New York Jets’ rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner has quickly turned into one of the better cornerbacks in football after just five games. Drafted fourth overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, Gardner already had a massive responsibility on his shoulders.
Couple that with playing for a defensive minded head coach, and it’s easy to see why the New York Jets invested such a high draft pick in him. After just five games, it appears that Gardner is the real deal, and isn’t just the best rookie cornerback, but might already be one of the best cornerbacks in all of football.
Sauce Gardner, 22, is tied for 4th in the NFL with six passes defensed. He had an interception in week five and has played nearly 100% of the Jets’ total snaps. He’s also added 20 total tackles, one tackle for loss, and one quarterback hit.
The 6’3″ corner is rangy and physical with excellent speed, running a 4.41 40 yard dash at the combine. He fits in perfectly with Robert Saleh’s defense in New York, which ranks 10th in the NFL in passing yards allowed, so it’s clear that Gardner is already making a difference.
This also has contributed to the New York Jets being 3-2 after five weeks. It’s a rare sight to see both of the New York football teams enjoying quality product, and that’s in large part due to excellent drafting and coaching.
According to PFF, he’s allowed just 12 receptions on 24 targets, meaning his opponents’ catch rate is just 50%. His 67.3 PFF grade is also a nice mark, especially for a rookie. Mind you, he’s doing all of this as a 22 year old rookie. Already likely the best player on their team, Sauce Gardner is proving to be worth being picked fourth overall.
Right now, I’d put my money on Gardner being the lead man for the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award for 2022.