sauce gardner jets
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets have a crucial Week 15 matchup on tap this Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the Detroit Lions. As usual, New York will have two elite rookie performers on the field trying to make victory a reality for Gang Green.

Everyone already knew that cornerback Sauce Gardner and wide receiver Garrett Wilson are two of the NFL’s best rookies. It’s still nice to get some recognition from others, though.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah has been ranking football’s top rookies at each quarter mark of the regular season. He released his latest rankings on Thursday with Gardner and Wilson holding down the first and second spots, respectively.

Jeremiah’s top rookie at midseason was Gardner, so this was no change. As for Wilson, he was in the top 10 but moved up three spots to join his teammate.

Gardner has immediately proven to be an elite shutdown corner in just his first year of pro football. That’s an impressive feat. He also has the endorsement of former shutdown corner and Jets legend, Darrelle Revis. Taking an opposing team’s top receiver out of the passing game has been a weekly appearance for Sauce. I mean, just look at the coverage he had on Stefon Diggs last week in Buffalo:

As for Wilson, he just broke Keyshawn Johnson’s franchise record for rookie receiving yards in one season. He’s also on track to be the Jets’ first 1,000-yard rookie receiver.

Could this just be the beginning of the personal accolades these two get for their respective 2022 performances? It could be. Earlier this week, Gardner and Wilson were pegged as favorites for the Defensive and Offensive Rookie of the Year Awards:

Four other Jets players have won Defensive Rookie of the Year:

  • Erik McMillan, 1988
  • Hugh Douglas, 1995
  • Jonathan Vilma, 2004
  • Sheldon Richardson, 2013

Exactly zero Jets rookies have taken home Offensive Rookie of the Year. So, having a chance for New York to take them both home is pretty special.

That’s not a huge focus right now, of course. Gang Green is entering Week 15 with a 7-6 record. It’s much better than anyone expected at the start of the year. But losing three of their last four out of the bye has them on the outside looking in regarding the playoffs.

Winning on Sunday will obviously be a step toward reclaiming one of those spots. The Jets will always have a decent chance with guys like Wilson and Gardner taking the field each week.

Matt Musico can be reached at and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.