Justin Gilbert – Oklahoma State
Gilbert is a fourth-year senior and a three-year starter at corner for Oklahoma State. He is also the primary kickoff returner. Gilbert has ideal size for the position. He is listed at 6’0 – 200 lbs, and I would estimate his speed at 4.45. Not only is Gilbert fast, but he has very good flexibility and body control. He shows a quick pedal and a smooth turn. He has no wasted steps when turning and has an instant burst out of his turn. He is very quick footed and moves quickly in transition to close. In the Cowboys' defensive scheme, he plays some press man, man off, and zone and is very good at all three. In press, he shows a strong jam and can mirror receivers through multiple moves. He has the speed to stay with speed receivers on the deeper routes. In zone and off cover, he can play a little loose but still has the anticipation and closing quickness to make plays on the ball. Gilbert’s ball skills are excellent. He can track the ball and has very good hands. In two of the interceptions I saw, he high-pointed the ball very well. This year he finished the regular season with six picks.
I'd like to see Gilbert become more consistent in run support. He seldom “attacks” in support, but he can do it when he wants. He is not the most physical run support guy, but he is good enough. As a tackler, he can wrap but seldom does. He is more of a block tackler. His ability to shed blocks is adequate.
As a kick returner, Gilbert has the skills to be a number one returner in the NFL. He has five career kick returns for touchdowns and a career average of over 26 yards per return.
Gilbert has all the tools necessary to be a starting corner early in his career. He has size, cover skills, and ball skills. He will need to upgrade his run support, but I don’t see it as a big problem. I really like his attitude on the field. He is competitive and wants to make plays. He has a short memory and doesn’t let a poor play bother him. He should go high.