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Jets CBs Sauce Gardner and DJ Reed crack top-10 list | Sporting News

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The Jets’ defense has been one of the best in the league over the past two years. A lot of that has to do with cornerbacks Sauce Gardner and DJ Reed. This duo is giving opposing teams’ quarterbacks nightmares over the past two seasons and looked especially deadly in 2023.

In 31 games together, Reed and Sauce have combined for 288 total tackles, 53 pass deflections and four interceptions. The duo has allowed 1,797 total yards with an average of  57.96 yards a game and has only allowed four touchdowns. As such, Pro Football Network ranked them both as top-10 cornerbacks in the NFL. Gardner took the No. 1 spot, while Reed finished No. 10.

The Jets’ defense ranks among the best
in the NFL following the 2024 NFL Draft. New York added some more beef in the offseason. They traded for edge rusher Haason Reddick signed former first-round pick defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, safety Chuck Clark who tore his ACL in June of last year, returned and then the Jets drafted cornerback Qwan’tez Stiggers from the CFL
. That, combined with Gardner and Reed, should make for another sensational defensive year for New York.

Here’s how Gardner and Reed ascended to the top of the NFL at their position.

Jets CBs Sauce Gardner and DJ Reed crack top-10 list

No. 1 Sauce Gardner

Gardner has been one of the NFL’s best defenders since coming into the league in 2022 as the No. 4 overall pick out of Cincinnati. He won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2022 and was the first rookie cornerback named All-Pro since the legendary Ronnie Lott in 1981. He was also named to his first Pro Bowl in 2023 and an All-Pro for the second year in a row this past season.

Gardner has put up some crazy numbers since he was drafted: 132 total tackles, 32 pass deflections and two interceptions. Don’t let the interception number fool you, quarterbacks rarely throw to Gardner.

His overall PFF grade is 88.6 with a coverage grade of 90.8. He also allowed a passer rating of just 76.5. Gardner has been the best cornerback in the NFL since his rookie season and with the new weapons and a new look offense with Aaron Rodgers; Gardner should reach his ultimate potential. 

No. 10 DJ Reed

Reed has been a stud for the Jets since coming here in 2022. He’s tallied 156 total tackles, two forced fumbles, two interceptions and 21 pass deflections. Reed has a PFF overall grade of 77.9 with a pass coverage grade of 79.5 and has allowed a passer rating of 85.5. His aggressive style of play and voice of leadership are a key piece of this Jets defense.

Reed is also the NFL’s highest-graded defender when playing the right cornerback position since entering the NFL in 2018. The Jets signed Reed to a three-year deal worth $33 million in the 2022 offseason and could be in for another payday soon.

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