Courtney Gardner WR Sierra #6
Size/Athleticism: Prototypical size for a No. 1 receiver. Shows decent athleticism and body control when working the sideline. Dangerous in the open field. Has the speed and agility to make guys miss and is big enough to break some tackle attempts by defensive backs. Frequently used on screens and short passes in the flat due to his ability to make plays after the catch. A feisty blocker. Lacks the strength to be a dominant blocker, but gives a great effort.
Separation Skills: Had no trouble getting deep at the JUCO level, but did so primarily using his pure speed. Route running skills are clearly limited. Vast majority of his routes in college were simply go routes or curls.
Ball Skills: Appears to have fairly reliable hands. Attacks the ball in the air rather than taking a passive approach and letting it come to him. Does a nice job adjusting to the ball in the air.
Intangibles: Multiple red flags raised by his antics away from the field. Originally signed with Nevada but failed to pass the high school math proficiency exam for the state of Nevada. Forced to attend Sierra College in order to become eligible to play at the D-I level. After one season at Sierra he committed to Oklahoma and was supposed to join them for 2012 season, but did not complete an English course in time to become eligible. After sitting out the entire 2012 season, he was expected to join Oklahoma in January but was reportedly ineligible once again and decided to enter the draft. In addition to the laundry list of academic struggles, Gardner has been arrested twice – once for underage drinking, once for obstructing an police officer while he was in a car with a friend who was being arrested for a DUI.
Durability: No known issues.
Comments: It’s tough to accurately judge Gardner’s talent based off of his JUCO film due to the level of competition, but it’s clear that he has the skills to play at the next level. But is a player with multiple off-field issues, limited experience at the college level and who has spent a year away from football worth a draft pick? He’s definitely an intriguing sleeper, but it would be tough to justify spending anything other than a 6th or 7th round pick on him.