It would have been a fun story and he would have filled a big need, but Dan Campbell says the Lions never really considered taking Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner No. 2 overall back in April.
The Detroit Lions were going to have Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner in for a pre-draft visit last spring, but travel issues derailed that. Since he’s a Detroit native, it would’ve been a fun story if they’d drafted him. As one of the top cornerbacks, if not the top cornerback, in the draft, that was probably going to mean taking him No. 2 overall.
The Lions of course took Aidan Hutchinson second overall, while the New York Jets took Gardner at No. 4. A Lions secondary that has struggled, especially at cornerback this side of Jeff Okudah, could certainly use some “Sauce” as Gardner has instantly become one of the best corners in the NFL.
Gardner leads the league with 16 pass breakups, with two interceptions and a 52.2 completion percentage allowed in his coverage (via Pro Football Reference).
With the Lions traveling to take on the Jets this weekend, Gardner is a natural topic as a bit of a draft “what if.”
Dan Campbell says Lions never seriously considered drafting Sauce Gardner
On Wednesday, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Lions head coach Dan Campbell was asked about Gardner.
"We thought about a lot of different guys, but I never really felt it went there for (general manager) Brad (Holmes) and myself,” Campbell said. “We felt pretty comfortable with where we wanted to go with it.”He’s a heck of a football player,” Campbell said of Gardner. “And we loved his length, we thought he was pretty smart and pretty crafty. He was aggressive, runs pretty good. Obviously, had a — his resume in college covering pretty good receivers was, it was about as good as you can get. But he fits perfect that defense. I mean, he’d fit perfect in just about any defense. But he’s really grown. He’s really grown. He’s become a pretty dang good corner out there.”"
The Lions have no regrets about taking Hutchinson, and Jets have Gardner. Safe to say it worked out for both.