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Sauce Gardner Brings Needed Excitement to Jets Defense

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Back in 2012, the Jets were entering a time of flux after a .500 year in 2011. In the prior couple of years, the team made back to back AFC Championships led by the dynamic Darrelle Revis. After an offseason that saw Revis threaten to holdout, an ACL injury in Week 3 would bring Revis’ first tenure with the Jets to a close. Since his departure, the Jets defense has lacked that incredible talent in their prime at the cornerback position. The team swung and missed in the 2013 draft with Dee Milner and while Revis eventually returned to Gang Green, he was no longer the player he once was. However, things changed for the Jets this offseason with the addition of Ahmed “Sauce” Gardner to the Jets Defense.

Disappointing Drafts Left Holes in Defense

Unfortunately for the Jets, after they drafted Revis, the Jets struggled with their top selections, especially when targeting defensive players. 2010 brought the team Kyle Wilson, but the former Boise State defender struggled to adapt in the NFL. The following two years saw the team target defensive linemen with the additions of Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples. Finally, 2013 saw the team bring in Millner and Sheldon Richardson again both in the first round.

While Richardson and Wilkerson had some solid moments with the Jets, the defense as a whole still struggled. Realizing the secondary and linebackers needed help, the team brought in hard-hitting safety Calvin Pryor in 2014, but like Wilson, he would leave New York without a second contract. 2015 saw the team again focus on the d-line with Leonard Williams and 2016 saw linebacker Darron Lee join the team. However, once again neither player earned a second contract with the team.

Finally, the Jets addressed the secondary in 2017 with the selection of Jamal Adams in the 1st and Marcus Maye at the top of the 2nd. Sam Darnold joined the team in 2018 while Quinnen Williams joined in 2019, as the final player selected in the first round for the Jets defense before the selection of Sauce Gardner.

What Sauce Gardner Brings to the Jets Defense

During his time in college, Gardner amazingly didn’t allow a touchdown in pass coverage. Gardner joined Cincinnati as a three-star recruit and quickly made a name for himself by starting 11 games in his true-freshman season. A standout sophomore year led to Gardner gaining some national attention while finally his senior year saw the Bearcats finish the season in the College Football Playoffs. During his time in college, his dominant pass defense while intercepting 3 passes each season saw Sauce Gardner’s name rise up on most draft boards.

Gardner joins a Jets defense that lacked a top cornerback atop the depth chart. The team did draft Bryce Hall and Brandin Echols last season but both are likely better suited as rotational pieces. Meanwhile, the Jets brought in former Seahawk DJ Reed as well as Gardner to revamp their secondary. Early in the offseason, Reed was blown away by Gardner’s professionalism and his swagger has lead to rising expectations from the Jets faithful.

How do you think Sauce Gardner will fit in the Jets defense? Let us know in the comments below!

Main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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