NY Jets CB Sauce Gardner sets his goal for the 2023 season

Justin Fried
NY Jets, Sauce Gardner
NY Jets, Sauce Gardner / Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports
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NY Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner set three goals for himself before his rookie season. He wanted to be named to the Pro Bowl (he was), he wanted to be named first-team All-Pro (he was), and he wanted to win Defensive Rookie of the Year (he will).

While Gardner's aspirations may have seemed optimistic, if not a bit foolish, at the time, the fourth overall pick exceeded even the wildest of expectations in his rookie season.

Gardner became the first rookie cornerback to be named first-team All-Pro in over 40 years and established himself as quite possibly the best cornerback in football just 17 games into his NFL career.

How do you top that? What could Gardner possibly do in 2023 that would come close to matching his on-field brilliance as a rookie? Well, he has something in mind.

NY Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner has lofty expectations for the 2023 season

Gardner spoke to reporters following the Jets' season finale a couple of weeks ago and reiterated his three goals for his rookie year. After indicating that he had/would succeed at all three, Gardner was asked what his goal for 2023 was.

Responding at least partially in jest, Gardner told reporters "I got to get like 10 picks next year." That's quite a lofty goal, but that's exactly what many thought about his 2022 expectations.

Gardner did note in the same press conference that he hopes to create more turnovers in 2023. The former Cincinnati star only managed two interceptions as a rookie, although he did lead all players with 20 passes defended.

Only two players in the last 15 years have managed to finish a season with 10 or more interceptions: Xavien Howard with 10 in 2020 and Trevon Diggs with 11 in 2021.

Gardner accomplished essentially everything possible in his rookie season. He earned a Pro Bowl nod, was almost unanimously selected as a first-team All-Pro, and will soon with the Defensive Rookie of the Year award in a race that has been anything but close.

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I suppose when you set the bar that high, you just have to keep on raising it. That's exactly what Sauce Gardner has done. Doubt him at your own risk.

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