The new defensive back of today has been around in theory for years but hardly become mainstream. Every team wants a taller, stronger and faster cornerback to stick with the taller, stronger and faster wide receivers. It sounds a bit obvious, since those are often the most ideal skills for any position, but for whatever reason, the cornerback position just did not foster any stretched out dudes.
With guys like the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman dominating in the NFL now and receivers like the Detroit Lions’ Calvin Johnson getting jump balls in the corner of end zone, teams are super desperate for taller cornerbacks. Following the NFL Combine, Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert has proved he not only has the size, but he has the skills. If Gilbert falls to No. 10 in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Lions must snatch him up without hesitation.
The Lions haven’t had a Pro Bowl defensive back in about a decade, and their porous secondary has become even more suspect now that the Lions are expected to win, despite their inability to do so. Gilbert can provide that size and power to not only cover some of the premier receivers in the league, but he can also make much-needed game-changing plays on defense that could adjust the course of the season by simply altering one or two games on the schedule. That’s a huge prediction for a rookie, but I believe Gilbert is the kind of player who could live up to that expectation.
Should the Lions trade up to get Gilbert? I would say no, and only because there are other good cornerbacks in the draft and a lot of the top 10 drafters are looking elsewhere for help. Regardless, the Lions need to draft wisely and pick up a star defensive back. Justin Gilbert is the best bet.