NY Jets make shocking pick in recent 2022 NFL mock draft

NY Jets, Ahmad Gardner
NY Jets, Ahmad Gardner / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

At the time of this writing, no other mock draft (that we've seen) has the NY Jets drafting this player with their fourth pick. Is Cincinnati's Ahmad Gardner the real deal?

The Jets have two top-10 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, and plenty of ink has been spilled on how New York should spend them. Aidan Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Evan Neal, and Ikem Ekwonu are some of the higher-profile prospects on the Jets' radar, but one NFL writer has steered away from the fold.

Pro Football Network's Cam Mellor recently released his seven-round mock draft for 2022 in which the Jets choose cornerback Ahmad Gardner with the No. 4 overall pick.

Mellor describes Gardner as a true lockdown corner who matched up against teams' best threats all throughout his college career.

"He blanketed Indiana’s Ty Fryfogle, Notre Dame’s Kevin Austin Jr., and most impressively, Alabama’s Jameson Williams, to name just a few of the talented players he covered. Gardner limited Williams to negative yardage in their matchup while also showcasing an elite ability in run defense against the Crimson Tide."

Cam Mellor

While many analysts consider Gardner to be potentially CB1 in this draft class, very few mocks have him going in the top five.

As much as the Jets need help in the defensive backfield, they seem more inclined to go for a stout offensive lineman or an edge rusher with their first pick.

Perhaps the most shocking part of Mellor's mock draft is that he doesn't just have Gardner going fourth overall. He has the Jets picking Gardner over Aidan Hutchinson, the highly touted pass-rusher from Michigan. Hutchinson was still on the board while his college teammate, David Ojabo, was taken second overall.

Pro Football Network's recent mock draft has NY Jets taking Ahmad Garnder

Why on Earth would New York pick Gardner if Hutchinson was still on the board?

Per his scouting report, Gardner is a sound tackler, physical at the line of scrimmage, and possesses "a great sense of timing" as well as "the wherewithal to position himself well against two-on-one opportunities."

The mental side of his game arguably shines brighter than the physical side, and the Cincinnati defensive back has already made a huge impact on his team.

As a true freshman, Gardner recorded three interceptions, six pass deflections, and two touchdowns; as a true sophomore, he also recorded similar numbers.

The idea of a cornerback going in the top-10 is not unheard of by any means — in the 2021 draft, Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II went eighth and ninth respectively.

But given the sheer amount of talent the 2022 draft class has to offer, and given the Jets' most pressing needs, it seems unlikely that New York will end up choosing a cornerback like Gardner that high, no matter how talented he may be.

Next. 2022 NFL Mock Draft: NY Jets build around Zach Wilson, 3 QBs in the first round. dark

Of course, to each their own opinion. We just wouldn't hold our breaths for this to happen.