Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert Is Not A Player You Can Count On Offering Run Support

One of the big concerns about Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert with the 2014 NFL Draft quickly approaching is his ineffectiveness against the run.

When it comes to playing cornerback for Pittsburgh Steelers, being able to offer run support and tackle is a pretty big prime requisite.

So how did Gilbert do against the run last season? While stats aren’t everything, you might be interested to know that of his 42 tackles last season, only 14 came against the run. Three of those 14, however, consisted of him merely pushing the runner out of bounds.

Of those remaining 11 run tackles that Gilbert was credited for last season, five of those went for 10 yards or more. Also, as you can see in the play by play below from last season, nine of the 14 run tackles that Gilbert was credited for resulted in a first down.

So what does the tape say? Well, it pretty much matches the stats. Gilbert wasn’t very involved at all last season in run support. He doesn’t seem very interested in sticking his face in the fan.

The Steelers like their young defensive backs to cut their teeth on special teams as kick and punt coverage players. Unless Gilbert changes his ways pretty quick, he could quite possibly be a liability when it comes to that phase of the game should he land in Pittsburgh.

Don’t get me wrong, Gilbert has positive attributes when it comes to playing the cornerback position, but run support is certainly not one of them and I really don’t see that changing at the NFL level.

Play By PlayYDS
H 2-10 H48 Soza rush left for 10 yards to the OSU42, 1ST DOWN UTSA, out-of-bounds (Gilbert, Justin).10
K 1-10 K21 Sams, Daniel rush for 12 yards to the KSU33, 1ST DOWN KSU (Gilbert, Justin).12
K 1-15 O47 Sams, Daniel rush for 6 yards to the OSU41 (Gilbert, Justin;Lewis, Shaun).6
K 2-5 O22 Hubert, John rush for 5 yards to the OSU17, 1ST DOWN KSU (Gilbert, Justin).5
T 3-5 O15 Boykin, Trevone rush for 4 yards to the OSU11 (Gilbert, Justin).4
I 1-10 I32 Richardson, SB rush for 51 yards to the OSU17, 1ST DOWN ISU (Gilbert, Justin;Gary, Shamiel).51
K 1-10 K20 Sims,James rush for 11 yards to the KU31, 1ST DOWN KU, out-of-bounds (Gilbert, Justin).11
K 3-9 O12 Sims,James rush for no gain to the OSU12 (Gilbert, Justin).0
T 1-10 T25 Bergeron, Joe rush up middle for 5 yards to the UT30 (Gilbert, Justin;Lowe, Daytawion).5
T 2-5 T30 Bergeron, Joe rush over left guard for 6 yards to the UT36, 1ST DOWN UT (Gilbert, Justin).6
T 2-6 T40 Bergeron, Joe rush over right guard for 21 yards to the OSU39, 1ST DOWN UT (Gilbert, Justin).21
O 4-1 S44 Saunders, Jalen rush for 12 yards to the OSU32, 1ST DOWN OU (Gilbert, Justin).12
O 2-10 S44 Saunders, Jalen rush for 37 yards to the OSU7, 1ST DOWN OU (Gilbert, Justin).37
M 1-10 M43 Clock 04:32, Hansbrough, Rus rush for 13 yards to the OSU44, 1ST DOWN MU, out-of-bounds (Gilbert, Justin).13

  • No thank you sir, pass

  • kev4heels

    This is why I have never bought into us taking Gilbert. DL will not draft a guy that can’t tackle. Just won’t do it. I like Gilbert but seems more like an athlete playing CB than a true CB. JMO

  • disqus_WrRvUyG2DA

    How important is stopping the run? The league is pass happy now. I’d rather the steelers take a guy like this than draft another small corner who gets picked on play after play.


    Neon Deion Light.

  • Kevin Reich

    Corners shouldn’t have to tackle. Give me one that can actually cover.

  • ApexSteel

    I’m not worried about it. You can teach tackling, but you can’t teach 6’0 202 with a 4.37 40. Not to mention he’s already a shutdown/ballhawk corner. I mean one of Mike Mitchell’s biggest knocks was that he missed tackles, but I didn’t hear anyone complain when we gave him 5 mil a year.

