One way or another, the New York Giants are looking to add a stud defensive piece in the 2022 NFL Draft. Having invested plenty of attention in Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux and Cincinnati cornerback Sauce Gardner, it seems as if management believes one of the two will fall into their laps.
Several weeks ago, Giants general manager Joe Shane met with Gardner after his Pro Day, taking him out to dinner and gauging his value on the draft board. One thing is for sure, Gardner doesn’t lack confidence, posting on Twitter that he is the best player in the 2022 NFL draft on Sunday.
Some teams may believe that is the case, which is why the Giants and Jets are both heavily intrigued by his talent.
According to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, the Giants and Jets are both high on Cincinnati cornerback Sauce Gardner:
Both New York teams have a strong interest in Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, and both teams will be bringing him in for one of their Top 30 pre-draft visits, according to an NFL source. And while an official visit doesn’t always mean a team is considering picking a player, Gardner is widely considered the best cornerback in the draft and is clearly in play for the Giants at picks 5 and 7 and the Jets at 4 and 10.
With Big Blue making a defensive transition to Wink Martindale’s scheme, the importance of aggressive man coverage style CBs is essential.
Martindale’s blitz-heavy scheme only works if the coverage holds up, and with the Giants preparing to trade James Bradberry, adding a quality, cost-controlled corner in the draft makes sense.
If the Giants do go that route, they would be paring Gardner with Adoree Jackson, who Dave Gettleman signed to a massive contract last off-season. That would give them two physical and quick corners with solid instincts. Normally, it takes young defensive backs time to adjust to the NFL, so having a great mentor in Jackson would be perfect for Gardner making a jump to the next level.
Looking at Gardner’s metrics, he stands at 6’3″ and 190 pounds. Posting a 4.41 official 40-yard dash, not only does he provide speed, but he also has long limbs and great ball skills.
Last season with Cincinnati, Sauce allowed just 6.6 yards per reception, according to PFF. While he might struggle to tackle early on in his career due to a lack of functional strength, he has the upside the Giants need in a corner long-term.