Chauncey Gardener-Johnson-

FS/Nickel/SS FLA (O) 4.48

5-11, 210, 7.03 3-Cone! SS 4.28,

37.5" Vert. 10" Broad, 

30 7/8"Arms, 14 Reps,

The Best Free Safety in the 2019 NFL Draft. 

But... 

By TOM

He can make a play on the ball in coverage. He has that knack for making plays on the ball in the air. Plays inside the seam a lot. He moves all over the field all game long. He is a space player who does not take on the blocks of OLs well at all. But he can run around the block of the WR, and blow up the bubble screen behind the Line. 

He will line up outside on the X sometimes. He is always super aggressive, and will get over aggressive sometimes going after the ball carrier, and miss him. I love when he charge at the ball, ignoring the Slot WR he is covering, when they throw the ball to the RB behind him, and he chops out Chauncey’s legs, and he hops back up like a frog and makes the tackle. Truly amazing. 

Freakish athlete, who can blitz the edge, and dip under the OLT to the QB. He drop back in coverage like a FS from the slot, down the middle of the field, and turn around when he sees the deep throw to the other side and get over there, and leap up in front of the other WR and snag the INT. He just makes plays all over the field. He played a ton of Slot Corner. 

He would also switch to the outside WR a lot. "It's big because you can put me anywhere. I'm not limited to one position,” Gardner-Johnson said. “I can be used in base, in nickel. In the nickel, I can cover down in the slot, be in against the post, come off the hash and that half of the field. I can do anything coaches put me at no matter where I go." Relentless crossing the field to get the ball carrier on the other side of the field out of bounds. 

He is an amazing run defender from the slot. He is like Chung in the slot against the run. He explodes forward so fast that blockers just can’t get their hands on him and he runs full speed into the ball carrier. He’ll take the middle guy in a Bunch, and can run down the sideline with him and track the deep pass, leap up and knock the ball down. 

He can play in the Slot, blitz and cover deep down the Seam. "I'm the most versatile DB in this draft. That's how I feel,” Gardner-Johnson said. “I'm not doubting nobody else; that's just how I feel from where I've been in the past at Florida and what I put on tape." I also think he can play outside and start at CB. 

Elite aggression in the slot against the run. He is a super springy athlete. He got his legs chopped out from under him by the Slot guy, on a bubble screen, and benched himself up instantly like a super ball, and hit the WR. Amazingly light on his feet.

He seems to play better inside than outside, which is usually the opposite. Great feet, elite feet, which you have to have to play CB in the Slot. But he is also a fierce tackler. Lightning quick COD, he can turn a little outside, off the fake of the WR, and snap inside like lighting when he breaks inside, and beat the WR to the ball. Elite suddenness in the Slot. 

Missouri: The played zone more than I remembered. He hops all over the field like a Tasmanian devil. He plays in the slot almost every down against Spread teams. He is as quick as a spider hopping from string to string. He is a good blitzer, but he can't shed OLs. I love his pedal. 

He always seems to be looking at the WR and the QB. He sheds WR easy on runs. He can scare the QB out of bounds. He can slam into a pile and find the ball carrier. Great hips, he can really flip his hips in coverage in the slot. Nice job moving laterally to tackle the RB on the Draw. Smooth effortless hips.

FLAT ST: He will cover in the slot. He looks like their 3rd Corner. He does a very good job covering the WR in the Slot. He is a great tackler in the open field. When his man catches the ball he brings him down fast. He really is a Nickel/FS. But he plays mainly the Nickel. Great job heading down the seam watching the QB’s eyes. Then he can go up and get the ball. 

"Go watch the Florida State game from last year and that is who he should be in the NFL," a Personnel guy said. "He's fast and he will hit you. He's going to get cornerback love because of his size, but he's a free safety." 

He shuffles back with great focus on the QB’s eyes. They will line him up in the sot and he will drop into the Cover Two FS. He can move from outside one seam, and get all the way over to the other Seam for the INT. He needs to run a great Forty to go early in the Draft. He reminds me a lot of Chung. But he has better ball skills.

