Hes very competitive at the catch point and does a great job of using his length to slam windows shut. He occasionally gives away optimal positioning down the field, and he can get caught up in congestion against overlapping route concepts. When he is on the play-side of a run, he shows surprisingly good technique in taking on blockers and has enough play strength to not get beaten.

Gardner primarily played man and press-man coverage for the Bearcats and excels in both techniques. Since 2019, he has yet to allow a touchdown, scored three of his own, and has the best-ever career passer rating when targeted of 32.6. 10 - Prospect is a unicorn and possesses both rare physical traits and elite mental traits. Should be a perennial All-Pro and Pro Bowl player (i.e. He has enough play strength to jam even bigger receivers and doesnt allow himself to be bullied at any point in the rep. Gardner has the speed to run down the field with all but the fastest receivers, and the ability to match sharp breaks on timing routes. He could stand to sink his hips a bit more when changing directions to be more efficient. Can be a step slow to react when a quarterback comes back to his side of the field late in progression. Hes wiry strong and has the ability to line up in press coverage, disrupting receivers at the line of scrimmage with plenty of recovery speed if necessary. Through all the peaks and valleys, I am proud to be a fan of the Green & White and Im excited to contribute to JetNation in anyway I can. This can cause him to fall a step behind his opponents. Inconsistent getting off of blocks. section: | slug: 2022-nfl-draft-sauce-gardner-says-he-feels-like-the-chosen-one-and-that-theres-no-way-hes-a-bust | sport: football | route: article_single.us | "Sauce" was asked about performing on that big stage New York provides, and he told NJ.com he could thrive there. While run defense isnt exactly a strength of Gardners, his role in Cincinnatis defense didnt put him in position to be a primary run defender all that often. That creates opportunities for yards after contact, or runners just bouncing off of him (or vice versa). Gardner is undeniably whip-thin, and there likely isnt much room on his frame for more muscle mass without compromising his athleticism. All Rights Reserved. 2004-2022 CBS Interactive. Dec 4, 2021; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats cornerback Ahmad Gardner (1) celebrates after a sack of Houston Cougars quarterback Clayton Tune (not pictured) in the second quarter during the American Athletic Conference championship game at Nippert Stadium. Highest Floor and Highest Upside in Each Round. The Minnesota Vikings own the No. Dangerous with the ball in his hands. Gardner has a good closing burst and his length allows him to slam receiving windows shut. Not only do they need great tape showing skill, Football IQ, and production, but they also need rare physical traits to entice teams to spend top picks on them. Last season with Cincinnati, Gardner recorded 40 total tackles, four passes defensed and three interceptions to go along with a career-high three sacks. He does a great job of playing receivers hands and can track balls in the air like a receiver. Only two other players have shorter odds. 2022 Jet Nation, LLC Site is powered by MILE Social. He didnt allow a single touchdown in three seasons at Cincinnati, and he more than held his own against Alabama in a playoff game last season; the Tide chose not to test his side of the field often. He has excellent ball skills and is extremely competitive and confident at the catch point, with the instincts to break on the ball and a willingness to bait throws. There is still a little bit to be cleaned up as far as getting too handsy downfield, and NFL teams will surely look to use Gardners aggressiveness when peering into the backfield against him early in his career. His press technique is inconsistent, as he sometimes punches before his base is in the right spot. Prospect: Ahmad Sauce Gardner (1)Games Watched: vs. Indiana (2021), vs. Notre Dame (2021), vs. Houston (2021), vs. Alabama (2021), Tackles: 99Tackles For a loss: 5.5Sacks: 3.5Passes Defensed: 16Interceptions: 9 (2 returned for touchdowns), Tackles: 40Tackles For a loss: 5.0Sacks: 3.0Passes Defensed: 4Interceptions: 3. Also, while hes a willing hitter, he doesnt make good use of his length and often fails to wrap ball carriers up. 7- Solid Day 2 prospect (mid-second through third). A native of Detroit, Gardner broke out for the Bearcats as a freshman in 2019, notching a pair of pick-sixes within his first five career games.

Former Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner is considered by many to be one of the best players available in the 2022 NFL Draft. Purchase a copy online today, the digital edition for instant access, or look for it on newsstands everywhere. 4 ranking and a place in the College Football Playoff. His body of work and height-speed combination make him CB1. Gardner primarily aligned as an outside corner for Cincinnatis defense, playing both the field and boundary. If you want to get creative and put in the slot against some big slot types like Mike Gesicki you could, but he is best used shutting down a third of the field on the perimeter. Gardner does a great job of avoiding schemed traffic on man-beaters, allowing him to stay with receivers even against rub routes. ), College:CincinnatiClass:Jr.Height:6'2"Weight:190. Although he is a fluid athlete, he struggles with pad level at times, particularly against twitchier players and double-moves. Cory Giddings, Gardners long speed, while solid, is not top-tier. Is a bit grabby and has given up a number of penaliies, Hasn't had a lot of experience in a zone scheme -strictly a man/press corner. First-round athletic or mental traits, but could slide into the top of the second round. 12. Our CBS Sports prospect rankings place him as the No. The most complete guide to the 2022 NFL Draft is now available at newsstands everywhere or for purchase online. 12 overall pick in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft. In this edition, we look at Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad Sauce Gardner.

