I don't know how many times I have seen a mock draft guru, and even some people on here for some reason, mock us Justin Gilbert. I have asked multiple times on multiple different threads why this guy is so great, and I haven't gotten any significant answer to the question, and so now I'm going to make a Fanpost on it.
WHY IS JUSTIN GILBERT SO GREAT?! Everything I've seen from him, I hope that he goes to Minnesota. First of all, because he will be a part of an overhyped secondary featuring Harrison Smith and Xavier Rhodes, secondly, they actually have a need at corner so the pick makes sense somewhat if they like him, and finally, because if we take him, I will not watch a single Lions DEFENSIVE snap next season. I'll still watch Calvin, but I won't watch any defensive plays if we take Gilbert.
First of all, I got to watch both the Oklahoma games this year and last. I thought he absolutely SUCKED and did absolutely nothing to stop a mediocre group of wide receivers at best this year, and last year really struggled in multiple areas of his game vs Kenny Stills. Then there's the bowl game, the Cotton Bowl vs. Mizzou, which was much MUCH worse not including his INT. Frankly, if I were a scout for Green Bay, I'd rather call Justin Gilbert undraftable than Tajh Boyd, or at least more of a day 3 pick than him. I have seen no good skills from him whatsoever at the Cornerback slot (not including returner) and am completely dumbfounded by how these idiot mock draft gurus call this guy a first rounder, let alone a top 10 talent. Below are skills that I think a corner should be able to do, and should at least have some general success doing, more so if they are a first rounder. I will then try to find some tape (I will post later) or moments explaining at least one game when he did not do this well or to my personal satisfaction.
Man Coverage- He has very poor footwork, particularly in the backpedal, where he is losing ground to receivers on quick cuts. He does not seem to be very tight on the wide receivers either, and tends to lose position (Video) fairly easily. He also appears to have problems with the Press, but with Austin as our DC I wouldn't be worried about that as much as I would if we were another team. Take a look at the Oklahoma game from 2012 (Video) and his play vs Kenny Stills. The only reason he even had a chance at that play was because Landry Jones had a horrible throw. In the West Virginia game, he did very well getting his head turned, something the Lions could not do. This did however, get him to lose the Wide Receiver on a streak on one occasion. (See more specific examples below.) His vertical jump could not be examined at this current time, due to lack of tape quickly on those that particular area, as well as no pre-combine numbers. When I find some, I will update that as well.
Speed and or Quickness / Footwork.- He has been timed running the 40 at 4.53 according to multiple sources, so I'm not worried about this. This is, however by far his best area, and why he appears to be rated so highly upon first glance. Unfortunately, speed doesn't do much for you if you can't do other necessary parts of the game. I can run too. Doesn't make him any better. I would agree that he can do great with the ball in his hands, but can we get it to him? Especially if his footwork goes back to looking how it did in 2012, particularly in the Oklahoma game vs Kenny Stills (Video) where in one case even, he should have had an Interception, but did not make the play, and instead gave up a touchdown. Had it not been for his speed, catching ability and return ability, one projection said he could have been a day 3 pick had he entered last year. Smart move waiting.
Run Support/ Blitzing- Another of his lesser known flaws seems to be tackling. He also has a hard time shedding wide receiver blocks, which could be a problem if he is rushing the edge and has to shed the OT. This could be something that could be improved however, so I'm not significantly worried with this, but it is an issue that could keep coming up, especially in Austin's and Caldwell's defensive system. To give you an idea, he missed 4 tackles from my count, as well as misplayed a read vs the run in the West Virginia game. He had 3 tackles, thus he had more missed tackles than actual tackles, as well as the penalty he took while trying to shed the Wide Receivers block.
Competition- He's in the Big 12, so not the SEC by any stretch, but neither is the B1G. He faces teams like Kansas, Kansas State, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and weak non-conference teams. Not good, but there weren't many good SEC corners entering either.
He also needs to show some consistency. As far as pass coverage goes, he had no deflections, interceptions or passes defended against Kansas, Kansas State, UTSA, Baylor or Texas Tech. While he did have a pick in the bowl game and 2 passes defended in the OK game, to me stats don't show the whole story. As noted by Rob Rang of CBS sports, he is known for his athletic ability as he has returned 5 kickoff for touchdowns and gets good returns on his interceptions, but his Technique is his significant flaw. Personally, I don't want a Patrick Peterson type athlete. I don't think I want a kick returner, I want somebody like Dennard who plays the run and pass, and that's his job. Frankly, I'm also a little worried by the ZERO interceptions during his Junior Season. He had 5 as a Sophomore. Yes. But NONE as a Junior, despite starting Every Game? He did lead the Big 12 with 7 this season. But who did he compete against? What other good corners are there in the Big 12? Oh, and not to mention what QBs was he facing?
Okay, so after watching the tape and examining his flaws/pluses, I'm going to say I don't hate him anymore, but I still don't see the fit for him here, at least at 10. I'd still put him after Dennard, Fuller and Slay. Considering the weak top end talent at the corner position where the only 2 good corners he has to contend against are Dennard and Fuller, and maybe Verrett, I'd say he's not bad for this class. He got lucky with the timing of it all, and he seems to have made a great smart decision staying for his Senior Year. The kid has a lot of potential, and I think that Austin could work with him if need be. If we trade down into the 20's area and he is a higher rated player on my board at that time, I would not hate taking him IF we do not like Green, Greenwoods development, want competition for Slay, somebody gets injured on short notice, or we cut or trade Houston. If any of those things happen and we don't take Dennard at 10, I would not hate Gilbert, but that would be an extraordinarily extenuating circumstance for me to agree with the pick, especially at 10 (A.k.a. Barr, Mack, Watkins, Dennard, and maybe more are gone.)