The New York Jets knew they were getting a special player when they took Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner with the fourth-overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
But as high as the expectations were for the Cincinnati product, it seems like he exceeded all predictions and projections.
In fact, the rookie CB finished the season as the highest-ranked player in his position, according to PFF.
Highest-graded CBs this season 🔒 pic.twitter.com/lpFcwWu0Xw
— PFF (@PFF) January 10, 2023
“I feel like I had a great season,” Gardner said. “I feel like I’m the only corner who didn’t allow any touchdowns I feel like I had a pretty good rookie season. I set the standard high for me. As a rookie, you aren’t always going to get that Pro Bowl or All-Pro, but I remember coming in and just setting the standard high. I had the right support system, not just with my family and friends, but with my brothers here. I feel like I set myself up and put myself in a good position to accomplish the things that I wanted to accomplish.”
Gardner is a lock to run away with the Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
And, truth be told, he might as well have looked like the best rookie overall.
Gardner’s competitive fire, flawless technique, and athleticism allowed him to have a first year for the ages, locking down some of the best wideouts in the league.
He also guaranteed that by this time next year, the Jets would be in the playoffs, and that’s the kind of relentless confidence you want to see from one of your franchise cornerstones.
He’s special, for sure.