Gardner was a prolific receiver at Clemson, posting 1,009 receiving yards as a junior and 956 yards as a senior. However, his production didn’t translate to the NFL after Washington took him in the first round in 2001.
As is often the case with highly draft receivers, Washington forced a lot of targets Gardner’s way to justify the pick, but he didn’t do enough with them. In 2001 as a rookie, Gardner finished with 741 yards and four TDs but only caught 46 of his 101 targets.
The next season he saw 141 targets and only caught 71 of them for 1,006 yards and eight touchdowns. It was a strong second season but was boosted by insane target volume. His production fell off the next two seasons in Washington and he was traded to Carolina in 2005 for a sixth-round pick. He only played for two more seasons after leaving Washington.