The Cleveland Browns have selected Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert with the eighth overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. Gilbert was one among a strong corps of defensive backs entering this year's draft class. He ranked as the fourth-best cornerback and 31st-best overall player on SB Nation's top 200 big board. Jason Verrett, Darqueze Dennard and Bradley Roby comprised the top three cornerbacks, in order.
Gilbert may be the best pure athlete of the bunch, possessing blistering speed to go with a 6'0 frame. After his senior season, he was finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is given annually to the top defensive back in college football. He was named first-team All-Big 12.
In our scouting report of Gilbert, Matthew Fairburn writes about his ability to attack the ball in the air:
This is part of what makes Justin Gilbert an exciting player to watch and one of the most intriguing cornerback prospects in this draft. He looks like a wide receiver when the ball is in the air. He turns his head and tracks the football with ease while showing off the leaping ability and hands to make a ton of plays.
Weight: 202 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.37 seconds
Bench press: 20 reps of 225 pounds
Vertical jump: 35.5 inches
Broad jump: 126 inches
3-cone drill: 6.92 seconds
Gilbert was the fastest player at his position at the 2014 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, and he was the third-strongest going by the bench press. His frame his drool-worthy, along with his measurables. Scouting reports suggest that he may still need to develop into a more physical player to become reliable at the next level, but there's no question that Gilbert has a high ceiling.