The NY Jets could draft Ahmad Gardner at pick No. 4
The same scenario at wide receiver correlates to cornerback Ahmad Gardner. Make no mistake, the consensus No. 1 player at his position entering the draft will be a highly coveted player in this draft.
The assumption by some is that Gardner could slide to 10, but the 6-foot-3 stud, who is coming off one of the best college campaigns ever by a defensive back, is considered one of the safest bets in this entire draft class.
Rightfully so for a player who never allowed a touchdown in 33 games during his college career. Catches against him were also hard to come by for opposing college receivers. Gardner finished his days at Cincinnati with a 31.8 passer rating against him. In 2021, he didn't allow more than 18 yards in a single game.
In a league where shutdown cornerbacks are exceedingly difficult to find and placed at such a high premium, it's challenging to see a scenario where NFL teams don't overvalue Gardner.
Most experts doing these mock drafts see the teams directly behind the Jets at four as unlikely destinations for Gardner, and simply because the Giants, Panthers, and Falcons all have money tied to the position.
That thought process leaves Seattle as a likely destination for Gardner at nine if he slides down the board. The Seahawks are a logical destination for 'Sauce,' especially since the Jets signed young star cornerback D.J. Reed away from them in free agency.
However, there are many teams just like Seattle, who are desperate for cornerback help, that will view Gardner as their savior at the position. Especially contending teams in the AFC who have to deal with all the prominent quarterbacks now in the conference.
Even though the Los Angeles Chargers signed away J.C. Jackson from New England, what's to stop them from packaging their 17th pick to move up and select Gardner as the final piece to their potential Super Bowl puzzle?
Once upon a time, Chargers head coach Brandon Staley saw firsthand the value of elite cornerback play, coaching Jalen Ramsey when he was the Rams' defensive coordinator.
How does one deal with Patrick Mahomes, Derek Carr and Devante Adams, or Russell Wilson and his band of receivers in the AFC West? How about pairing Sauce Gardner with J.C. Jackson at cornerback for the next five years? That would slow down some passing attacks.
If the Jets are dead set on drafting Sauce Gardner, New York will have to select him at four. All bets are off that Gardner makes it to the Jets plate at 10 if they pass him up the first go around on the clock. Plus, with the Dolphins adding Tyreek Hill, the Jets will need to load up at cornerback.