed to take the stage – both arms raised to cheers from the fans in attendance – and received a celebratory hug from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

“It’s just a dream come true,” Hall told NFL Network. “Last night, knowing the Jets, they tried to trade in the first round to get me, but it didn’t work. So it was kind of a disappointment. But, I mean, I’m still blessed to be a Jet and blessed to have the opportunity to come here. So it was fun.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Hall was a two-time All-American who set an Iowa State record with 56 touchdowns in three seasons, including 41 touchdown points in the past two years. Hall was the first running back drafted this year and the first Big 12 player selected.

The native of Wichita, Kansas could form a potentially potent 1-2 combination in the Jets’ backfield with Michael Carter, a fourth-rounder last year that led the team to the run. New York also has veteran Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson, La’Mical Perine and Austin Walter on the roster.

“I know it’s really favorable to the running backs,” Hall said of the offense coordinator Mike LaFleur. “Just being able to touch the ball and having lots of chances is all I need.”

Douglas has made it his mission this offseason to surround sophomore quarterback Zach Wilson with more playmakers. Hall fits the bill, as does Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson, who was the 10th overall pick on Thursday night.

The Jets were busy early in the draft, taking Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner at No. 4, Wilson six picks later, then returning in the first round to select Florida State defensive end Jermaine Johnson at No. 26.

Opening night was hailed by many fans and media as a huge success for a franchise that has the longest active NFL playoff drought at 11 seasons.

When asked Thursday night if the Jets had a good rating on a player who hadn’t yet been drafted, Douglas replied, “Absolutely, yes. Absolutely.”

Apparently Hall was one of them – so much so that the Jets entered into a trade with the team they share a home stadium with.

Ruckert is from Lindenhurst, New York, and grew up with the Jets. He joins a room of tight ends that includes free agent signings CJ Uzomah and Tyler Conklin.

“I’ve dreamed about it since I was little,” said Ruckert, who watched practices as a youth at the team’s former training facility at Hofstra University.

At Ohio State, Ruckert caught 54 passes for 615 yards and 12 touchdowns in four seasons. His stats weren’t as garish as some tight ends across the country, largely because of the Buckeyes’ many receivers — including Jets teammate Garrett Wilson. But Douglas and the Jets liked the versatility they saw from Ruckert.

“When you saw the flashes, they were really impressive,” Douglas said. “Really, really dynamic athletic movements in the passing game. … You saw those things and you said, ‘This guy is made of good material.’ »

Hours before the start of the second round, the Jets were still talking about their trio of first-round players – who were officially introduced at a press conference at the team’s facility.

And, yes, Gardner still wore his diamond-encrusted “SAUCE” medallion.

The current crew of the first rounds have acknowledged that they will be linked forever – and together take on the task of trying to help return the Jets to respectability. And more importantly, the playoffs.

“We come from the limelight and it’s nothing new for us,” Johnson said. “We’ve relied on us before as team guys. I think we’re going to attack him and be the best teammates we can be.

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