Hoge’s Bears Big Board: No. 4 CB Justin Gilbert
By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) — A look at the top 20 NFL Draft prospects that could be on the Bears’ radar, based on projected availability, position of need and player skill:
CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
Hand: 8 5/8
Arm: 33 1/8
College Career: Three-year starter at Oklahoma State. Nearly entered the NFL Draft a year ago, but decided to return for his senior season after struggling a little bit as a junior. 12 career interceptions, including seven as a senior (two returned for touchdowns). Also a dynamic kick returner who returned six kicks for touchdowns during his college career.
Strengths: Great length, athleticism and speed. Man-coverage skills that translate to the NFL. Ability to turn and run with ease. Changes direction instantly and closes on the ball. Playmaker. Should be an immediate contributor as a cornerback and kick returner.
Weaknesses: Not very physical at the line of scrimmage. Could get a little stronger. Small hands. Could show more desire against the run. Shies away from contact at times.
Bears Outlook: There’s a gap between Gilbert and the rest of the cornerbacks in this year’s draft — both in terms of potential and what can be contributed right away as a rookie. No other corner has Gilbert’s combination of length, speed and athleticism — and he has the production to go along with it. In terms of future replacements for Charles Tillman, Gilbert is the best option in this year’s draft. It will take the 14th-overall pick to get him though.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.