The Eagles need help in their secondary. There’s no denying that. Brandon Boykin was really the only corner who truly proved anything in 2013, but he will remain as a nickel corner. Keeping that in mind, the Eagles could use some new blood to contend for a starting position on the outside.
One potential target for the Eagles would be Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert. At this year’s NFL Combine, he may have ran himself into being the first defensive back to come off the board. At 6-0 and 202 pounds, Gilbert recorded a blistering 4.37 second 40-yard dash time. This was the fastest time recorded by any defensive back at the the NFL Combine this year.
Gilbert also recorded 20 reps of 225 pounds at the Combine which is a nice number for a guy with long arms. Unfortunately, we don’t see him use those long arms and upper body strength on receivers at the line of scrimmage as much as he could. He tends to play off the line and give receivers space. When playing off, he isn’t always able to use his speed to prevent quick completions.
His collegiate season was a bit up and down, but Gilbert finished his career at Oklahoma State with a strong 2013 campaign. He recorded six interceptions and returned two of them for touchdowns.
Check out this video of Gilbert from this year’s Cotton Bowl, via DraftBreakdown.com.
At this point, it looks like Gilbert will be the first defensive back taken off the board. He very well may not be available when the Eagles draft at the 22nd pick. I don’t know how interested they’d be in trading up for any player, but I don’t think Gilbert would be a player they’d want to move up to go get.
If he is on the board at 22, it would be interesting to see what the Eagles end up doing. I think that many teams, including potentially the Eagles, will rank Gilbert fairly high on their boards. If he is still available, I’d have to believe he’d be one of the top rated players remaining on the Eagles board. His frame and his speed should be attractive to the Eagles.
Although I don’t think Gilbert will be viewed as one of the dominant corners in the league, he would definitely be an upgrade for the Eagles. He is talented in coverage, he’s a fairly talented tackler, and he has great ball skills.
I’m not sold on Gilbert being a top 15 or even a top 10 pick, which is where many projections have him right now. However, if the Eagles stay at 22 and he’s still there, he may be a difficult prospect to pass up.