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Jets Sauce Gardner Rated NFL's No. 1 Cornerback by Pro Football Focus

Seven Jets Placed in the Top 10 at their Respective Position in Annual Rankings


Sauce Gardner of the Jets was named the top cornerback ahead of the 2024 NFL season in Pro Football Focus's annual position rankings. In all, the Jets had seven players in the top 10 at their respective positions.

Gardner followed up his stellar rookie season by becoming the first CB since the AFL/NFL merger to be named an The Associated Press first team All-Pro in each of his first two seasons. He earned a second trip to the Pro Bowl after recording 11 pass defenses, 55 tackles and allowing 31 completions for 251 yards.

"Gardner had arguably the most impressive start to a career for a cornerback in NFL history," PFF senior analyst John Kosko said. "Having quickly transformed the Jets secondary into the best unit in the NFL, the Jets star has earned a 92.1 coverage grade and allowed only 0.53 yards per coverage snap over the last two years, both of which rank first among all cornerbacks in the league."

On offense, four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers was rated the eighth best quarterback. Running back Breece Hall and left tackle Tyron Smith were both seventh at their positions. Rodgers still managed to garner respect from PFF despite sustaining a torn Achilles tendon four plays into last year's season opener. Hall, coming off a torn ACL at the start of last season, recorded 1,585 scrimmage yards and 9 total touchdowns while Smith, signed from the Cowboys during the free agency, earned a second team All-Pro selection last year after starting 13 games in 2023-24.

"If you don't take the toll of Father Time too far into consideration, Rodgers won MVP in 2020 and 2021, so just one season of play separates him from that back-to-back run," PFF NFL Draft analyst Trevor Sikkema wrote. "If he's fully healthy, he has to remain a top-10 quarterback heading into the year. His résumé demands it until we see otherwise."

PFF senior analyst Zoltan Buday added: "Although Tyron Smith had to miss games due to injury, the 942 snaps he played in 2023 were the most he has played in a season since 2018. He was at his best in pass protection, earning a PFF pass-blocking grade of 89.3 that led all offensive tackles."

For defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich's unit, in addition to Gardner, six of his players were ranked in the top 15. Interior lineman Quinnen Williams (No. 3), linebacker C.J. Mosley (No. 5) and Michael Carter II (No. 9) each were among the top 10 at their positions. Last season, Williams made his second consecutive Pro Bowl after totaling 5.5 sacks and Mosley posted his third-straight 150-plus tackle season with 152 tackles and 5 tackles for loss.

"Coming off a career year in which he earned a 90.6 PFF coverage grade at 31 years old, Mosley is enjoying a late-career second breakout after the beginning of his Jets tenure was hindered by injury and Covid-19," PFF NFL analyst Gordon McGuiness wrote. "He finished 2023 with 60 tackles resulting in a defensive stop and forced a pair of fumbles. Quinnen Williams was one of the most-disruptive defensive tackles in football. He has been a game-wrecker since breaking out in 2022. Over the past two seasons, only [Dexter] Lawrence and [Chris] Jones have more total pressures than his 122, and he has 74 defensive stops over that time, as well."

Take a look through some of the best photos of the Jets defensive lineman during the offseason.

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