A CB at No. 2? ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has Detroit Lions 'Saucing' up first round

·2 min read

If you thought taking a cornerback at No. 3 two years ago was a reach, you'll want to avert your eyes at Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest mock draft.

Kiper, the ESPN analyst, mocked defensive backs to the Detroit Lions with their two first-round picks Wednesday, including Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner at No. 2.

Gardner has emerged as the top cornerback prospect in this year's draft.

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Ahmad Gardner (1) is a projected top-10 draft pick.
Ahmad Gardner (1) is a projected top-10 draft pick.

The Detroit King graduate did not allow a touchdown in his three seasons at Cincinnati, according to Pro Football Focus, and has ideal size and length at 6 feet 3 with 33 1/2-inch arms.

"Most teams I’ve talked to have Sauce Gardner as the first corner," ESPN analyst Todd McShay said in a teleconference. "A couple teams I’ve talked to have Derek Stingley from LSU as the top corner. A couple teams I’ve talked to — actually more than a couple, probably three or four different teams that I’ve talked to think he might not even go in the top-15 picks and could be the third or fourth corner to come off the board."

Gardner is widely projected as a top-10 pick, but few cornerbacks have historically gone near the very top of the draft.

When the Lions took Jeff Okudah with the third pick of the 2020 draft, ahead of quarterbacks Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa, it marked the highest a cornerback had gone since Shawn Springs went No. 3 overall in 1997.

Gardner made a local visit to the Lions this week, one of several potential top-10 picks to come to Detroit.

Detroit King defensive back Ahmad Gardner (21) celebrates a tackle against River Rouge during the first half at King High School in Detroit, Friday, Oct. 26, 2018.
Detroit King defensive back Ahmad Gardner (21) celebrates a tackle against River Rouge during the first half at King High School in Detroit, Friday, Oct. 26, 2018.

Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, Florida State pass rusher Jermaine Johnson and Oregon edge Kayvon Thibodeaux already have visited the Lions, and the team reportedly will host Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton and Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker on visits.

Along with Gardner, Kiper mocked Georgia safety Lewis Cine to the Lions at Pick No. 32, and had the Lions taking injured Michigan pass rusher David Ojabo with the second pick of the second round.

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Ojabo tore his Achilles tendon at Michigan pro day last month and could miss his rookie season.

Kiper projects Hutchinson to go No. 1 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Michigan safety Dax Hill to go No. 25 to the Buffalo Bills, Western Michigan receiver Skyy Moore to go No. 50 to the Kansas City Chiefs and the Bills to take Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker at No. 57.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Mel Kiper has Detroit Lions taking CB Ahmad Gardner at No. 2