Blewett’s Blitz breaks down the film to show the New York Jets fan why Sauce Gardner is as good an NFL cornerback prospect as it gets.
What has a first name that’s essential, a last name mirroring a well-respected profession, and soon to become elite?
The answer? Sauce Gardner.
The man the kid call “Sauce” not only brings a swaggerish personality to the Big Apple, but he also delivers the goods (not just canned goods). The New York Jets‘ newest young cornerback has the traits and the head to become an elite NFL cornerback, and his collegiate tape showcases exactly why that’s the case.
Jets fans collectively entered the 2022 NFL draft with one crucial question: How are the Jets going to solve their near-two-decade drought at edge rusher?
The full subscriber Sauce Gardner film review can be seen at the bottom of this article (if you're a subscriber and logged in).
Whether the answer came at pick No. 4 or 10, it didn’t necessarily matter, as long as the Jets landed that sought-after position. This led many to evaluate the top four or five edge rushers in the class—to determine if any were worth the fourth overall selection.
The general consensus landed Aidan Hutchinson, Travon Walker and Kayvon Thibodeaux (Jermaine Johnson should not have been an option that early) as legitimate options, if available, at the fourth-overall pick.
Of course, in spite of the desperate need opposite Carl Lawson, EDGE was no guarantee. Could Joe Douglas continue his high investment trend into the offensive line?
The top three picks came and went, seeing Travon Walker, Aidan Hutchinson and Derek Stingley Jr. fly off the board.
Surely, the Jets wouldn’t go in any opposite direction of the all-important trenches with some highly-rated “trench” players on the board in Ikem Ekwonu, Evan Neal and Kayvon Thibodeaux … right?
The Jets selected my second overall prospect in the 2022 NFL draft, Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, the kid offers elite size, testing numbers and above all, the tape that backs up his future NFL play.
Many mistakenly thought the Jets didn’t value cornerback. Why? Is Sauce worth the pick? What does he need to improve upon?
These questions and many more are answered on the latest and extremely “Saucy” edition of Blewett’s Blitz.
YouTube clip and podcast episode
Strengths and weaknesses
- Size at 6-foot-3
- Overall athleticism
- Eats up space pre-snap when in press
- Fluidity for size
- Plays ball well
- Thrives in press
- Plays shuffle/bail well
- Willing in run game
- Stays square overall
- Gets shuffles in while in press
- Seems to love football
- Doesn’t rely on same technique every rep
- Quick hands
- Lateral movement
- Plays both aggressive and soft press
- Played both sides of field and some reps in slot
- Seems to be a good communicator
- Patient feet
- Patient hands
- Solid drive on ball for size
- Uses sideline well/squeezes
- In zone is aware of other threats outside his assignment
- Physical enough to blitz
- Fight to maintain contact during route stem
- Eyes low pre-snap
- Smooth hip transitions
- Fights to have hands-on during reps
- Shows reps of alternating hands in coverage
- Changes approach in press
- Aggression vs taking on blocks
- When press doesn’t go his way do a good job hedging bet over top while also not over committing
- Bails with good leverage and eyes
- When initially beat gets back in with slingshot near hand with opposite hip rotations to match vert
- Will show blitz on boundary when not blitzing
- Alternates punches
- Played in slot, asked to do pretty much everything
- Communicates well during zone reps
- Works to have hands-on in routes, helping him feel any sudden more or change
- Safe angles when asked to speed turn
- Lanky, light for height
- Needs work on tackling technique
- Can be SLIGHTLY grabby
- Want to see more knee bend pre-snap, eliminating big steps post-snap
- Hands can be low/drop
- Could read/anticipate breaks better
- Can look back to QB too early while not tight in man assignment
- Zone turn can look into the backfield too much and lose track of WR
- Can work to re-route in cloud assignment
- Has to be careful shooting two hands from a distance
- Can jump split
- Can soft shoe into no man’s land
- Can be over aggressive with run game angles
- Would like to see more tight angles when shuffling
- Has to use space to sideline better when pressing
- Would like to see a more consistent kick step
- Can shoot two hands at improper times
- Tackling technique
Full Jet X Subscriber Sauce Gardner film review
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