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NFL DRAFT NOTEBOOK: Eden Prairie’s Jermaine Johnson falls to No. 26 pick by the New York Jets

The Minnesota Vikings had a chance to select Johnson at No. 12 but they traded down in the draft with Detroit, which included getting the No. 32. The Vikings have never drafted a player who attended a Minnesota high school.

NFL: NFL Draft
Florida State defensive end Jermaine Johnson, an Eden Prairie, Minnesota, native, is all smiles after being selected as the 26th overall pick to the New York Jets during the first round Thursday, April 28, 2022, of the 2022 NFL Draft in Las Vegas.
Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports

LAS VEGAS -- It was a big fall in the NFL draft for Eden Prairie native Jermaine Johnson II, and he vowed to use it as motivation.

Johnson, an edge rusher who starred at Eden Prairie High School and had 12 sacks last season for Florida State, had been expected by many to be a top-10 pick Thursday night in Las Vegas. But he fell all the way to the New York Jets with the No. 26 pick in the first round.

“I’m so excited, man,” Johnson said on NFL Network after being selected. “I knew when I went on that visit it was something special and they said they’d come get me, and they came and got me. I got the best fan base (in) New York and we’re going to win some games.”

Johnson was asked if it will serve as motivation having slipped in the draft.

“Oh, 100%,” he said. “I’m a man of faith but at the same time I know what I’m worth and I’m so glad the Jets came and got me and we’ll wreak havoc.”

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It’s uncertain why Johnson slipped. Perhaps it had something to do with him being an older prospect. He is 22 and will turn 23 in January.

The Minnesota Vikings had a chance to select Johnson at No. 12 but they traded down in the draft with Detroit, which included getting the No. 32. The Vikings have never drafted a player who attended a Minnesota high school.

The 6-foot-5, 262-pound Johnson is coming off a season in which he had 18 tackles for loss and was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year. It was his only year with the Seminoles after he spent his first two college seasons at Independence (Kan.) Community College, which was featured then in the documentary “Last Chance U,” and then his next two seasons at Georgia.

Johnson was a rotation player with the Bulldogs, getting 6½ sacks in the 2019 and 2020 seasons. But he really emerged when he got plenty of snaps at Florida State in an NCAA-allowed fifth season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lots of anniversaries

The Vikings have had their share of highs and lows on April 28 in the draft.

On that day in 1992, they drafted Steve Jordan in the seventh round and he went on to become the best tight end in team history. On that day in 2007, they drafted Adrian Peterson with the No. 7 pick in the first round and he went on to become the best running back in team history.

As for the lows on April 28, the Vikings took quarterback Christian Ponder with the No. 11 pick in 2011 and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell at No. 23 in 2016. Both ended up being busts.

Marinaro moved up

Former Vikings running back turned actor Ed Marinaro, who will announce Minnesota’s second-round pick on Friday night in Las Vegas, had his schedule moved up on Thursday. Due to a trade with Detroit, the Vikings will now pick No. 34 in the first round rather than No. 46.

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Marinaro will announce the pick 50 years after he was a second-round selection by Minnesota in 1972 out of Cornell.

Related Topics: MINNESOTA VIKINGSFOOTBALL
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