Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati or Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
As the roster stands right now, the New York Jets’ cornerback group consists of a handful of former Day-3 draft picks. Bryce Hall, Michael Carter II, and DJ Reed were all fifth rounders, while Brandin Echols was taken last year in the sixth. The team is long overdue to invest in the corner position and the 2022 NFL Draft is the perfect opportunity to hit big.
The two consensus top corners in the draft are Cincinnati’s Ahamad Gardner and LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr. Both fit the bill as CB1 types at the next level as each of the two stars excel on the boundary and have some truly elite tools to work with.
Gardner is a long-armed, competitive press corner with great ball skills, as proven by his 9 career interceptions with the Bearcats. Stingley is a premier athlete with superb instincts that can play inside and out. I think the New York Jets would be thrilled if either of these two stars fell into their laps with their 10th overall pick.
The Dark Horse
Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
There is a legitimate possibility that if the New York Jets pass on corner at fourth overall, then each of the two corners listed above could be nabbed before they’re able to turn their card in at 10. If that ends up being the case, then Washington’s Trent McDuffie could be their consolation prize.
Although not a household name like Gardner and Stingley, McDuffie has been quickly rising up draft boards of late. In three years with the Huskies, McDuffie proved to be a versatile, reliable option in the secondary. He’s got terrific quickness, always has his head on a swivel, and is as willing a tackler in the run game as you will find in this class. Ideally, you would prefer to trade down if it comes to this scenario but if they can’t find a partner and like McDuffie enough, don’t be surprised to see the New York Jets role the dice.