2017: Played and started in all 11 games… Totaled 58 tackles, two interceptions, seven pass breakups, 6.0 tackles-for-loss and one sack… Recorded his interceptions against South Carolina (Nov. 11) and UAB (Nov. 18) in back-to-back weeks... Ranked third on the team behind Marco Wilson (10) and Duke Dawson (9) in passes defended and second on the team in tackles behind David Reese (102)… Played safety all season following an injury to veteran Marcell Harris during the preseason.

2016: Appeared in all 13 games throughout the season and started Florida’s final three contests against FSU, Alabama and Iowa… Began the season the season as a reserve defensive back, but ended Florida’s season as one its starting safeties… Led the Gators with eight special teams tackles, as he was a key member on special teams throughout the season… Totaled 32 tackles, three pass break-ups, three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and a half tackle-for-loss… His three interceptions tied with Quincy Wilson for the second most on the team… Grabbed his first-career interception at Florida State, while making his first-career start… Tallied a career-high nine tackles against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game… Recorded two tackles and two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) in the Outback Bowl against Iowa… Tallied the first multi-interception game by a Florida freshman since Nov. 13, 2004 when Kyle Jackson had two picks against South Carolina… Was named the Outback Bowl MVP for his standout performance as he joined two-way standout Dave Hudson (1958 Gator Bowl), Tony Lilly (1983 Gator) and Ahmad Black (2011 Outback) as the only UF defensive backs to be named a bowl MVP… Became the second true freshman in program history to win a Bowl MVP Award, joining Emmitt Smith (1987)… Named to ESPN’s, Sports Illustrated’s and the AP’s All-Bowl Team.

Chauncey Gardner Vs. Michigan:

First off he is a Nickel Corner. That is what is going to get him Drafted early. He can cover the Slot guy and help the defense. But is also a great SS/FS. Watch how he fights all the way across the field to cut off the running QB (:01). He is a Slot Corner who can play like an LB for FLA (:11). That was not a great example, as he took the bad angle and the WR took him off the angle. 

I think he can play outside Corner. Certainly he will step in outside and start at CB do to injury. He will start at FS, SS, Nickel, and CB in his career. Watch the hips swivel as he runs back in position while watching the backfield. That is great coverage for a slot, who cuts it off and got in front of the RB in the hole (:19). He just moves quicker and faster than everyone else, and not just moving forward, but at all angles. 

He lined up on the Slot guy, and then switched at the snap. FLA liked to switch receivers an instant before the snap a lot. Watch him angle outside to cut off the Z (:26). Then he is on the opposite slot. He slowed him down just enough to disrupt the timing of that pass. Some times you just gotta get in the way (:34). Watch his great feet as he scoots back, and flinches at the WR like he is going to hit him. 

Watch him sink back and little, and his quick feet moving as he weaves a little back and forth (:41). Great upper body strength and agility. Watch him get cut, and then bench himself up to hit the WR. He usually doesn't miss a tackle like that (:52). He he is also a SS/LB. He bounced around the blocker. Then watch the great burst forward to knock the WRs block off (1:01). That is a great tackle. He just seems to move a little quicker and a little more sudden than everyone else.

LB blitzing. He found the gap but got stoned by the RB. But he flushed the QB anyway (1:09). Back at LB. He broke inside the blocker, and made the RB hop a little more outside than he wanted Then jumped up and tackled him (1:17). Lined up outside. He cut off the angle. Then used the blocker to cut off the Corner. Then knocked the RB out of bounds (1:39). That was a great play. He just always seemed to know what is going on. 

He started back, and watch how quickly he read the Screen (1:54). Slot Corner in Off. He switched and took the WR that ran the deep pattern (2:11). He'll take the inside route. He got fooled by the screen. But watch the recovery. He burst back and got to the WR going down the sideline before the ball (2:18). Elite recovery skills. If you play corner you are going to get beat.

