The 2021 NFL draft ended three days ago and you can already find your fair share of mock drafts for the 2022 class. Some people may find this as more enjoyable content while others see this type of behavior and probably think it verges on psychopathic.
Either way, it’s more content to discuss and that’s what matters to me!
In a way-too-early mock by The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, the Chargers selected Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad Gardner at No. 17-overall (order based on current Super Bowl odds). A lengthy 6’2, 188-pound defender, Garnder exhibits the aggressiveness and competitive nature in man coverage that Brandon Staley covets at the position.
Here’s what Brugler had to say about the selection:
“A 6-foot-2 corner out of Detroit, Gardner had an All-American true freshman season in 2019 and had another strong year as a sophomore, collecting three interceptions each season. His competitive temperament gets the bet of him at times and penalties have been a problem, but his coverage grades stand out.”
Tryin to watch WR Tre Nixon— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) August 24, 2020
But, Ahmad Gardner
If Derek Stingley wasn’t so damn good - we’d be talking more about these freshman last yr! Ahmad Gardner & Tiawan Mullen & Kaiir Elam & Mykael Wright & Tykee Smith & Chris Steele & Trent McDuffe - absolutely insane 2019 CB Class pic.twitter.com/5jLIICcTuv
As a true freshman in 2019, Gardner was lightning in a bottle for an ascending Bearcats team that finished 10-2 during the regular. He returned two of his three interceptions for touchdowns and both plays happened in games where Cincy managed to win by a field goal (Eastern Carolina and UCF).
To me, that’s genuine instincts and natural play-making ability.
Chris Harris Jr. is likely gone after this season and the Chargers will need to reinforce the position once more, so don’t be surprised to see Garnder’s name get brought up a lot with the Bolts when next year’s draft season rolls around.