The NY Jets could be looking to make a major addition to their defense come the 2022 NFL Draft as the team is reportedly showing "heavy interest" in drafting Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad 'Sauce' Gardner.
SNY's Ralph Vacchiano reported this past week that both the Jets and Giants are set to use official top-30 visits on the standout defensive back. Both teams also met with Gardner at the NFL Combine.
Gardner is widely viewed as one of the best overall players in this class and most analysts tout him as the best cornerback in the draft. It isn't hard to see why the Jets would have interest in him.
Even after adding D.J. Reed in free agency, the Jets could still use some more young talent in their secondary, and Gardner's talent might be too much to pass up.
Sauce Gardner makes sense as a target for the NY Jets
A three-year starter at Cincinnati, Gardner established himself as one of the best cornerbacks in college football. In terms of overall tape, no player in this draft class touches Gardner.
The 21-year-old allowed an opposing passer rating of just 22.6 when targeted which ranked second-best in the entire FBS. Opposing quarterbacks averaged only 3.3 yards per target when targeting Gardner while tossing no touchdowns and three interceptions.
Over the course of his entire college career, Gardner played a total of 115 coverage snaps in the red zone. He allowed just a single completion. One red-zone completion in three years at Cincinnati. That's downright ridiculous.
Gardner never allowed a touchdown, red zone or not, over those three years either. Simply put, few cornerbacks in recent memory have posted the numbers Gardner did at Cincinnati.
He has the production and physical tools that project him as a future All-Pro in the NFL. Most project Gardner to be a solidified top-10 pick with some even believing he could go as high as the top-five.
Don't rule out the Jets targeting him with the fourth overall pick — he's that good.
Reed is an excellent addition to the Jets' secondary and the team remains high on the future of both Bryce Hall and Brandin Echols. However, the Jets know how talented Gardner is.
The Jets are doing their due diligence on Sauce Gardner. Don't be shocked if he ends up in green and white come draft day.