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CB Sauce Gardner Selected to The Sporting News' First -Team All-Pro

Jets Second-Year Defender Adds Honor to Pro Bowl, AP All-Pro Selections


The postseason awards continue to roll in for Jets CB Sauce Gardner who has been named a First Team All-Pro by The Sporting News.

Gardner, the No. 10 selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, in his first two seasons has been named to two Pro Bowls, became the first cornerback since the AFL/NFL merger to be named to The Associated Press First -Team All-Pro in each of his first two seasons and has earned The Sporting News' First Team All-Pro honor twice.

Since entering the league, Gardner has been open about his goals of earning postseason accolades. But what separates the Cincinnati product from his peers has been his laser-like focus once he gets between the white lines.

"I love this game, I honor it so much," Gardner said. "I always have fun when I am out there on the field. I don't think about all that other stuff when I am out there. As I said, if I am out there and the ball comes my way, don't let the guy catch the ball. If I can pick it, pick it. If I can't pick it, then just don't let the guy catch the ball."

After leading the NFL in pass defenses (20) as a rookie, opposing QBs learned their lesson in 2023 as Gardner was targeted 31 fewer times (55) and registered 11 pass defenses this season. In 583 coverage snaps, he allowed 31 completions for 251 yards (0.4 yards allowed per coverage snap).

"Some of the great players in this league, people just avoid them," defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said. "Those players can get bored. I haven't felt that from Sauce, to tell you the truth. He likes to talk, he's always got great energy, he's always engaged. I haven't seen that. But it's something that could happen to a guy like himself when people avoid him at all costs."

Gardner, last season's Defensive Rookie of the Year, started 16 games, registered 57 tackles, 3 tackles for loss and was Pro Football Focus's No. 3-rated cornerback (88.6). He also received the top coverage grade at his position (90.8). After an extraordinary first two seasons, Gardner is still looking for ways to keep getting better heading into 2024.

"Everything I did already, I got to put more work into it," Gardner said. "There's going to be somebody working as hard as I worked last year. I have to take it to the next level."

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