Sauce Gardner
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets could target Cincinnati CB Sauce Gardner in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Sauce Gardner info

  • CB, Cincinnati
  • 6-foot-2, 187 pounds
  • Three-time first-team All-AAC (2019-21)
  • 2021 Consensus All-American
  • 2021 AAC Defensive Player of the Year
  • 2019 Stats (11 games): 31 total tackles (24 solo), three interceptions, two pick-sixes, six passes defended
  • 2020 Stats (nine games): 28 total tackles (16 solo), three interceptions, six passes defended
  • 2021 Stats (13 games): 40 total tackles (28 solo), five tackles for loss, three sacks, three interceptions, four passes defended

How Sauce Gardner would fit into the Jets roster

An instant starter in the defensive backfield — seriously.

Sauce Gardner would instantly become the team’s best cornerback, and the Jets surely need a star in that area of the field. Gang Green’s defense allowed 259.4 passing yards per game last year, which was good for 30th in the NFL.

Gardner would start on the outside with free-agent pickup D.J. Reed starting on the opposite end. The defensive unit would have notable depth at the cornerback spot as well, given the additional presence of Bryce Hall, Brandin Echols, Michael Carter II, Javelin Guidry, and Jason Pinnock.

Sauce Gardner Film Room notes

Gardner and Cincinnati’s CFP Semifinal loss to Alabama (five total tackles, two solo tackles, one tackle for loss)


Right off the bat, Gardner portrays his physicality by shedding the block and getting in on the tackle of the Alabama ball-carrier.

Gardner shows great athletic ability to quickly open up out of his stance and remain with the receiver on this crossing route.

The awareness and vision to correctly read the play; the speed to fly up to the running back; the ability to break down and make the tackle — all fantastic in this clip.

Gardner and Cincinnati’s 2021 win over Notre Dame (two total tackles, one solo tackle, one interception, one pass defended)

In this first clip, Gardner keeps his composure, breaks down, prevents the ball-carrier from turning it to the outside, and makes the tackle.

Gardner then, late in the first quarter, sheds the block and is able to properly break down and put a hit on the running back.

While Sauce is able to keep up with his receiver on the crossing route, the great part of this play is his ability to use his inside (left) hand to attempt to make a play on the ball. This allows him to keep his outside (right) arm free in order to still make a tackle if the pass is completed.

 

Sauce Gardner combines speed, footwork, physicality, vision, and superb cornerback-related instincts every time he steps on the field. Needless to say, the Jets need someone like that, especially when you consider the 2021 pass-defense ranking we brought up earlier in this piece. Robert Saleh and his staff need a defensive star in the deep part of the field — given Sauce’s skill set and readiness for the next level, he could be a perfect draft choice at No. 4 overall.

Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY

Listen to ESNY’s Wide Right Podcast on Apple here or on Spotify here.

Ryan Honey is a senior NFL analyst, betting writer, and podcaster for Elite Sports NY. He hosts the Wide Right Podcast, which serves as both a New York Giants podcast and sports betting show.