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Former Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner is heading into the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday as a projected top 5 prospect but the 21-year-old defensive back believes he has the most to offer out of any player in this year’s draft class.
“I feel like I’m the chosen one,” he told NJ.com after an NFL charity event on Wednesday. “I feel like I’m the best in the draft. There’s no doubt about it. There’s no way I can be a bust. That shouldn’t even be an option.”
Cincinnati’s Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner tackles Tulsa QB Davis Brin on Nov. 6, 2021, at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. (James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
“I just feel like I can go on the field and dominate any receiver who lines up in front of me.”
A three-time first-team All-AAC selection, Gardner recorded 31 tackles in 14 games, returning two of his three interceptions for touchdowns as a freshman. The following season he registered 28 stops in nine games before finishing his final season with the Bearcats with 40 tackles, three interceptions, and four pass breakups, earning AAC Defensive Player of the Year accolades.
Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner runs during the Tulsa Golden Hurricane-Cincinnati Bearcats game on Nov. 6, 2021, at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. (James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Gardner shows no signs of slowing down when he reaches the pros and says his biggest motivation is looking back at the “past.”
“I don’t forget things, all the things I’ve been through in my past. That just keeps me going, especially my mom. I’ve got a great opportunity to be able to change her life. It’s bigger than just me.”
Sauce Gardner of the Cincinnati Bearcats runs a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 6, 2022, in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)