The Associated Press revealed the 2023 All-Pro teams on Friday and New York Jets fans were thrilled with the results. The Jets were one of a handful of teams with multiple players who made the list as both linebacker Quincy Williams and cornerback Sauce Gardner received All-Pro first-team honors.
But while both players deserved to be recognized as two of the top defenders in the NFL, it was Gardner who made franchise history with his accomplishment.
Jets News: All-Pro Gardner Makes Franchise History
As pointed out by ESPN's Rich Cimini, Gardner is the first Jets player since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger — regardless of position — to be named to the All-Pro first team in his first two seasons. In fact, he's only one of seven post-merger players in New York history to achieve that feat.
The other six players are as follows: CB Darrelle Revis (2009-2011), DE Mark Gastineau (1982-1984), OT Marvin Powell (1979 and 1982), C Nick Mangold (2009 and 2010), C Kevin Mawae (1999 and 2001), and DL Joe Klecko (1981 and 1985).
Even though he's only 23 with two seasons under his belt, the 2023 campaign further solidified Gardner as one of the NFL's premier cornerbacks. He was great at shutting down the game's best wideouts yet again, allowing just 31 receptions on 55 targets (56.4%) for 332 yards with only one touchdown.
Sure, Gardner didn't have any interceptions this time around, but that had more to do with quarterbacks being afraid to throw his way. That fact is proven by his seeing 3.4 targets per game as a sophomore compared to 5.1 as a rookie. Pro Football Focus also gave him a 90.8 cover grade (2nd among CBs) and 88.6 overall defensive grade (3rd).
If Gardner managed to accomplish this all before he even turns 25, it's no wonder Jets fans can't wait to see how the rest of his career unfolds. The sky truly is the limit for the ex-Cincinnati Bearcat, who'll likely be an even bigger shutdown threat when the 2024 campaign begins.
In other New York Jets news: