Justin Gilbert is a hot name among scouts and GM's for the 2014 NFL Draft. His freakish athletic talent, in particular his speed, has everyone taking notice.
Last night Gilbert caused a stir on twitter when he reportedly said he was going to "blow up" the Combine today. He didn't disappoint.
In the 40-yard dash Justin put down a blistering unofficial time of 4.35 seconds, but according to his body language, it wasn't even his best effort!
Gilbert's run officially came in at 4.37 seconds, making him the fastest DB in this year's Draft!
The 40-yard dash wasn't the only workout in which Justin shined. Gilbert also posted the second best bench press performance for a corner with 20 reps. The bench press isn't near the big deal the 40-yard dash is for a CB, but it's still fun to compare. Especially when you consider that Gilbert's biggest competition of the NFL Draft, Darqueze Dennard, only put up 15 reps. Dennard is supposed to be the more physical of the two.
In Gilbert's Combine interview he was asked if he thought he was the best CB in the draft. After a little bit of downplaying the question, Gilbert eventually said, "Yea, I think I'm the best corner in the draft. I worked hard to be in the position that I am." When pressed for why he felt that way, Gilbert humbly responded with, "Dedication to the game, and the work I put in day in and day out"
It wasn't always easy for the standout corner. "I was a terrible backpedaler" said Gilbert, "Defensive back was new to me, and being a good backpedaler, and being fluid with my hips was a big key." Gilbert played QB at Huntsville High School in Texas before being moved to corner at Oklahoma State.
Justin's hard work paid off. His ability to quickly drop back in his backpedal is now considered a strength by many scouts.
One of the few concerns about drafting Gilbert is whether or not he's mentally prepared for the daily grind of the NFL. After a breakout season in 2012, his sophomore season was less than superb. Gilbert had admittedly become complacent. A phenomenal junior year should ease those fears though. In his final year as a Poke, Justin made 7 interceptions, 2 of which he returned for a touchdown, and was named to the All-Big 12 team.
In Gilbert's three years at Oklahoma State he recorded more picks than any player in school history, and ranks fifth in Big 12 history.
In a league where speed is king, Justin should fit in nicely. His ability to make up ground in a hurry in coverage has more than few excited at what he might do at the next level. Gilbert is projected to go in the first round of the draft. ESPN's Todd McShay even has Justin as the first Big 12 player chosen!
You can Listen to Gilbert's NFL Combine Interview below.