Ahmad Gardner NFL Draft 2022: Scouting Report for Cincinnati CB
HEIGHT: 6'2 3/4"
HAND: 9 5/8"
ARM: 33 1/2"
WINGSPAN: 6'7 3/8"
40-YARD DASH: 4.41
— Rangy athlete with excellent length, quick feet and a smooth pedal.
— Long strider who covers a lot of ground. Runs well when he gets to top speed.
— Able to play in both zone and man schemes. Has good vision and anticipation when in coverage.
— Does a very good job of getting hands on receivers to disrupt routes. Able to match speed to quickly get in phase sliding into the receiver's back pocket.
— Has very good short-area burst. Able to quickly get in and out of breaks.
— Has excellent ball skills. Able to calmly locate and play the ball in the air.
— Plays with good aggression in the run game. Quickly fills running lanes looking to wrap-tackle.
— Tackle security and physicality are a question. Can take poor angles at times and get overpowered.
— High pad level at times, leading to trouble sinking hips and getting out of breaks.
— Has some limitations when it comes to changing directions and playing double-moves.
— Unnecessary gambling and bad eyes at times.
13 G, 40 TOT, 5 TFL, 3 SK, 3 INT, 4 PBU
— 2021 AAC Defensive Player of the Year.
— 2021 Consensus All-American
— 2021 Jim Thorpe Award Semifinalist
Ahmad Gardner is a rare cornerback who possesses excellent length and athleticism. He is able to excel in man coverage, where he plays with good technique to get hands on receivers and the speed to carry them downfield.
Gardner has very good ball skills. He stays calm with the ball in the air and attacks the ball through the reception point. Although he is a fluid athlete, he struggles with pad level at times, particularly against twitchier players and double-moves.
Gardner is able to switch things up and play in zone coverages. With his vision and anticipation, he is able to play all threats with the proper leverage.
Gardner is a bit thin, which shows up in his tackling. Though he is aggressive and willing in the run game, he sometimes struggles to secure his tackles with bigger backs. He will have the opportunity to improve his lack of strength as he develops in the NFL, though. Gardner also played various special teams at Cincinnati, and he showed positional flexibility to play in the slot and out wide, giving great position flexibility and Special Teams ability.
Gardner is one of the top cornerbacks in this draft class, but since he's coming from a mid-major level program, he didn't always get to face the best competition week in and week out. The playoffs and possible All-Star practice will provide him a great opportunity to compete at the highest level in college football. He has the skills needed to succeed at the next level, he will just need to prove it on a consistent basis with top level athletes.
GRADE: 8.6 (1st Round - Impact Player)
OVERALL RANK: 11
POSITION RANK: CB2
PRO COMPARISON: Richard Sherman