Oct 26, 2013; Ames, IA, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys cornerback Justin Gilbert (4) looks on during the first quarter against the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium. Oklahoma State defeated Iowa State 58-27. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
There were plenty of question marks surrounding Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert heading into the season, but after his performance against undefeated Baylor on Saturday, it’s no longer possible to ignore the things this kid can do and the strides he has made as a senior in 2013.
At 6’0″ 200 pounds, Gilbert is an impressively sized defensive back with a nose for the football, and a nose for the end zone. So far this season, he’s got six interceptions, two which he returned for touchdowns, and he’s also got a kick return touchdown, something he’s made himself famous for while a member of the Cowboys.
As a junior, Gilbert didn’t have any interceptions, prompting scouts to wonder if he could be consistent enough to start in the NFL as a corner and not just a CB/KR type. Here’s my pre-season report on Gilbert:
Gilbert has the size and speed that you’d look for in an elite NFL cornerback, but there are questions abounding about his inconsistency at the position. He is a physical corner who has pretty inconsistent technique and needs to show much more consistency as a senior to attract NFL scouts. Where Gilbert is most dangerous is as a kick returner, where he has five touchdowns in his first three collegiate seasons. He is a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands who looked like he was well on his way to super-stardom as a sophomore when he had five picks and 10 passes broken up, but he took a significant step back as a junior. If he can show his technique is refined, he has top 75 qualities. He is a big, long-striding corner with good speed and ability after the catch. If he proves coachable and fixable, NFL teams will be really enticed by this playmaker.
On Saturday in their blowout win, Oklahoma State held the potent Baylor passing attack and Bryce Petty to 28-of-48 passing, and even though they gave up as many yards as they did with two touchdowns and no picks, it was a stellar performance for Gilbert and the rest of the crew for the Cowboys.
In fact, with this big win, Gilbert may have placed himself on the map as one of the most interesting prospects at his position heading down the home stretch of the 2013 college football season. His six interceptions are obviously really impressive, but it’s his speed, agility, and imposing size that have NFL scouts really excited about this young, budding star.