Saints’ safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson made it into the top 20, coming in at 18. The fourth-round pick impressed as a rookie.
For a fourth-round pick, Saints’ Gardner-Johnson showed astonishing production in his rookie season.
In 2019, the young upcoming star had 49 combined tackles, with 38 of those being solo tackles (7th on the team), to go along with 8 passes defended (3rd on the team), 6 tackles for loss and an interception.
Some drafts analysts viewed Gardner-Johnson as one of the best ball-hawking safety in the 2019 draft class. Though he only had 1 interception in his first year with the Saints, he managed to make his presence known.
In 51 passing attempts towards the rookie, only 32 went for completions. In 2019 Gardner Johnson found most of his production playing over veteran PJ Williams at nickel cornerback due to Williams facing suspensions and injuries.
The athletic 5-foot-11, 210lbs 22-year-old really took advantage of this chance, showing up and earning split playing time at the position once PJ Williams returned to the field.
The biggest question mark behind Gardner-Johnson at the moment is where will he definitively play with the Saints now that PJ Williams has returned?
Is he a safety? Is he a nickel corner? It’s expected that in 2020, Gardner Johnson may take another step forward and solidify himself as one of the Saints’ best ball-hawking secondary members on the team.
If so, maybe he can find a consistent role even with PJ Williams on the field. The Saints have shown they love to play out of the Nickel a lot, so it’s possible we see Gardner-Johnson become a regular in that package.
Regardless of where he plays, it’s hard to deny that Gardner-Johnson was one of the most impressive late-round picks in last year’s draft. He is continuing to improve his game and it’s very likely we see a jump for him. If so, he could become a quarterbacks nightmare in the future.
Of our 12 writers, CGJ ranked 18th and had an 18.7 average rank, not missing a single top 25.