Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State (HT: 6’0⅛”; WT: 202 lbs)
NFL Comparison: Johnathan Joseph, CB, Houston Texans
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- Gilbert is a long strider but possesses elite speed over long distances. He easily runs with receivers on linear routes and can make up large amounts of yards when chasing the ball-carrier down.
- Excelled in man coverage, despite rarely having a deep safety to help.
- Burn percentage of 16 percent, which is elite for man coverage.
- Very good athlete with great leaping ability; can high-point to steal the ball out from the wide receiver’s hands.
- Gilbert was a terrific return man throughout his career, notching six touchdowns and averaging 26.3 yards per kick return. He can impact the game positively for a team right away.
- Long arms and bigger frame force tight windows for quarterbacks. He's able to swat the ball away right before the receiver can make the completion.
- Despite aggressiveness, he doesn't hold onto the receiver when he falls behind in coverage. Getting "grabby" is an indication of poor confidence and lacking technical skill.
- He ended his career with 12 interceptions and 26 passes defensed and played his best against two of the better receivers he faced in 2013, Dorial Green-Beckham and Eric Ward.
- Most of his negatives are fixable through technique improvement and effort.
- He made a big leap in terms of consistency and overall polish his senior season. He has a high ceiling if he can continue making strides every year.
- He rarely played in press coverage. He didn't show a good initial punch at the line of scrimmage and would fall behind the receiver almost instantly.
- His hips can be stiff, causing change of direction to be lacking against more sudden athletes. Defending quick outs, deep comebacks and dig routes are a concern.
- He has heavy feet, and it's most evident on curl routes and double moves. Once Gilbert pivots, he has trouble changing direction without wasting multiple steps.
- Doesn't care at all about making a play against the run, often letting the blocker run him out of bounds. His tackle effort is also lackluster, as he goes for arm tackles or the big, highlight-reel hit.
- He seems to lack recognition and anticipation skills while in zone coverage, as he is far too conservative. Gilbert allows quarterbacks to have easy underneath routes too often, and he needs to read and react to the quick routes instead of sitting on them.
- Burn percentage of 30 percent in zone, often biting too hard on double moves or sticking with his zone too long. After playing in zone for most of his junior season, some progression was expected, but he is still not comfortable or very effective in zone.
- He could be a one-year wonder after struggling mightily as a junior.
- Graduates in May with a degree in education.
- 3-star recruit from Huntsville, Texas out of high school.
- Was ejected from the Oklahoma State vs. West Virginia game in September 2013 after throwing punches during an altercation.
Gilbert is known as a big-play specialist after his breakout, NCAA-leading seven-interception senior season. He’s also a very good return man, totaling six return touchdowns in his career. If he can refine his technique, he projects as a very good cornerback for Cover 3 zone or man defensive schemes. His great speed helps his ceiling to project to a lockdown boundary corner.
Draft Projection: First round