Sauce Gardner
refer to caption
Gardner in 2022
No. 1 – New York Jets
Position:Cornerback
Personal information
Born: (2000-08-31) August 31, 2000 (age 23)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school:Martin Luther King Jr. (Detroit, Michigan)
College:Cincinnati (2019–2021)
NFL draft:2022 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2023
Total tackles:132
Forced fumbles:1
Pass deflections:31
Interceptions:2
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner (born August 31, 2000) is an American football cornerback for the New York Jets of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Cincinnati and was selected fourth overall by the Jets in the 2022 NFL Draft. Gardner was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and was the first rookie cornerback since Ronnie Lott in 1981 to be named first-team All-Pro.

Early years

Gardner was born on August 31, 2000, in Detroit, Michigan.[1] He attended Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School, where he played wide receiver and cornerback on their football team.[2] In the Division 2 State Championship, Gardner caught four passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns. After the season, Gardner was named an All-State selection at defensive back by the Associated Press. A three-star recruit, he committed to play college football at the University of Cincinnati.[3]

College career

In 2019, his true freshman season, Gardner played in 11 games. He had 31 tackles and three interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. He also tallied 11 passes defended and eight pass breakups. After the season, Gardner was the only true freshman named to the American Athletic Conference first-team.[4][5] As a sophomore in 2020, Gardner began the season atop the depth chart as a starter.[6] As a junior, Gardner was voted to the 2021 College Football All-America Team and named the AAC Defensive Player of the Year en route to helping Cincinnati become the first Group of Five team to reach the College Football Playoff.[7][8][9] He declared for the 2022 NFL Draft following the season.[10]

College statistics

Season GP Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
Solo Ast Cmb TfL Sck Int Yds Avg TD PD FR FF TD
2019 11 24 7 31 0 0 3 78 26 2 6 0 0 0
2020 9 16 12 28 0.5 0.5 3 18 6 0 6 0 0 0
2021 13 28 12 40 5 3 3 7 2.3 0 4 0 0 0
Career 33 68 31 99 5.5 3.5 9 103 11.4 2 16 0 0 0

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split
6 ft 2+34 in
(1.90 m)
190 lb
(86 kg)
33+12 in
(0.85 m)
9+58 in
(0.24 m)
4.41 s 1.51 s 2.56 s
All values from NFL Combine[11][12]
Gardner (right) in his rookie season with the Jets.

Gardner was selected fourth overall by the New York Jets in the 2022 NFL Draft.[13] He signed his four-year rookie contract, worth $38.7 million fully guaranteed, on May 7, 2022.[14]

Gardner made his first career interception in Week 5 against the Miami Dolphins.[15] In Week 7, he had 10 tackles and three pass breakups against the Denver Broncos, earning AFC Defensive Player of the Week.[16] He started in all 17 games as a rookie. He finished with 75 total tackles (51 solo), two interceptions, and 20 passes defensed.[17] His 20 passes defended led the league.[18] Gardner was selected for the 2023 Pro Bowl Games, joining Tariq Woolen of the Seattle Seahawks as the only rookies selected.[19] He won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award and was also named a first-team All-Pro, becoming the first rookie cornerback to achieve the honor since Ronnie Lott in 1981.[20][21]

NFL career statistics

Legend
Led the league
Bold Career high
Year Team Games Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
GP GS Cmb Solo Ast TFL QBH Sck Sfty PD Int Yds Y/I Lng TD FF FR Yds Y/R TD
2022 NYJ 17 17 75 51 24 3 1 0.0 - 20 2 19 9.5 16 0 0 0 0 - 0
2023 NYJ 16 16 57 41 16 2 0 0.0 - 11 0 0 - 0 0 1 0 0 - 0
Career 33 33 132 92 40 5 1 0.0 - 31 2 19 9.5 16 0 1 0 0 - 0

Personal life

Gardner is a Christian.[22]