He also covered the slot on occasion, suggesting the ability to travel with a designated receiver and not just stay on the outside. The likelihood of Gardner slipping past both New York franchises is slim each owns multiple picks inside the top 10 and could use a player with Gardners isolated abilities but well entertain the possibility of such a happening. Living on an island is always hard, so it doesnt matter which scheme youre in, Peterson said, Bally Sports+ is not currently available in your area. Let's not get too carried away, though. He will come downhill and be a sound tackler in the run game as well as in space, even willing to take on bigger ball carriers. The content you are trying to watch is not part of your current subscription. Gardners whole body of work is more consistent than Derek Stingley Jr.s, and, unlike Stingley, his medicals wont be an issue. Former Green Bay cornerback Chandon Sullivan is joining Minnesota's secondary, according to the Katz Brothers Sports agency. Gardner is a long, fast and fluid cover artist who grabbed a starting role as a true freshman and elevated his level of play over three seasons. Indiana 2021, Notre Dame 2021, Houston 2021, Alabama 2021 (CFP Semi), Talking Jets Draft Class and Mekhi Becton with The Draft Networks Chris Schubert, Jets Undrafted Free Agent Rumors Incoming. He is able to excel in man coverage, where he plays with good technique to get hands on receivers and the speed to carry them downfield. There are few corners who can boast Gardners length, speed, fluidity, and skill as a press-man corner, and those are exceptionally sought-after traits. Gardner and Patrick Peterson would form an aggressive alliance on the perimeter in Ed Donatells defense, and maybe let Cameron Dantzler push inside to cover the slot theres a place for Dantzler somewhere in Year 3, it just remains to be seen where. Gardner isnt just an outside corner, and he has the ability to move into the slot. He does a good job of keeping his eyes in the backfield and has a quick trigger on the ball. Its a testament to just how good a cover corner Gardner is that opposing quarterbacks consistently avoided him even when his man was their primary read. Games Watched: Indiana 2021, Notre Dame 2021, Houston 2021, Alabama 2021 (CFP Semi). There's no doubt about it. Should contribute early in career, with the upside to start or become an important rotational player at some point in his rookie contract. Gardner wasnt asked to blitz often, but he showed upside when he did rush the passer. I was born and raised in New Jersey, just recently moving to Spartanburg, SC. LAST YEAR: The Vikings missed the playoffs for a second straight year, prompting the firing of head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman. At age 6, a youth coach called him A1 Sauce Sweet Feet Gardner. Part of that nickname has stuck since. Gardner has the traits and demeanor to become a highly effective CB1 within his first couple of seasons. Lance Zierlein, Ahmad Gardner is a rare cornerback who possesses excellent length and athleticism. (This profile is one of 230 featured in the Athlon Sports 2022 NFL Draft Guide. Gardners closing burst allows him to erase separation and his length makes high-pointing the ball difficult at best. Already have a Bally Sports account? Here is our DMCA Page andPrivacy Policy. That lack of mass can make shedding blocks and getting runners on the ground problematic for Gardner. The only real weakness in Gardners game is his lack of thickness, and by extension, his tackling. Is Sauce Gardner just what Martindale is looking for? Teams looking to add some flavor to their secondary through the 2022 NFL Draft would no doubt love to take cornerback Ahmad Gardner. New York Giants Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale uses aggressive press-man coverage as the basis for his defensive scheme. Long, lean and linear, Gardner's physical and football growth are on full display when comparing his 2019 tape to 2021. 2 - This player has intriguing enough physical or mental traits to get a camp invite. . "The older I get, the better I want to get. 6 - Early-mid Day 3 prospect with a high athletic ceiling and low floor or a high floor but limited athletic upside. I don't want to be one of those guys who gets to about 30 and they say, 'Ah, he's about to retire.' Aware zone cornerback who is also adept in man coverage, flashing physical hand punch at the line and straight-line speed to stay with receivers downfield. What was the response online? Incredible numbers! While his tape, talent and potential warrant him being a top-10 lock in this years draft, it is unlike Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh to swing early on Ahmad Gardner. Has a high backpedal and loses a step in the transition. Gardner wound up intercepting three passes each of his three seasons at Cincinnati and earned All-America recognition from just about every outlet in the book. That ability to simply rip pages out of offensive playbooks and force quarterbacks to hold onto the ball is why press-man corners are so coveted by NFL defenses. "Sauce" uses length and hand activity to impose his will on the release and stall the route on the tarmac. contact customer support. According to Pro Football Focus, he gave up only 13 catches for 117 yards that averaged out to one catch and nine whopping yards per game. Share scouting report on Twitter or Facebook, Drafted: ROUND: 1 - Pick Number: 4 (NYJ), Athletic, tall, strong corner who dominates smaller receivers, Has excellent speed (4.41 at the combine) and possesses a good burst with excellent quickness, Has lockdown corner skills - who sticks to receivers like glue and surrenders a tiny cushion, Never gives up on the play - has a constant motor who patrols sideline to sideline, Trusted in man coverage to lock up the opposing team's top receiver on an island, One of the best press coverage corners in college football over the last three years. He has experience playing a variety of techniques, though hes at his best and his most comfortable facing the action in off-man coverage. LOG IN NOW, The Minnesota Vikings continue to dip into their rivals pockets. : Andrew Luck). His movements lack fluidity, but he's urgent and aggravating in man-to-man, which could become a deterrent for NFL quarterbacks scanning to his side of the field if he can avoid a big spike in penalties as he adjusts to NFL officiating. Nevertheless, he still plays a little too high on breaks. There's no way I can be a bust. Too much bust potential for a Day 2 selection.. 5- This player should be an average NFL depth and special teams player. (i.e. Gardner measured in at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds at the NFL combine and was one of 12 cornerbacks to run sub-4.42 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He didnt allow a single touchdown in 1,000+ career coverage snaps. I am 23 and have been a Jets fan since I was 6. The consensus projects Gardner to be one of the first 10 players taken on Day 1 of the draft, so divine intervention might be Minnesotas only play to land the long-limbed cornerback, unless its motivated to move up from No. The Jets currently have a need at cornerback, although it may not be one worth addressing with a first round pick. "I feel like I'm the chosen one," Gardner said of overcoming adversity as a kid in Detroit and player at Cincinnati, per NJ.com. Hes more of a leggy mover than a sudden or fleet-footed cornerback, although, to his credit, he improved his footwork drastically from 2019 to 2020.

