3. NY Jets target: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
In a deep and talented cornerback class, Cincinnati's Ahmad Gardner might just be the best of them all. Gardner's combination of a high floor and a super high ceiling make him a possible top-10 prospect in this class and someone the Jets could target very early.
At 6-foot-2, 188 pounds, Gardner is a long, physical cornerback who has all the physical tools necessary to become an All-Pro at the next level.
Nicknamed "Sauce," Gardner is a long strider who has no issues turning and running with opposing receivers despite his size. That length allows him to maximize his ball skills and increase his margin for error in coverage.
He isn't just all physical traits, however. Gardner is an intelligent defender who is at his best in zone coverage when he could read the quarterback's eyes and jump into throwing lanes.
His size allows him to excel in press-man coverage too making him a scheme-versatile prospect. Much like Brisker, one of his biggest (and only) concerns comes with his tackling.
Gardner is a willing and aggressive tackler, but his consistency is also an issue. On top of that, he had a tendency to get a little grabby in coverage in 2020, although his penalty numbers dropped significantly in 2021.
Gardner is a fantastic cornerback prospect who should be a day-one starter in the NFL. His high floor/high ceiling combo makes him a very intriguing target for the Jets.