The New York Jets selected corner Sauce Gardner with the fourth pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. He has yet to take an official NFL snap yet, but the rookie has left an impression on Jets head coach Robert Saleh.
Saleh joined Andrew Siciliano and Shaun O’Hara of the NFL Network on Friday when the rookie corner came up in conversation. The Jets head coach mentioned that Gardner was not a shy player on the gridiron.
“He’s got a mindset and a chip on his shoulder,” Saleh began. “I’ve never seen a rookie talk so much trash, but it’s good.”
The Jets head coach mentioned that Gardner is, in fact, good at trash talking. “He’s an interesting young man,” Saleh concluded.
The praise for Gardner didn’t stop there. Saleh praised Gardner’s progress throughout the training camp and is excited to see how the top-five pick can contribute to his defense in 2022.
“Love where he’s at mentally,” the Jets coach told NFL Network. “He obviously has a long way to go in terms of understanding the game and all that stuff. But he’s a sponge and he’s taking it all in. We’re really happy with the entire secondary and where it’s going.”
The Jets rookie corner was a part of history in his final collegiate season. Gardner’s Cincinnati Bobcats were the first non-Power Five team to reach the College Football Playoff last season. They lost to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the semi-finals.
Gardner was an All-American last year and was named the American Athletic Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year. He didn’t allow a receiving touchdown throughout his three years in college.
Saleh hopes Gardner is the first piece of a defense that will help turn the fortunes for the Jets franchise around.