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Ahmad Gardner – 2022 NFL Draft Profile

Gardner has continued his fine form through the early goings of the 2021 college football season, helping to elevate his team, the Cincinnati Bearcats, to their highest rank of all time. The 5-0 Bearcats are currently 3rd in the AP poll rankings, and Gardners 2 interceptions and 44% completion allowance, plus the leadership in the secondary, are a key factor to that. Taking a lot at his stand out traits, and best fits in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Ahmad Gardner

  • 6’3″
  • 200 pounds
  • Born in Detroit, Michigan
  • DOB: 31st August 2000 (Age 21)
  • 3 star recruit, with Cincinnati being his most respectable offer
  • Came in under developed, and has shone since he got to camp

Undrafted’s 2022 NFL Draft projection:

Based on previous years, Ahmad Gardner is coming out every bit as good, and every bit as accomplished, as the likes of Jeff Okudah, CJ Henderson, Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain, all of which were top 10 draft picks. Gardner should be right up there too, and I’m anticipating that he could even be the first corner selected over Derek Stingley Jr of LSU, or Kaiir Elam of the Florida Gators. Gardner brings a unique frame which is not easy to come by, and the combination of that and his athleticism make him an ideal NFL prospect at the corner position.

Stats to this point:

Here’s what stands out on tape:

  • His size and athleticism are NFL perfection
  • Is a pivotal part of a historically successful Bearcats team
  • Has really grown in confidence as a tackler. Can lay a nice hit, and uses force.
  • Very disciplined in coverage, showing patience when needed
  • Tracks a receiver stride for stride phenomenally well
  • Has the ability to knock the ball out with long arms and frame
  • Shows very mature awareness and football IQ
  • Very difficult to beat in press coverage
  • Does a good job jamming a receiver
  • Good ball skills, can steal a football away from a wide receiver

NFL Potential Comp – Prime Richard Sherman

Gardner is primed and ready to be a CB1 in the NFL. As he’s developed for the Bearcats, he’s added some size, and improved year on year in run defence and tackling. As a press outside corner, or in coverage, he excels, and is a do it all guy who will start day one on Sundays. NFL teams will have a keen eye on Gardner as the draft approaches, and his size and athletic ability could put him top of the list for scouts at the cornerback position. Can truly see Gardner developing into a talent who tracks the opposition WR1 all over the field, and can be isolated on an island in doing so too. For a recruit who came into college football a very tall, yet very slender build, he’s still maturing, even in 2021. Gardner arrived at campus just over 160 pounds, and is now a dominant 200, beginning to learn how to use that size and strength.

Here are my fits in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft:

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles are screaming out for a top corner to play alongside, and eventually take over from Darius Slay. Slay is under contract through the 2023 season, which would give Gardner a couple of years to grow into that CB1 role. The Eagles need to address the defence and begin to rebuild a secondary worthy of making a play off push, and having a lock down corner who can play in isolation could be pivotal to that. Gardner would start for the Eagles on day one, and having a mentor in Darius Slay around wouldn’t be so bad either. With currently two, and possibly three top 10 picks, Ahmad Gardner is a luxury that Philly can well and truly afford.

New York Jets

Now I know that Robert Saleh would like a corner like this on his defence. The Jets are building a brand new identity defensively with new head coach Robert Saleh at the helm, and while their first pick, which belongs to them, should likely be pass rush, they have a second pick to consider too.

The Jets own the Seattle Seahawks first round pick this year, which is rising in value by the second with Russell Wilson sidelined. The Seahawks are 12th in the draft at the time of writing, and while it might be a slight stretch to grab Gardner’s services at 12, it’s not totally out of the question. The Jets could find themselves with an elite pass rusher and Ahmad Gardner following quickly behind, and if you’re looking to bring in guys who can affect a defence immediately, and bring an instant impact, Gardner is absolutely what you want.

New England Patriots

The Patriots allowed Stephon Gilmore to leave during the season, and traded him to the Panthers for pennies in return, instead of releasing him. Gilmore played the role of a total lockdown corner in New England and was one of the highlight reasons for them winning their last Super Bowl (alongside Tom Brady of course). With Gilmore no longer around, cornerback becomes a firm need for the Patriots, who’s secondary has been leaking guys for a few years now. Patrick Chung, Jason McCourty, Stephon Gilmore are all gone, and the remaining McCourty twin (Devin), is 34 years old. Gardner is the type of guy Bill Belichick would fall in love with, and with JC Jackson looking like a bright spark, that’s a duo to be proud of if you can make it happen.

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