State CowBoys ~ 5116/201
When analyzing the Merits of a prospective CornerBack, this is how I personally break things down:
Intangibles: Diagnostic Acuity, Field Vision, and, above all: Processing Speed. And of course: Motor. Motor Matters.
Agility: Acceleration, Fluidity, and Closing Speed. And of course: Verticity!! Turning & Burning in Direct Coverage.
Pass Prevention: Combat Skills in Coverage, and Timing, Vertical Burst, and WingSpan at the Catch Point.
Run Support: Appetite, Tactical Discipline, and Combat Skills ~ working through Traffic & Tackling Mechanics.
Agility: Extraordinary. Outstanding Acceleration, incredible Fluidity, and phenomenal Closing Speed. He's blessed with amazing natural Agility, and after a nightmarish 2012 Campaign, the light went on and he began to dedicate himself to mastering the techniques he needs to develop to make the most of his great Talent. It showed.
Pass Prevention: Adept. He seems most comfortable in Press Coverage, getting chippy near the Line of Scrimmage, but needs a lot of work with his Mechanics, "keeping in touch" with the Receiver as they work their way DownField, and in positioning himself to Intercept at the CatchPoint. Good Timing and Vertical Burst, though.
Run Support: Mediocre. Gilbert exhibits an Appetite for Contact, and has a strong Frame for it. He does need a lot of work in developing his Combat Skills and working through Traffic better, however, and his Tackling is raw, as well.
For my money, I actually give more credit that I take away, when a kid comes out and admits that. Seems to me that that displays authentic Character, especially when he turns it around as spectacularly as he did in 2013.
A lot of folks seem to be mired in some fascinating fantasy wherein most kid don't go through growing pains and that they simply arrive on their College Campus in a state of fully developed emotional Maturity and Wisdom.
But I believe that many folks realize that in the real world, Evolution is a process, Maturity takes Time and Hard Experience, and most of us are one Hell of a lot different at 18, just out'f High School, than we are at 21 or 22.
Sorry if that was suspiciously like a Lecture, my Fellow FootBall Fanatics. I got on that Tangent because I think it applies to Justin Gilbert's Draft Grade: Intangibles are important to most of us in this evaluational process, and I believe that many Teams are going to lower their Grades on Gilbert ~ at least initially ~ because of what I consider a False Read.
The vast majority of these kids will be coached to Parrot Platitudes.
They will be told to Say The Right Things so they don't avoid costing themselves serious Capital.
Gilbert's Admission comes to these eyes as a cool breath of Fresh Air.
And his subsequent Performance in his glorious ComeBack Player of the Year 2013 Campaign confirms the impression that his words give: He isn't Telling Us What We Want To Hear. He has slacked off, he has stared into The Abyss that Slacking produced, he got the fright of his Life...and he has undergone Fundamental Change.
This kid is incredibly Agile, he is strong, he is blessed with great natural Instincts, and now, after staring into The Abyss, the Light has come on. He is raw, yes he is, because he's only just recently really started to apply himself.
But when I look at the 2012 Tape and compare it to the 2013 Tape, his Improvement is astonishing.
I believe that Justin Gilbert gets it, now, and I hardly believe that he's going to forget it, now that he's experienced the immense satisfaction of what Dedication and Hard Work can do for you for the first time.
To my eyes, his courageous Admission and his subsequently vastly improved Performance paint a clear picture of an incredibly talented kid who has experienced Failure for the first time in his life, and will never forget it. I think that that Failure, and his subsequent Redemption, are going to drive him, and for a very long time. And when I apply that Perception of where I think his Head is, these days, towards the Talent within this kid, I get a Trajectory that is Sky High.
Thanks, as always, to the extraordinary Work by the men of Draft BreakDown!!
Consensus Market Value