Justin Gilbert to Steelers: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2016

Cleveland Browns kick returner Justin Gilbert runs the ball in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
David Richard/Associated Press

After struggling to live up to his first-round draft status for two seasons, cornerback Justin Gilbert was traded from the Cleveland Browns to the rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday.

ESPN's Adam Schefter was the first to report the deal. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport confirmed the deal and added that the Browns received a 2018 sixth-round pick in return.

The Browns selected Gilbert eighth overall in the 2014 NFL draft out of Oklahoma State, but he was never able to lock down a full-time starting role. He made just three starts and appeared in 23 games during his two campaigns with the Browns. Gilbert registered a total of 33 tackles and one interception, including just four tackles and no picks in 2015.

The 24-year-old was expected to start opposite Joe Haden for many years to come, but Cleveland has turned to the likes of Jamar Taylor and veteran Tramon Williams instead.

Cornerback play was Pittsburgh's biggest weakness in 2015, as it ranked 30th in the NFL with 271.9 passing yards allowed per game and also surrendered 29 touchdowns through the air.

William Gay and Ross Cockrell are penciled in to start at corner, but Gilbert gives the team another option and some depth at the position.

Although Gilbert hasn't come anywhere close to reaching his potential at the NFL level, Pittsburgh gave up little to acquire him, which makes it a worthwhile risk for a team that has had some secondary woes in recent years.

    

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