Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams and rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner were both was named a first-team All-Pro selection, the Associated Press announced Friday. Linebacker CJ Mosley was also named to the second team.
Gardner is the first rookie cornerback to earn the first-team honor since Ronnie Lott in 1981, according to The Post’s Brian Costello.
Williams and Gardner were two bright spots throughout the Jets’ season that started 7-4 but fell apart at the end – with a six-game losing streak to close the year and no postseason berth. Their defense allowed the fourth-fewest yards per game (311.1) and had the third-best unit against the pass, while their 18.6 points allowed per game ranked fourth-lowest in the NFL.
Gardner, the No. 4-overall pick out of Cincinnati, led the league with 20 passes defensed and also had two passes intercepted. He drew opponents’ top wideouts and took attention away from his matchup, even expressing his own frustration after a December game when the Lions didn’t target him once. Gardner had three tackles for loss and 75 combined tackles during his first NFL season.
While Gardner anchored the defensive backs, Williams impressed on the defensive line. Recorded career highs in starts (16), tackles for loss (12), quarterback hits (28) and sacks (12.0), despite missing one game with a calf injury.
Williams has since put pressure on the Jets to negotiate a contract extension through April, telling reporters Monday that he will opt out of the voluntary portion of the offseason without a new deal. He has one year remaining on a rookie deal that began in 2019 when the Jets selected him with the third overall pick out of Alabama.
For Mosley, it marked his first appearance on the second-team All-Pro list since 2018 — and fifth of his career. He recorded 158 tackles and three tackles for loss in his third season with the Jets.
The offense became a major question mark in 2022 — especially when the unit failed to score a touchdown in its last three games — but the defense, now with All-Pro honors, proved New York could build a foundation down the stretch. Jeff Ulbrich.