"Sauce" is well aware of "The Island." And if you know what that means, you know the Jets did very well in drafting cornerback Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner high in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night.
"When I think about the Jets, I think about Darrelle Revis," Gardner told Jets reporters after being selected by the Green & White fourth overall. "He used to be just one of my favorite cornerbacks in the league. I still watch him to this day."
Watch him, of course, on video, even as recently as in the past several weeks.
"Most definitely, he was a competitor," Gardner said. "I was just watching tape of him vs. Calvin Johnson. He was one of the only guys that was able to shut Calvin down. So that took a lot."
Revis, fans will recall, held the almost always unstoppable Lions wideout to four targets and one catch for 13 yards, a vital element of the Jets' 23-20 overtime win at Detroit in November 2010. It was one of the many success stories of top wideouts disappearing without much of a trace on "Revis Island" all that year and for several more seasons to come.
Gardner came to the Jets with his moniker, which he's had since his youth football days when he was a mere 6 years old, so he won't have to earn that in the pros. But he will have to show that he can survive and thrive against the AFC East's current crop of dangerous wideouts that already included Stefon Diggs in Buffalo and this offseason welcomed Tyreek Hill to Miami.
But Gardner showed absolutely no trepidation about these new assignments. In fact, that was one of the most interesting aspects of his introduction to the New York Market as a member of the Jets. He came in with the name, the rep, the No. 1 uniform in his last season at Cincinnati. But he sure sounded like the hardest, most modest worker down on the Jets' corner.
"Oh, yeah, most definitely," he said, short and sweet, of the challenges ahead. "I'm just going to keep working hard so that way I'll be able to handle those tough tasks, you know?"
He also clearly didn't sound like a CB prima donna when he made the point — twice — of talking about how he'll treat his new teammates on the Jets.
"I have a great personality," he said. "I'm one of the guys that it's easy to get along with me. I don't feel I'm too good for anyone. I make sure I inspire others and lead by example. So I feel my personality will fit in well with New York."
But that doesn't mean Sauce won't offer up a healthy helping of confidence every once in a while. In the days before the draft, he said he thought of himself as the top pick in the draft. And when queried about whether he can continue his streak of no touchdowns allowed in three seasons of college ball now that he's in the NFL, he didn't bat an eye.
"I feel like I can," he said. "I make sure I put all the extra work in, studying film leading up to the game, doing all the little things right, staying consistent with my technique. And I just feel like that was the result of it. I feel like I'll be able to keep it up."
No brag. Just Sauce.