Jermaine Johnson was the unexpected gift that put an exclamation point on the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft for the New York Jets.

Already thrilled to have selected stud cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner from Cincinnati with the fourth pick and talented wide receiver Garrett Wilson from Ohio State at No. 10, the Jets traded back into the first round to select Johnson, one of the top-rated edge rushers, with the 26th pick.

“Picks four and 10 fell perfect and then Jermaine was like that Christmas present that you have no idea, that’s like not in the house,” Jets general manager Joe Douglas said on the ‘Gang’s All Here’ podcast. “It’s like that special four-wheeler or something that your dad bought for you and it’s out in the driveway. It’s like ‘Whoa.’ That’s like the extra one you had no idea was coming.”

Gardner, Wilson and Johnson were three of the Jets top eight targets heading into the draft. But with two picks in the first round and each player expected to be selected in the top 10 or so, the Jets were ecstatic to have chosen at least Gardner and Wilson to fill critical holes on defense and offense, respectively.

But while Douglas was celebrating, coach Robert Saleh noticed that Johnson remained on the board and urged the GM to get back to work.

“So, we’re celebrating after [selecting] Garrett, everyone’s high-fiving, hugging … and you kind of lose track of what’s happening for a few minutes and then Robert hits me on the shoulder, ‘Hey man, let’s go get Jermaine, he’s still available, he’s still out there,’” Douglas said.

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That was easier said than done.

The Jets engaged teams in trade talks beginning with the No. 15 selection and didn’t consummate a deal until the Tennessee Titans surrendered the 26th pick in a swap that included one of New York’s second-round picks (No. 35).

“There’s a lot of emotions, right, because with every ‘no’ you hang up the phone and go, ‘This is where he’s going,’” Douglas explained.

But somehow Johnson kept falling, a surprise after three edge rushers (Travon Walker, No. 1, Jacksonville Jaguars; Aidan Hutchinson, No. 2, Detroit Lions; Kayvon Thibodeaux, No. 5, New York Giants) were selected within the Top Five.

“Those three D-ends went really early, so you’re expecting Jermaine to go either before we pick at 10 or shortly thereafter,” Douglas said.

The GM relentlessly worked the phones. The trade with the Titans was eventually finalized and the Jets kept their promise to the Florida State star, who had 11.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for a loss as a senior transfer from Georgia.

It made for a “very cool Thursday night,” according to Douglas.