Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert
Even though he has visited the Detroit Lions recently and made public comments to Detroit media regarding enjoying his visit and wanting to get out there with the guys, I was not planning to do a profile on Justin Gilbert. I did not feel like he was on the Lions’ radar for being a potential first round pick. I felt like his visit was more for them to see what they thought of him and verify that he was not what they were looking for with their number ten overall pick. I also felt that with their investments at the corner position in the past few years, there was no way they would take one this early. New information has changed my view though.
Justin Gilbert, the former Oklahoma State Cowboy corner, is really a unique talent. He stands six foot tall and weighs two hundred and two pounds. That is almost perfect size for a corner in the NFL. He was a top five performer at his position at the combine in the forty yard dash and the bench press. He ran a 4.37 forty which is good speed for an NFL corner. His bench press repetitions hit twenty, meaning he has the upper body strength needed for his position.
According to NFL.com, Jason Gilbert did not start in 2010 at corner but was a solid kick and punt returner totaling six hundred ninety eight yards and scoring two touchdowns returning kicks and fifty five yards returning punts. In 2011, he started at corner for the first time. He registered fifty five tackles and five interceptions. As a returner, he had seven hundred three yards and two touchdowns on kickoffs. In 2012, Justin Gilbert registered sixty three tackles but did not get a single interception. He was once again successful returning kicks gathering eight hundred twenty seven yards and one touchdown. Last season was his best as a corner and worst as a returner. He gathered forty two tackles and seven interceptions. Returning kicks, he only picked up four hundred fifty three yards and one touchdown.
Overall, Justin Gilbert displayed great quickness and closing speed. He was very fluid moving his hips and transitioning. He is not very aggressive and tends to get caught in blocks more often than desired against the run. He looks very similar in build and statistics to former Michigan Wolverine and current Oakland Raider Charles Woodson. Whether Gilbert can take his game to the next level like Woodson did is the big question.
This brings me to my closing thoughts. As I said earlier in this post, I did not originally expect Justin Gilbert to be considered for the number ten pick by the Detroit Lions. I still tend to think it would be a mistake to take him here. The concern though is in relation to statements made by new Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell. He stated that he does not know if Chris Houston can regain his form due to a foot injury he sustained. Now, that statement is concerning for a number of reasons. The first is that Houston was just signed last offseason to a five year deal. Losing him after just one year into that deal would be a big disappointment. Houston was signed to be the Lions starting corner for the next few years, but instead he has become a liability in the secondary. The other concern is two fold. This is either a smoke screen being setup to concern teams looking for a corner, specifically Gilbert, so that they will trade ahead of Detroit to select him, allowing one of the top players to fall further down to the Lions or they just made it public knowledge that they have a corner that potentially is going to be a liability next season giving every team they play a target player to pick on. Regardless of which this may be, it is time to think that Justin Gilbert could potentially become a Lion on May 8th.