The rookie class of the 2022 NFL season has been very impressive.
There are plenty of top rookies on the defensive side of the ball worthy of Defensive Rookie of the Year.
But, one player stands out among the rest.
That is cornerback Sauce Gardner of the New York Jets.
No rookie is having more of an impact on their defense than Gardner.
The fourth overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft has been well worth the investment for the Jets.
On the season, Gardner has two interceptions and leads the league in passes defended with 15.
Sauce Gardner in man coverage this season:
• 100 snaps
• 15 targets (4 receptions allowed)
• 7 yds allowed (least among all CB’s)
• 0 TD allowed
No one has been able to get past the Jets rookie CB in man coverage 🔒 pic.twitter.com/XI7q3GpuRk
— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) November 30, 2022
Even though it may not show up in the box score, Garnder is one of the best coverage guys in the league.
Despite being a rookie, the former Cincinnati Bearcat has helped transform the Jets defense.
New York is only giving up 194.3 passing yards per game on the season.
Along with being top six in total yards allowed per game and points per game.
While other rookies are in contention for the award, no one deserves it more.
With Garnder leading the way in the DROY race, a few other rookies have a chance to steal the award over the final month.
One player to keep an eye on is Tariq Woolen of the Seattle Seahawks.
Woolen was selected in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, and he looks like the steal of the draft.
In 12 games this season, Woolen has six interceptions and seven passes defended.
He has helped transform the Seahawks’ pass defense.
Lastly, first-overall pick Aidan Hutchinson deserves to have his hat in the ring as well.
The edge rusher has six sacks this season, four tackles for loss, and 11 quarterback hits.
He has lived up to the lofty expectations in his rookie season.
Each of these three players deserves to be recognized in the DROY race.
But, Gardner should be walking away with the award when it is all said and done.