The Associated Press has awarded the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Award to Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner of the New York Jets at this year’s NFL Honors. This marks the first instance of a defensive back winning the hardware since 2017, and just the third time overall over the last 10 seasons.
Gardner claimed 46 of 50 first-place votes to win in decisive fashion. Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson finished second and had three first-place votes while Seahawks defensive back Tariq Woolen finished third and claimed the last first-place vote.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Jets CB Sauce Gardner
Gardner is the first rookie cornerback in 41 years to be a first-team All-Pro, highlighting what was truly a remarkable first season in the NFL for the fourth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. He played and started in all 17 regular season games this season, recording 20 passes defended which was the most in the entire league. He surrendered just 33 receptions on 73 targets, finishing with two interceptions while allowing a passer rating of 52.5 when targeted, which was the lowest in the entire league.
Odds movement this season
Aidan Hutchinson was +450 favorite heading into Week 1 with the New York Giants’ Kayvon Thibodeaux having the second-best odds at +600. But by the final month of the season, it was clearly Gardner’s award to lose given his consistent play from the beginning of the season. The Jets’ rookie was listed at -500 at the start of December, with his odds improving to -1200 by January 1.