Jermaine Johnson bet on himself every step of the way. It paid off with every decision, all the way to the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday in Las Vegas.
Johnson’s wait was longer than expected, but he was the No. 26 overall pick by the New York Jets — who traded up to take the Florida State star just before 11 p.m. ET.
“I’m so excited,” Johnson told the NFL Network moments after he was selected. “I knew when I went on my visit it was something special. And they said they would come get me and they came and got me. They have the best fan base in New York and we’re going to win some games.”
The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Johnson had 70 tackles, 17.5 tackles and 11.5 sacks in a breakout 2021 season at Florida State. Johnson was named the ACC’s defensive player of the year and continued to build his resume with an impressive week at the Senior Bowl as well as the NFL Combine.
Johnson did not qualify academically and went the junior-college route, becoming the nation’s top edge rusher and picking Georgia. He found limited playing time but had 36 tackles and 6.5 sacks in the 2019 and ’20 seasons before picking FSU for his final college season.
He is FSU’s 46th first-round draft pick and the first since Brian Burns (2019 to Carolina). All of FSU’s first-round picks are listed here.
Jacksonville made Georgia defensive end Travon Walker the No. 1 overall pick. Defensive players made it a clean sweep of the top 5 on Thursday. NC State offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu was the first ACC and first offensive player to come off the board. Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett is staying home as he was taken No. 20 overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The NFL Draft continues with the second and third rounds Friday at 7 p.m. and rounds four through seven at noon Saturday. The draft will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network.