The Cleveland Browns shocked a lot of people by not selecting Johnny Manziel with the eighth overall pick, and instead drafted Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert. Gilbert is widely graded as the top cornerback in the draft, and the Browns came into the draft wanting to shore up their defensive backfield. He will fit very well with the Browns’ defensive scheme and will add another playmaker to their defense.
Gilbert was widely known as a lockdown cornerback in college, and that should translate over into the NFL. The potential that possesses could make him one of the best corners in the game. He has the size, strength, speed, and heart to guard anyone at the next level. There will be a bit of a learning curve for him, but his instincts will allow him to make an impact for the Browns immediately.
All that being said, there are some concerns surrounding Gilbert. His aggressiveness can be overboard at times, and he gives up big plays due to blown coverage. He does gamble on interceptions quite a bit, which can either be huge plays for his defense or the opposing offense. The other concern is that he is not great at playing the run, but his coaching staff in Cleveland will be able to work on that issue.
Despite the concerns that Gilbert will have surrounding him, he has a great work ethic and coaching staff that will help him through. He does have the potential to become a top corner in the NFL, and has a better chance of hitting than missing. The Browns might have reached a bit on drafting him at #8, but they weren’t going to be able to snag him anywhere else. They wanted him and that was the only chance that they had to draft him.
Overall, the pick was a good one despite all of the concerns that have been surrounding Gilbert over the past 20 hours. He is a great player with a great attitude, and his work ethic will get him to great places. The Browns are very excited about adding him to an already underrated defense, and he will likely have a chance to make an impact immediately.
Justin Gilbert Draft Grade: B+