Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner is not among the popular options with the No. 2 overall pick, but the Detroit Lions will still have him in for a pre-draft visit.
When considering the prominent options for the Detroit Lions with the second overall pick in the draft, the list includes Aidan Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Kyle Hamilton and Malik Willis. Ikem Ekwonu is even getting a little buzz. But what about Ahmad Gardner?
Better known as “Sauce”, Gardner, the former Cincinnati Bearcats’ cornerback, is a Detroit native and a widely projected top-10 pick in this year’s draft. According to Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson, the Lions will have Gardner in for a pre-draft visit in the coming weeks.
"Gardner, 21, has top-30 visits with the New York Jets, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions, and Seattle Seahawks, according to league sources. He has already met privately with Texans coach Lovie Smith, per sources, at the Cincinnati Pro Day workout where he stood on his NFL Combine testing numbers. He also met with the Giants, Jets, and New Orleans Saints at his pro day."
NFL teams are allowed to have 30 players in for pre-draft visits, hence the reference to “top-30 visits.” But as suggested by Kyle Meinke of MLive, since he’s from Detroit Gardner could qualify as a local visit and not count among the Lions’ allotted 30 pre-draft visits.
2022 NFL Draft: Ahmad Gardner profiles as a shutdown corner
Gardner allowed just 131 yards last season and 6.6 yards per reception last season. During his career at Cincinnati (1,059 snaps–three seasons), he allowed zero touchdowns with a 31.8 passer rating allowed. He has good size (6-foot-3, 190 pounds), and he ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. At the combine, he spoke to the mentality of a physical shutdown corner.
"I’m a leader,” Gardner said. “I’m very competitive. I love the game of football. I’m very physical. I like to get hands on receivers, you know, just make sure I lead by example with my teammates. I love it, I love being on an island. You know, I ain’t got to worry about nobody else but my man, you know. It’s cool. I can play man, zone, but I love playing press man for sure. My competitive spirit my love for the game. You know, I truly believe I’m the best cornerback."
Realistically, Gardner is not on the Lions’ radar with the second overall pick. But if they were to trade down, on the idea a quarterback-hungry team makes an offer they can’t refuse, then “Sauce” would land among the possible options.