NFL Draft Profile: Cincinnati Cornerback Sauce Gardner

by Chaz Turnbow
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Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner is one of the prospects competing for the top cornerback spot in a loaded class in 2022 NFL Draft. He was a Consensus All-American and AAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2021, and was named First-Team All-AAC all three years he started (2019-2021).

NFL Draft Measurables

Height: 6’2 6/8″”
Weight: 190
Hand: 9 5/8″
Arm: 33 1/2″
Wingspan: 79 3/8″
40-Time: 4.41
Shuttle: N/A
Broad Jump: N/A
Vertical Jump: N/A
Bench: N/A
3-Cone: N/A
RAS: N/A

How We Grade

Grade Player Meaning Grade Player Meaning
9.5-10 Generational Player 6-6.4 Average Starter
9-9.4 Consistent All-Pro 5.5-5.9 Below-Average Starter
8.5-9 All-Pro Caliber 5-5.4 Developmental Player
8-8.4 Consistent Pro-Bowler 4.5-4.9 Special Teams Player
7.5-7.9 Pro-Bowl Caliber 4-4.4 Practice Squad
7-7.4 Above Average Stater 3-4 Journeyman PS
6.5-6.9 Above-Average Starter 0-2.9 Free Agent

NFL Draft Evaluation

Trait Grade Trait Grade Trait Grade
Press Man 7.75 Range/Closing 7.75
Off Man 6.75 Awareness 7
Zone 6.75 Motor 7.5
Reaction 7.5 Discipline 8
Footwork/Change of Direction 6.5 Versatility 6
Speed 7.75 Frame 9
Ball Skills 7.75
Tackling 7.25 Overall 7.26

Strengths

Ideal body for a press man corner. Slender, long, physical, fast. Good patience and mirror ability and hand usage in press coverage. Does well squeezing a receiver to the sideline on an outside release when carrying them vertical. Good use of length at the catch point making it difficult on receivers. Technique tackler, wraps well and doesn’t just dive at runners.

Weaknesses

Lined up almost exclusively at outside CB on the boundary side of the field, so there are limited reps in the slot. Solid hip fluidity for a man that tall, but he is clearly a better linear athlete. While physical at the catch point, he can be overly aggressive and draw penalties, though he showed improvement and cut them way down in 2021.

Summary

Sauce is a boundary corner that you can win with at the next level. He projects best to an outside role and has an ideal physical profile for the role. Can be a starting CB2 for a team on day one and be a key component of a Cover 3 or Man heavy scheme.

Floor: Boundary CB3
Ceiling: Outside CB1 That you can win because of
Round Grade: Late 1st

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