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Jets rookie DE Jermaine Johnson ready for the grind: 'There's no pretty boy work in the trenches'

Jermaine Johnson II's set to play in a massive media market representing one of the great metropolises in the world.

Glitz, glamour, ballyhoo is sure to come, but Johnson craves not these things.

The pass rusher is ready for the grind and ready to bring the wood when he hits the field.

"My mindset is violence," Johnson said, via the team website’s Jack Bell. "There's no pretty boy work in the trenches. It's fun to sack the quarterback, but first and second down are primarily runs, so you have to earn the right to rush the passer. You have to be violent."

The 23-year-old would seem to be bringing an old school approach to the Big Apple, looking to take a big bite out of the opposition and offering no reservations about it.

In a much-celebrated 2022 NFL Draft class for the Jets, Johnson was the 6-foot-5, 260-pound cherry on top of a first-round haul that immediately improved New York's roster in a resounding way. It started with Sauce Gardner at No. 4, continued with Garrett Wilson at No. 10 and concluded when the Jets traded back into the first for Johnson at No. 26.

Having long sought a dynamic and prolific presence off the edge, the Jets are hoping they've found just that in Johnson. If all goes well, New York could quite suddenly have one of the better edge combinations in the NFL with Johnson and Carl Lawson, whose first season ended before it ever started due to a torn Achilles, but says he'll be back by training camp.

"I talked to Carl and told him how excited I am to get to work," Johnson said. "And he's available. It speaks to who he is and how everyone speaks about him. That's all I need to know. What people say about you when you're not around is what's important and I'm blessed and excited to learn under a guy like that. I'm blessed to be in a room like that, with these players and these coaches."

Johnson and Lawson are not the only reasons for optimism on the Jets' defensive front. There's a good chance Johnson will have to fight for playing time as John Franklin-Myers signed an extension with the team last year. Franklin-Myers can also play on the inside, where New York is rife with depth that includes Quinnen Williams, Sheldon Rankins, Vinny Curry and Solomon Thomas all looking to bring second-year head coach Robert Saleh's defensive plans to fruition.

The ACC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior at Florida State, Johnson racked up 11.5 sacks, 70 tackles and 17.5 tackles for loss. He knows he'll need to prove himself to his Jets coaches and teammates, though, and he's ready to do just that.

"Elite rush, get off fast, have a plan and supreme confidence," he said. "You're not going to win every rep, but you have to keep going and keep going. I go to every football field believing I'm the best player on the field. You have to have that elite plan and confidence."

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