Gardner took the nickname "Sauce",[a] from a youth football coach at age six due to his ability on the field.[23][24] In 2022, he partnered with the sports bar chain Buffalo Wild Wings to endorse a sweet and spicy barbecue sauce known as "Sauce Sauce".[25]

Notes

  1. ^ Originally A1 Sauce Sweet Feet Gardner before being shortened

References

  1. ^ Brugler, Dane. "The Beast: 2022 NFL Draft Guide" (PDF). The Athletic. pp. 228–229. Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  2. ^ McCabe, Mick; Dunlap, Keith (December 14, 2018). "Meet the 2018 Free Press' All-Detroit high school football team". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  3. ^ "Ahmad Gardner, New York Jets, Cornerback". 247Sports. Retrieved October 27, 2022.
  4. ^ Neuffer, Phil (March 4, 2020). "Cincinnati Bearcats Football Season in Review: Ahmad Gardner". Down the Drive. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  5. ^ Lusk, Logan (March 4, 2020). "Q&A — Football sophomore Ahmad Gardner". The News Record. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  6. ^ Goricki, David (September 1, 2020). "At Cincinnati, Detroit King's Ahmad Gardner takes his place among nation's top cornerbacks". The Detroit News. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  7. ^ "Consensus All-America Teams (2020-2022)". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  8. ^ "AAC Defensive Player of the Year Winners". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  9. ^ Zagoria, Adam (December 5, 2021). "Cincinnati Becomes First 'Group Of Five' Team To Make College Football Playoff And Will Face No. 1 Alabama". Forbes. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  10. ^ Jeyarajah, Shehan (January 4, 2022). "2022 NFL Draft: Cincinnati CB Ahmad Gardner declares after dominant career with Bearcats program". CBS Sports. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  11. ^ "Sauce Gardner Draft and Combine Prospect Profile". NFL.com. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  12. ^ "2022 Draft Scout Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati NFL Draft Scout College Football Profile". draftscout.com. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  13. ^ Bell, Jack (April 29, 2022). "Jets Select CB Ahmad 'Sauce' Gardner with No. 4 Pick of 2022 NFL Draft". NewYorkJets.com. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  14. ^ Lange, Randy (May 7, 2022). "Sauce Gardner, Jets' Top Draft Pick, Signs His Rookie Contract". NewYorkJets.com. Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  15. ^ Clark, Dave (October 9, 2022). "Big half for former UC Bearcats star Ahmad 'Sauce' Gardner includes first NFL INT, safety". The Enquirer. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  16. ^ Gordon, Grant (October 26, 2022). "Bengals QB Joe Burrow, Giants QB Daniel Jones among Players of the Week". NFL.com. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  17. ^ "Sauce Gardner 2022 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  18. ^ "2022 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  19. ^ "Pro Bowl selections for all 32 teams: Full AFC, NFC rosters". ESPN.com. December 22, 2022. Retrieved January 1, 2023.
  20. ^ Alper, Josh (February 10, 2023). "2022 NFL defensive rookie of the year: Sauce Gardner". ProFootballTalk. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  21. ^ Maaddi, Rob (January 13, 2023). "NFL All-Pros: Kelce, Jefferson unanimous; 16 first-timers". APNews.com. Associated Press. Retrieved January 13, 2023.
  22. ^ "Sauce Gardner: Follower of Christ, Child of God". Retrieved October 10, 2023.
  23. ^ Vasquez, Andy (April 28, 2022). "Ahmad 'Sauce' Gardner: 3 things to know about NY Jets' No. 1 pick in 2022 NFL Draft". North Jersey. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  24. ^ Thamel, Pete (November 18, 2021). "Here's how Bearcats star Ahmad 'Sauce' Gardner got that nickname and why his skills have caught NFL eyes". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved February 21, 2022.
  25. ^ Riccette, Billy (August 29, 2022). "Sauce Gardner to create 'Sauce sauce' with Buffalo Wild Wings". Jets Wire. USA Today. Retrieved August 29, 2022.