In order to familiarize fans with some of the top names in the 2014 NFL Draft, Chargers.com will be highlighting a different prospect each weekday leading up to the first day of the draft on May 8th.
We continue the series with a scouting report of Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert.
Name: Justin Gilbert
School: Oklahoma State
Weight: 202 pounds
While there are plenty of talented defensive backs worthy of being a high pick, Justin Gilbert staked his claim to be an early selection.
The Oklahoma State star ran the 40-yard dash in a blazing 4.37 seconds, which was the fastest of any defensive back at the Combine. In addition to flashing his speed, he showed his strength by recording 20 reps at the bench press, which tied for the third most of anyone at his position. That performance combined with his stellar play over the years for the Cowboys has people raving about the 6-0, 202-pounder.
In addition to his raw athleticism, Gilbert is a long, rangy and physical corner. He has the speed to stick with quick receivers and the strength to mix it up with the physical ones. When he gets his hands on the ball, he is a constant threat to return it to the house. Gilbert excels in both press and zone coverage, and isn’t afraid to get involved in the run game. Another bonus is that Gilbert is a dynamic returner on special teams, which only makes him more attractive. Over his collegiate career he returned 102 kickoffs, averaging 26.3 yards per return while scoring six touchdowns.
Gilbert finished his four-year career at Oklahoma State with 154 tackles, 12 interceptions and 32 passes defensed. Questions arose when he turned in a disappointing junior campaign after a productive sophomore season, and he admitted he was a tad too complacent. Still, he responded with a monster senior season in which he recorded a career-high seven picks (ranking third in the nation) with two returned for touchdowns. As a result he was named a Second Team All-American, First Team All-Big 12 and a Jim Thorpe Award finalist.
From now until May 8th there will be great debate over which cornerback is worthy of being the first taken off the board, and Gilbert figures to be in that discussion for the long haul.
40-yard Dash: 4.37
Bench Press: 20 reps
Vertical Jump: 35.5 inches
Broad Jump: 126.0 inches
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed above do not represent the opinions or policies of the San Diego Chargers’ front office staff, coaches or executives.