Las Vegas Raiders 2022 Mock Draft: New CB1 And WR Upgrades
Round 1, 14th Overall: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
It’ll be interesting to see if the Las Vegas Raiders make any changes on defense in the offseason. Bradley primarily runs a lot of cover-3, which is a defense that’s fallen out of favor (the two games against the Chiefs can show why). However, Yannick Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby’s rush success has helped the defense out, and it’s a wonder how much the corner play and young safeties are limiting the impact.
The Raiders go after their next CB1 here in Cincinnati’s Ahmad Gardner. Gardner has had a phenomenal career with the Bearcats, which includes not allowing a touchdown in three seasons, as well as nine career interceptions and 18 pass breakups.
Gardner is a prototypical zone corner, as he can close quickly from off-coverage and offer plenty of help in run support. His closing speed is good and he’s tough and physical in coverage throughout the rep, especially at the catch point. He’s opportunistic when the ball is in the air as well.
The real question for Gardner is the transition skills and his tendency to grab receivers. He isn’t the most fluid and can grab if he’s threatened by quickness and speed. Keeping him in zone where he can thrive makes sense, and if Bradley stays, it could be a good fit here.