If you need to change your location please Considering how good his coverage is, NFL teams will be willing to deal with that as a weakness given all his other strengths. Gardner could be the first cornerback to be selected in this draft because of his All-Pro upside. 1 overall prospect. With both the New York Jets and New York Giants holding two picks apiece in the top 10, many mock drafts have Gardner heading to the Big Apple in one way or another. He. On top of the coverage qualms, Gardner can be more consistent dismantling blocks in run defense. Ian Cummings. 8 - Fringe first-round player. Gardner has high-level instincts that allow him to be in position to make a play on every snap, even when his technique isnt great. Best: Length, quickness, agility, fluidity, press-man coverage, ball skills, competitive toughnessWorst: Tackling, massProjection: A starting press-man corner with Pro Bowl or All-Pro upside. Gardner and teammate Coby Bryant, the 2021 Jim Thorpe Award winner, formed a fearsome cornerback tandem that helped lift the Bearcats to the No. Available in your area. There has quite a bit of speculation that the Giants will use one of their top picks on Gardner to help facilitate Martindales scheme, so what kind of player would the Giants be getting? He's highly competitive with a confidence level that will be labeled as cocky by some evaluators. New York signed D.J. CAMP SITE: Eagan, Minn. Gardner has a rare combination of length, athleticism, and press-man coverage ability. He made big strides cleaning up his footwork the past two seasons, and his ability to keep an eye on the backfield and his click-and-close quickness for his size are outstanding. Passers didnt seem to anticipate his blitzes particularly from the blind side and he has a good closing burst. Gardner has excellent foot quickness, agility, and oily hips, allowing him to get in phase with receivers and stay there throughout their routes. In 2021, teams gameplanned not to beat but to avoid Gardner. Ahmad Sauce Gardner has a great combination of length, athleticism, competitive toughness, and skills to be a cover corner at the NFL level. Gardner is also a capable off or zone coverage corner, though he didnt play those techniques often. 2022 NFL Draft prospect profile - Evan Neal, OT, Alabama, 2022 NFL Draft prospect profile - Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State. There are multiple instances of quarterbacks looking in Gardners direction, checking another read, looking again, then giving up on that receiver as an option. He wasnt asked to blitz often, but he was effective when he did. Plays with good but not elite speed and there are concerns about his ability to handle the truly explosive speedsters in the NFL. Reasonable expectation of Pro Bowl or All-Pro honors. 3 best player behind Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson and Alabama's Evan Neal, but CBS Sports NFL Draft expert Josh Edwards for example has him as his No. "Sauce" won't have to wait long to hear his name called once the draft kicks off, and he himself believes he's the best player coming out. When passers did test Gardner, they often failed.

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