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2022 NFL Draft: Does Lovie Smith Love Sauce Gardner?

The Texans’ head coach had a private meeting with the standout cornerback.

NFL Combine Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

With so many focused on the Top Five pending draftees in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft, the overall depth of this class can get overlooked from time to time. When that happens, a lot of special players get lost in the, well, sauce...

Cincinnati Bearcat Sauce Gardner is not one of them.

While there’s been a lot of chatter around safety Kyle Hamilton (arguably the best safety prospect to come along in a while) and cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., Gardner has come on strong of late. Even more so after a very solid Pro Day yesterday. He certainly doesn’t lack the confidence necessary to achieve at the next level.

Talk is cheap, as they say, but stats speak volumes.

Pay attention to that part about how many touchdowns Gardner allowed in his college career.

ZERO.

While spending the third overall pick on Gardner is a big reach, grabbing him at #13 wouldn’t be. That is, if he was still available. PFF has Gardner at #9 on their Big Board. While that seldom translates to actual draft slot, it does make Gardner a top ten prospect in next month’s draft.

If Houston were to trade out of the third slot, they could potentially work a deal with the New York Giants, who hold the seventh overall pick, or the Atlanta Falcons at #8. Both teams are in need of a quarterback. Either one might want to move up to take Liberty University’s Malik Willis.

If Nick Caserio plays his cards right, he could land a cornerback who holds down the CB1 slot in Houston for the next decade.