Packers prospect profile: CB Justin Gilbert
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma St., 6-0, 202 pounds Hometown: Huntsville, TX
40 time: 4.37
Vertical jump: 35.5 inches
225 lb. bench: 20 reps
Broad jump: 126 inches
News and Notes:
Second team All-American in 2013. … Averaged 26.8 yards per kickoff return, second all-time at Oklahoma St. … Six kickoff returns for touchdowns in college. … Picked off 12 passes during his career. … Fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine among defensive backs. … One of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award given to the nation’s top cornerback. … Appeared in 51 games and started his final 39. … A former track star in Texas.
What they’re saying about him:
- CBSSports.com: Gilbert changes directions fluidly and has impressive acceleration to handle deep coverage responsibilities against speedy receivers. Gilbert possesses prototypical height and overall frame for the position with broad shoulders and long arms. He extends well to snatch the ball out of the air and times his leap well. Gilbert is a willing tackler, who closes quickly and effectively…Gilbert can be physical and tough in press coverage, but his technique and footwork are inconsistent. He is too grabby in tight coverage, and his contact downfield will easily attract penalties at the next level.
- NFL.com: The most talented cover corner in this year’s draft class, Gilbert has size, speed and flexibility to blanket receivers at the next level. Also brings impact ability as a kick returner. Is capable of stepping into the starting lineup from Day One and playing at a high level if he adheres to a professional approach to the craft. Could stand to improve in run support.
- Ninersnation.com: The tape says he may have a rough rookie year, but has potential to be pretty good. I’m souring on the idea of taking him in the mid-first round, though someone probably will. If he falls to 30, I’m OK with it, but not jumping up and down. In the 2nd I think you’re starting to talk about a real value with what he brings to the table, though there’s likely a fat chance of that happening.
- His speed is no joke. Appears to be as fast on the field as he was at the NFL Combine.
- Don’t believe me? Check out the play at 2:10 of the video clip.
- Closes quickly once the ball is in the air.
- Didn’t seem very psychical on running plays. Sam Shields is at least a willing tackler now, so maybe the Packers can coach some more physicality into Gilbert.
- I do get where some analysts are coming from when they say Gilbert’s technique needs work. He’s upright a little too often and bounces instead of getting into an athletic stance so he can move with receivers who cut hard.
- But his speed…man. Yes, he’ll have to clean up his technique some against NFL competition, but the rest of his game is there.
- Appears to have the physical tools that translate to an NFL game.
If drafted by the Packers:
So what the hell do the Packers do if Gilbert falls to No. 21? They don’t really need a cornerback, but how do you pass up a guy as physically gifted as Gilbert who can also change games on special teams? Personally, I don’t see Gilbert falling to the Packers, but if he does, I’d have no problem if Ted Thompson drafted him. A defensive backfield that features Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde and Gilbert is a defensive backfield I can get behind. Gilbert would have some time to develop (if necessary), chip in as needed in 2014, and be ready to take over for Williams in 2015. Meantime, he can return kicks and add another dangerous element to the Packers.——————
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .