Sept 29, 2012; Stillwater, OK, USA; Texas Longhorns receiver Marquise Goodwin (84) runs after a catch while being defended by Oklahoma State Cowboys cornerback Justin Gilbert (4) during the first half at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions 2014 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Justin Gilbert

The SideLion Report NFL Draft Prospect Profile series provides an in depth analysis from a scouting perspective of college football players who could be on the Lions’ radar this spring.

Mel Kiper’s most recent mock draft had the Lions selecting Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert with the tenth pick. A three-year starter, Gilbert has proven to be a play-maker, snagging 12 interceptions over the course of his career. In addition to being an effective cover corner, Gilbert is also a dangerous kick returner, with six kickoff returns for scores and a career return average of 26.5 yards.

Based on evaluation of four games (Texas Tech, Baylor, Oklahoma, Missouri), I gave Gilbert a 7.5 grade (mid first round). Here’s an excerpt from his scouting report:

STRONG POINTS: Excellent athlete with ideal height and adequate bulk for the position. Effective man cover corner with fluid hips and the speed to stay with vertical threats downfield. Field aware with good route recognition skills. Has very good ball skills (12 career INTs). Dangerous kick returner. Durable.

WEAKNESSES: Needs to get stronger. Technique is sloppy at times – rises in his backpedal. Not overly physical and needs to improve Press technique. Doesn’t effectively set the edge versus the run and is not aggressive – last line defender. Struggles breaking down to tackle in space.

SUMMARY: A three year starter, Gilbert is an effective man cover corner who offers added value as a kick returner. He possesses the necessary height and bulk to match up with the bigger receivers in the division. Though you’d like to see him be more physical at the LOS, Gilbert is more effective in man coverage than zone, possessing the speed and fluidity to stay on a receiver’s hip all over the field. However, when playing off the LOS, he does a good job of reading the QB and combines nice closing burst with long arms to consistently make a play on the ball. While you’d like to see him give better effort versus the run, Gilbert has the necessary size, athleticism and ball skills to be an effective number one shut-down corner in a predominantly man coverage scheme. Mid first round choice with added value as an effective special teams player.

Overall, Gilbert possesses the requisite size, speed and play-making ability the franchise desperately needs to match up against the big receivers in the NFC North.

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Tags: 2014 NFL Combine 2014 NFL Draft Detroit Lions Justin Gilbert

  • twelsh36446

    I’m hoping that Detroit gets Watkins, but would be happy with them getting Gilbert if Watkins is gone.

    • HDinHD916

      I’m hoping for Sammy too, but I have to admit Gilbert would be a great grab by the Lions.

      • Ackerman

        It’s early in the process, but I agree with you both at this point. If Watkins somehow slides down to 10, he should be the pick.

  • SpartanDawgs41

    Gilbert getting booted from the WVU game still makes me scratch my head. Hopefully he’s learned from his mistakes.

    • Ackerman

      I like defensive prospects who play with an edge, but the Lions can ill afford more players who commit stupid mental mistakes. It doesn’t appear to be a pattern in the games I’ve watched.

  • BDHdreamin28

    I’m thinking the Lions will look to free agency to score an ace corner.

  • BigEyedFish71

    Gilbert might have what it takes to be successful at the next level, but I’m still thinking Dennard would be a better pick for the Lions.

    • Ackerman

      Stay tuned BEF71…there may be something on Dennard in the near future…

  • SWdoesITbest

    Who is the better corner to take? Gilbert or Dennard?

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