Qwan’tez Stiggers gets shout-out, mentorship offer from All-Pro Jets’ DB Sauce Gardner

Photo: AP/Rich Schultz

Qwan’tez Stiggers appears to be off to a great start with the New York Jets, garnering online attention from Sauce Gardner, the team’s star cornerback.

Stiggers, the CFL’s reigning Most Outstanding Rookie, was selected by the Jets in the fifth round of the NFL draft on Saturday. In a subsequent interview with the team’s in-house reporter, he expressed his desire to learn from Gardner, which caught the attention of the star defensive back.

“I’m still learning, too,” Gardner replied on social media. “Looking forward to learning together, bro. Any way I can help, I got you.”

Gardner was the fourth overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft and has been sensational over 33 regular season games in New York, making 92 tackles, five tackles for loss, 31 pass knockdowns, two interceptions, and one forced fumble. He won Defensive Rookie of the Year in his first season and was named first-team All-Pro in 2022 and 2023.

Stiggers became the first player to be drafted directly from the CFL since defensive lineman Jermaine Haley, who was taken in the seventh round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. He made 53 defensive tackles, three special teams tackles, and five interceptions with the Argonauts this past year, helping the team go 16-2 during the regular season.

The native of Atlanta, Ga. didn’t attend college due to the sudden death of his father and played in the Fan Controlled Football League before making his way to the CFL in 2023. He was first able to declare for the NFL Draft in 2024 by virtue of being three years removed from high school.

Stiggers is just the fourth player in the common era to be drafted into the NFL with no collegiate experience.

Editor’s note: Gardner’s quote has been lightly edited for clarity.