Rookie Rewind: Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner

With the 4th pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select, CB, Sauce Gardner from the University of Cincinnati.

With the 4th pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select, CB, Sauce Gardner from the University of Cincinnati.

Sauce grew up and played his high school ball in Detroit, MI at Martin Luther King High School.  Gardner stood out as a WR and CB, using his lengthy and rangy size to make easy work of his opponents.  He found great success in high school, leading his team all the way to sates.  For the class of 2019, Sauce was ranked the number 156th corner in the country, with a 71-scouting grade, and 3-Stars to show for it according to ESPN.com.  This was due to his tall, but skinny nature.  Ultimately, Gardner would choose the University of Cincinnati.

Sauce instantly saw success as a true freshman in 2019, as he would have his handful with all his accolades.  All-AAC First Team, Freshman All-America Team, PFF All-America Third Team.  Gardner burst onto the scene in quite possibly the biggest way possible.  Sauce was put on both the Bednarik Award and Jim Thorpe Award watchlists before his sophomore year.  He put himself in the national spotlight in 2020, as he helped the Bearcats catapult into a top 10 team in the country.  After a phenomenal season, Sauce would earn himself All-AAC First Team and All-America First Team.  Sauce cemented himself as not only one of the best DBs in the country but one of the best players overall.  Sauce only got better as his college career went on, and so did his team.  Gardner led the Bearcats to an AAC title and a trip to the college football playoff.  Sauce would face the Alabama receiving unit head-on, led by Jameson Williams.  Sauce would not only hold his own but would excel.  Once again, an All-American, this time, however, he would be named consensus All-American.  Garner would end his college career with a baffling stat.  He gave up ZERO TDs in his entire college career.

During the NFL Draft process, Sauce was a consensus projected top 10 pick, drawing comparisons to former NFL All-Pros Richard Sherman and Stephon Gilmore.  His strengths were noted as tall, long, and sticky hands.  As for his weaknesses, they mainly surrounded his skinny build.  In the end, Sauce would be widely regarded as the 1st or 2nd CB in the 2022 draft class.

When the 4th pick came along, the J-E–T-S grabbed their guy, and it’s safe to say us fans were ecstatic.

“I AM SO EXCITED TO B A JET MAN!!! I CAN’T WAIT TO GET TO WORK AND INTERACT WITH THE COMMUNITY!! #TakeFlight” – Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner