Sauce is widely viewed as the top corner prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. The 21-year-old played for one of the very best defenses in college football over the past three years. During that stretch, he logged nine interceptions, 16 passes defensed, and two defensive touchdowns.
The Eagles currently have a need at cornerback with no proven starter across from Darius Slay. It’s possible they’ll re-sign Steve Nelson, who is still on the market. But even if they do, the 29-year-old is hardly a long-term solution.
Those hoping the Eagles will land Sauce might be disappointed. There’s a lot of buzz that he’ll go well before Philly’s first selection at No. 15. Consider that Gardner is also reportedly visiting with the Detroit Lions (No. 2), New York Jets (No. 4 and No. 10), the New York Giants (No. 5 and No. 7), and the Seattle Seahawks (No. 9).
Philly doesn’t lack the ammo to trade up if they really love Gardner. But that might not be the most realistic outcome considering how the Eagles’ defensive system has been cornerback-friendly. Do they really need to sink more premium resources into this position?
Scouting report via NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein:
Long, lean and linear, Gardner’s physical and football growth are on full display when comparing his 2019 tape to 2021. He’s highly competitive with a confidence level that will be labeled as cocky by some evaluators. “Sauce” uses length and hand activity to impose his will on the release and stall the route on the tarmac. Staying connected to the route is a priority, which leads to grabbing when he feels it slipping away but that can be corrected by improving his footwork and trusting his technique. His movements lack fluidity, but he’s urgent and aggravating in man-to-man, which could become a deterrent for NFL quarterbacks scanning to his side of the field if he can avoid a big spike in penalties as he adjusts to NFL officiating. Gardner has the traits and demeanor to become a highly effective CB1 within his first couple of seasons.
NFL Comparison: Richard Sherman
Spider graph via Mockdraftable:
Complete list of known Philadelphia Eagles draft visits
Cincinnati CB Ahmad ‘Sauce” Gardner