The New York Jets selected cornerback Ahmad Gardner with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and in him, Joe Douglas and Co. found a confident defensive back who has been one of the best at his position in college football over the past few years. Gardner, who is better known by his “Sauce” moniker, said before the draft that he feels like he’s “the chosen one.” In fact, that will be his jersey number in the NFL.
Gardner paid cornerback and fellow newcomer D.J. Reed $50,000 for the right to wear No. 1. Sauce wore the jersey numbers 12 and 1 during his three seasons at Cincinnati. He was named First Team All-AAC all three seasons, and recorded 40 total tackles, four passes defended and three interceptions to go along with a career-high three sacks during the 2021 campaign, finishing his collegiate career as the AAC Defensive Player of the Year.
Gardner said before the draft that “there’s no way” he can be a bust, and that him not panning out in the league shouldn’t even be an option. Sauce has the seventh-shortest odds to win Defensive Rookie of the Year, according to Caesars Sportsbook, at +1000.