Round 1, 4th overall, NY Jets: Sauce Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
The Jets kicked off their 2022 NFL draft by drafting a player who could become one of their best defensive players in franchise history. Cincinnati cornerback Sauce Gardner is that good.
Gardner was a three-year starter at Cincinnati and it became immediately apparent that he was one of the best players on the field. He earned All-American and first-team All-AAC honors as a freshman, and the accolades wouldn't stop there.
The Detroit native was named first-team All-AAC in all three years at Cincinnati, first-team All-American as a sophomore, and a Consensus All-American as well as the AAC Defensive Player of the Year as a junior.
Simply put, few cornerbacks to come out of the draft in recent memory have tape that comes close to matching Gardner's. His production at Cincinnati was off the charts and he enters the league with an NFL-ready skill set.
He isn't just production, though — his traits are just as impressive. Gardner stands at nearly 6-foot-3, 190 pounds with 33-inch arms and 4.41-speed. There has literally never been a cornerback with that size/length/speed combination in NFL history.
Sauce Gardner is the complete package. He's someone who should step in as an immediate impact starter with the ceiling to become one of the best cornerbacks in the league.
The Jets were deciding between Gardner and NC State offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu at this spot. They made the right choice.