You can see he is locked on the slot guy. He read pass here before the snap. He blanketed him all the way to the magic yellow line. Watch the explosion as the Slot guy turned to block him, and he almost knocked him off his feet. He plays with a lot of nasty (2:28). Here come the blitz. The QB immediately ran away form him (2:37). He is so aware in coverage (2:46). He left his man when he saw the QB throw, undercut the WRs and then leaped up and snagged it (3:10). You can see on replay that he was headed outside on the opposite seam. He turned back to the QB, and saw him looking to the other aside. There might not be anther CB in this Draft that can turn back with that adjustment and go and get the ball. He just sees it better than everyone else on the field. 

See how he slid outside to pick up the Z. He can play Press on the outside WRs. Great speed in pedal (3:22). He is not a great blitzer (3:31). He is a great mover, but it often looked like he is a better mover going laterally and backwards. He will take back angles trying to burst forward around blockers (3:38). He has to clean that up. 

He is a great athlete who is super light on his feet, and hands. A trip is still a tackle (3:48). CB in the Redzone. Great feet moving back in pedal. They do a lot of switching in coverage (4:23). He looks so good moving back and sideways in coverage. Then he gets over and stops the big guy (4:49). He can play outside. But they always put him back inside (5:05). Playing Zone down the seam. He burst forward for the INT and scored (5:17). The ball is tipped. Watch the quick reaction to come off the TE and scoop the ball (5:33). Then the great eyes and COD returning it. 

Slot guy. Watch the quick feet as he reacts to every move the WR made (5:41). He cut off the angle, and scared the TE out of bounds (5:55). The QB wasn't going near him the rest of the game.

Chauncey Gardner Vs Michigan:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rTCLuzfBAU

Johnson's Official Bio:

Overview: Ended his collegiate career with 37 games played, nine interceptions, three INT returns for touchdowns, 12 pass breakups, 161 total tackles, 15.5 tackles-for-loss and four sacks.

2018: Declared for the NFL Draft after his junior season… Played in all 13 games and started 12… Totaled 71 tackles, four interceptions (two returned for a touchdown), two pass break-ups, nine tackles-for-loss, three sacks and two quarterback hurries… His four INTs ranked tied for 16th in the country and tied for second in the SEC… After he snagged a pair of interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl against Michigan, Gardner-Johnson was named Defensive MVP... Also for his efforts he garnered AP All-Bowl Team honors… Notched his other interception returned for a touchdown on the first play of Florida’s contest against Idaho… Member of a group that helped UF lead the nation in fourth quarter opponent passing efficiency (66.25) and rank second nationally in fourth quarter opponent completion percentage (40.5).

2017: Played and started in all 11 games… Totaled 58 tackles, two interceptions, seven pass breakups, 6.0 tackles-for-loss and one sack… Recorded his interceptions against South Carolina (Nov. 11) and UAB (Nov. 18) in back-to-back weeks... Ranked third on the team behind Marco Wilson (10) and Duke Dawson (9) in passes defended and second on the team in tackles behind David Reese (102)… Played safety all season following an injury to veteran Marcell Harris during the preseason

2016: Appeared in all 13 games throughout the season and started Florida’s final three contests against FSU, Alabama and Iowa… Began the season the season as a reserve defensive back, but ended Florida’s season as one its starting safeties… Led the Gators with eight special teams tackles, as he was a key member on special teams throughout the season… Totaled 32 tackles, three pass break-ups, three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and a half tackle-for-loss… His three interceptions tied with Quincy Wilson for the second most on the team… Grabbed his first-career interception at Florida State, while making his first-career start… Tallied a career-high nine tackles against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game… Recorded two tackles and two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) in the Outback Bowl against Iowa… Tallied the first multi-interception game by a Florida freshman since Nov. 13, 2004 when Kyle Jackson had two picks against South Carolina… Was named the Outback Bowl MVP for his standout performance as he joined two-way standout Dave Hudson (1958 Gator Bowl), Tony Lilly (1983 Gator) and Ahmad Black (2011 Outback) as the only UF defensive backs to be named a bowl MVP… Became the second true freshman in program history to win a Bowl MVP Award, joining Emmitt Smith (1987)… Named to ESPN’s, Sports Illustrated’s and the AP’s All-Bowl Team.

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