Giants Seen as ‘Best’ Fit for DPOY College CB

Sauce Gardner

Getty Sauce Gardner is one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL draft.

With two of first 10 picks in the upcoming NFL draft, the New York Giants have been hosting numerous top talents, including Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, who visited with the Giants on April 12, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network.

Gardner, 22, has seen his stock rise since his impressive performance at the NFL combine and now appears to be a top 10 selection. The Giants, who hold the fifth and seventh overall picks, appear to have had a “strong interest” in Gardner dating back to late March, according to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano.

And one analyst can see why, calling Gardner and the Giants a “best fit” for each other.

“Regardless of the NFL team he ends up with, Gardner will have to get used to playing more off-zone than he did in college,” wrote Pro Football Focus’ Anthony Treash in a story published April 12. “But if he lands with either the Giants or Jets, his transition to the pros would be as smooth as can be.”

Gardner played three seasons for the Cincinnati Bearcats, racking up 99 total tackles along with 3.5 sacks and nine interceptions, and he scored two touchdowns along the way. Notably, he also allowed zero touchdowns en route to being named a consensus All-American.

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Aside from his All-American recognition, Gardner compiled numerous accolades, including being named the 2021 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He also was named to the All-AAC first team in each of his three college seasons.

Gardner Seen as Logical Fit With Wink Martindale

The Giants, of course, will face stiff competition for Gardner. A Detroit native, Gardner has been projected by Heavy analyst and former Miami Dolphins general manager Mike Tannenbaum as a fit for the Detroit Lions, who have the second overall pick. Other notable mock drafts project Gardner going fourth to the New York Jets, second to the Lions and seventh to the Giants.

If Gardner does fall to the Giants, he could fit right in with new defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale’s restructuring of the unit. Having already brought in some of Martindale’s former players, the Giants seems eager to follow his direction in this rebuilding of the once-vaunted defense. Tom Rock of Newsday described Gardner’s playing style as going “hand-in-hand with the coaching philosophies of … Martindale.”

In a scheme that relies heavily on the blitz, a cornerback of Gardner’s talent and speed could excel. At the combine, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds.

Gardner Feels Like Logical Bradberry Replacement

Another reason Gardner might appear attractive to the Giants is their tenuous relationship with their current star cornerback, James Bradberry.

Bradberry, a 28-year-old former Pro Bowler, appears to be on the outs in New York, according to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, with trade partners already being speculated. If Bradberry is indeed traded, the blow of his departure would be softened by Gardner’s arrival.

The Giants have been working out various players slated to go toward the top of the draft, including Aidan Hutchinson, Ikem Ekwonu, Tyler Smith, Evan Neal and Kayvon Thibodeaux.

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