2022 NFL Draft: Ahmad Gardner Scouting Report

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Ahmad Gardner NFL Draft Overview

Position: Cornerback

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 188 pounds

School: Cincinnati

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Ahmad Gardner 2022 NFL Draft Profile

Ahmad Gardner played high school football at Martin Luther King High School. In his senior season, he helped lead his team to a state title when he recorded two receiving touchdowns in the championship game. That same season he was a First-Team All-State and All-Detroit selection.

In three seasons at Cincinnati Ahmad Gardner had 99 tackles (68 solo, 5.5 for a loss), 3.5 sacks, and nine interceptions. In 2019, 2020, and 2021 Gardner was named First-Team All-American. In 2021 he was the AAC Defensive Player of the Year, a consensus All-American and a Jim Thorpe Award Semifinalist.

Sauce, as he called, will be one of the first cornerbacks off the board in this year’s draft and it is possible he gets selected within the first five picks. Per PFF, since 2019, Gardner has played 115 coverage snaps in the Red Zone, and he has allowed just one catch and a 0.0 passer rating. In 2021 he allowed only 6.6 yards per reception, and he did not allow a touchdown during his entire college career. That is incredibly impressive. And his football IQ and willingness to do whatever is needed, allow him to assist in the run game or help out a fellow defensive back when he knows the play is not coming his way.

Strengths

  • Good athleticism
  • Exceptional length
  • Impressive initial burst
  • Tremendous explosiveness
  • Great natural instincts
  • High football IQ
  • Good vision
  • Sound tackler
  • Competitive
  • Has a long stride
  • Excellent ball skills
  • Fairly fluid athlete
  • Provides flexibility; can line up in the slot or out wide and can play on special teams

Weaknesses

  • Needs to show more discipline to limit penalties
  • Should continue to work on his footwork
  • Must add bulk to his frame and increase his strength
  • Coming from a mid-major program

NFL Comparison: A combination of Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman

Teams With Need at Position: Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Commanders, Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers

Projection: Early in the first round

Bottom Line on Ahmad Gardner

Ahmad Gardner is exceptional in man coverage, and he can also play in zone coverages. He has good vision, instincts, and ball skills. Gardner possesses many of the attributes needed to be a successful cornerback at the pro level. The NFL organization that drafts him will be extremely happy with what he brings to the table. But the team and Gardner will have to work on him adding bulk and improving his strength.

He might not have played against the top talent in the country on a weekly basis while in college since he played at a mid-major, but Gardner has the traits and skills to be successful in the NFL. And a team is going to draft him early in the first round and give him a chance to prove he can be a difference-maker at the professional level.

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