Friends and family gathered Saturday afternoon at the Huntsville Prison Museum Conference Center to welcome Justin Gilbert back to Huntsville.
CB Justin Gilbert was selected 8th Overall, the first corner selected. Gilbert initially planned to be at home with family during the draft, but when he received the invite to New York’s Radio City Music Hall, he asked his parents and grandmother to share in the once-in-a-lifetime experience as a way to thank them.
“I believe I’m the best cornerback in this draft. I model my style of play after Patrick Peterson,” Gilbert told USA TODAY Sports, referencing the Pro Bowl cornerback and kick returner for the Arizona Cardinals. “If Deion Sanders was still playing, I’d compare myself to him. Not a lot of corners have my return ability. When I catch an interception, I’m not just looking to go down. I’m looking to do something after the catch.”
Though the transition from college star to professional athlete is never easy, Gilbert has thus far passed with flying colors. “I’m a very positive person that knows how to handle his business on and off the field — no bad records, no crime, no failed drug tests,” Gilbert said. “I understand if you don’t handle your business your days will be short.”
Already receiving buzz after the successful completion of his collegiate playing career with Oklahoma State University, Gilbert continues to draw interest from a growing cast of fans throughout Houston, Huntsville and Oklahoma as evidenced by his 31K plus followers on the Social Media platform Twitter (twitter.com/@JGil_4). Gilbert provides his followers with Twitter updates that contain recent news stories on Gilbert, his teammates and other draft prospects, issues in sports, photos and other timely events.
Gilbert a native of Huntsville, is a ballhawking, press-man corner who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds. His current Draft Projection was Round 1 (top 15). Deemed the most talented cover corner in this year’s draft class and was selected 8th Overall. Gilbert has size, speed and flexibility to blanket receivers at the next level. He can play press coverage and is able to turn and run exceptionally well. With great closing speed and good ball skills, he also brings impact ability as a kick returner and is capable of stepping into the starting lineup from Day 1 and playing at a high level. Defensive coordinators covet his sturdy 6-0, 200-pound frame, outstanding speed and terrific athleticism.
Gilbert was the fastest player at his position at the 2014 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, and he was the third-strongest going by the bench press. His frame his drool-worthy, along with his measurables. Scouting reports suggest that he may still need to develop into a more physical player to become reliable at the next level, but there’s no question that Gilbert has a high ceiling.
Some of Gilbert’s stats:
Weight: 202 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.37 seconds
Bench press: 20 reps of 225 pounds
Vertical jump: 35.5 inches
Broad jump: 126 inches
3-cone drill: 6.92 seconds