This past weekend at the NFL Scouting Combine, a No. 1 cornerback seems to have emerged from the pack. On top of that, it just so happens that Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert also reflects the biggest trend in the league – big physical corners.
With his stock on the rise, NFL media analyst Bucky Brooks recently took a look at the teams that are most likely to nab Gilbert in the first round. The Detroit Lions at No. 10 are apparently the team to beat if any NFL clubs is looking to jump ahead and add the 200-pound corner.
“The Lions haven’t had a Pro Bowl cornerback on their roster since Dre’ Bly earned back-to-back bids following the 2003 and ’04 campaigns,” wrote Brooks. “The lack of a premier cover corner in the back end has prevented the defense from rising to the ranks of the elite, despite the presence of a dominant line. Drafting Gilbert would not only fill the Lions’ biggest defensive need, it also would give the secondary a big, physical corner capable of matching up with the big-bodied receivers that are dominating the league.”
Should the Lions fail to listen to Brooks, the New York Giants are right behind them at No. 12.
“For all the talk about the Giants needing to add weaponry to their defensive line, the secondary is a huge concern heading into 2014. Corey Webster was released after falling apart over the past two seasons, while Terrell Thomas and Trumaine McBride are set to hit free agency. Thus, the G-Men desperately need a big, athletic cover corner with a polished game to immediately step into the lineup opposite Prince Amukamara.”
Other teams that Brooks thinks could draft Gilbert in the first round include the Chicago Bears (No. 14), Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 15) and Cincinnati Bengals (No. 24).