Heading into the 2021 College Football season, Cincinnati Bearcats corner Ahmad ‘ Sauce’ Gardner was adamant that he’d be the top cornerback selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. With the Las Vegas event less than two months away, Gardner has put himself in a fantastic position to deliver upon his promise. In this 2022 NFL Draft scouting report, we’ll breakdown the strengths and weaknesses of Ahmad Gardner, along with his 40 time and 2022 NFL Scouting Combine results.
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Ahmad Gardner 40 Time
Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner ran a 4.41 at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. When compared to the league average, Gardner’s 40 time is slightly quicker. In fact, the league average for the cornerback position is 4.47 seconds. On film, Ahmad Gardner is able to stay with defenders and play tight coverage throughout the opponent’s route.
Ahmad Gardner NFL Combine Results
Arm: 33 1/2
Hands: 9 5/8
Wingspan: 79 3/8
40 Time: 4.41
Vertical Jump: DNP
Broad Jump: DNP
Ahmad Gardner Scouting Report
- Elite Play Recognition At The Line Of Scrimmage
- Capable Of Playing Tight Coverage Throughout Most Routes
- Fantastic Range To attack Ball Carrier From Intermediate Distance
- Can Struggle Against Double-Moves Outside The Numbers
- Needs To Improve His Punch And Timing At The Line Of Scrimmage
- Labors At The Point Of Attack To Leverage Ball In Traffic
Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner is a three-year contributor for the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. He typically plays the outside corner position, but can cover the slot position as well. Gardner has good height and solid weight for the cornerback position when compared to the league average. Additionally, his official 40 time of 4.41 at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine is slightly quicker than the league average.
Gardner has an elite ability to stay in tight coverage throughout an opponent’s route, even those in the redzone. A testament of this is the fact that Gardner did not give up a touchdown throughout his collegiate career. Able to locate and attack the ball quickly in space due in part to his excellent change of direction abilities. At the line of scrimmage, Gardner is elite in his ability to diagnose plays quickly. Displays good get off to shed blocks and attack the ball carrier when out in space. Good tackling ability in space and rarely misses his tackles. Features great range to attack the ball carrier from intermediate distances. Finally, when blitzing from the corner, he has good timing and speed to penetrate the pocket quickly and attack the quarterback.
However, there are some areas in which Sauce Gardner needs to improve upon. He will occasionally struggle to keep receivers in front of him when double-moves and stop-N-go routes are utilized. At the line of scrimmage, I’d like to see him become more aggressive in his punch and attack with his hands to disrupt the timing of the receiver. He’s likely to struggle to leverage the ball at the point of attack when facing tight ends and bigger wide receivers. Finally, he can struggle to finish tackles when facing twitchy playmakers in space.
Ahmad Gardner NFL Draft Projection
In my opinion, Ahmad Gardner is the top cornerback in this draft class. When compared to someone like Derek Stingley Jr, who has relied so heavily on his 2019 tape, Gardner has delivered throughout his career. This is evident in our Top 200 Big Board Prospect Rankings, which has Gardner predicted to come off the board in the first round. In fact, I think it’s possible that we see the former Bearcat come off the board in the top ten as the first cornerback.
Gardner has elite traits that will help him succeed at the next-level. I fully expect him to be able to start in the NFL from day one. With that being said, I would like to see him be more aggressive at the line of scrimmage with his hands to disrupt the timing between the quarterback and the wide receiver. Additionally, I’d like to see him put himself in better positions to make plays at the point of attack. However, I do believe that these are all things that can be cleaned up with coaching.