  • Steelers12328882

    Well, he’s big enough to at least improve on his tackling. As far as special teams go, I’m pretty sure his return ability will far surpass his use as a gunner.

  • Tullydew

    He has no toughness, he won’t be a Steeler. Antonio Cromartie type DB, that is allegergic to contact.

  • joed32

    Dennard ran a 4.37 at his pro day but is 1 inch shorter and 3 pounds lighter. But he he can tackle and hits hard. I would like either one of them.

  • Toddy Bravo

    He’s apparently not allergic to blanketing receivers, defending passes, making game changing interceptions and scoring kick return TDs. This BS about him being weak in run support is vastly overstated too. Lest we forget that CBs who come up to the line of scrimmage in run support do so because of their team’s defensive system. He can only do what he’s asked to do…and he’s done that better than any CB in college football.

    Believe me, I’d happily take Gilbert or Dennard, but the criticism of Gilbert is the only weak thing I see around here.

  • Jason Vancil

    But you cannot teach the will to tackle.

  • Jason Vancil

    This kid is a Phillip Buchanon clone. 17th overall pick in 2002. Nice int stats but has played with 6 different teams. Won’t tackle.

  • SteelersDepot

    Cant compare Gilbert to Mitchell. Mitchell has a form problem. It’s not a “want to” problem. He has delivered some big run support tackles. A safety better not be afraid of contact. Gilbert on the other hand has no “want to”.

  • Tullydew

    He will be a good corner but is not a Steeler CB. Their is a reason that Fuller, Dennard, Roby, Verrett all were invited for a visit and Gibert wasn’t.
    The Steelers have no interest in a CB who is allergic to tackling.

  • ApexSteel

    I don’t see it. Now he for damn sure isn’t the most aggressive in run support, but it’s not like he just won’t tackle. A problem I see is that he’s more content with taking on a block 7 yards past the line and tackling the ball carrier as he runs past than actually coming up and tackling. That type of thing can be fixed if coach Lake can teach him to use his hands more aggressively to get rid of the blocker.

  • Toddy Bravo

    Not really. It was reported that they attended his pro day and Colbert and coaches talked with him specifically. Don’t forget that the draft is a poker game, so there’s just as good of a chance that they simply don’t want to tip their hand IMO.

    Furthermore, the FO and coaches have said many times over the years that the players they bring in for visits are the ones they don’t know much about. If they’ve seen enough of the player in films, combine, pro day, etc., they have no need to bring him in. It would be a wasted visit.

  • Toddy Bravo

    Be careful passing. Justin Gilbert will probably intercept it.

  • dgh57

    Run support was my top reason for ranking him third in yesterdays article about ranking CBs. Steelers like their defensive players physical and hard hitters and is probably the main reason he hasn’t been in for a predraft visit.

  • You can’t teach willingness to tackle.

  • Nathaniel Sullivan

    Historically, every player the Steelers have drafted came in for a pre-draft meeting. Read one of his articles and do some research before you talk.

  • Toddy Bravo

    That isn’t even close to being true. You’re the one who needs to do some research, pal.

  • Tullydew

    Antonio Cromartie light

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    WE have had ike taylor playing cb for 1o years, try to remember the last time he got a sack on a blitz or beat a blocker at the line of scrimmage to tackle a rb, better yet when was the last time he tackled a rb. All his tackles come after his guy catches the pass, that is if he can catch him. Against the spread that colleges play these days, cbs are always picking up the receivers first and have to come off that assignment to chase down run plays, especially in the sec and Big 12 conf.

  • Ike Evans

    Oh wow…I coulnt disagree more….he needs to work on his tackling for sure but he wasn’t asked to tackle his senior year as much as his junior…and he’s very willing….he’s a gunner on special teams too and has taken several ppls heads off….doesn’t avoid rough contact with blockers….I think he’s very willing … He just gambles so angles have been a Lil shaky and let’s be honest he’s not that strong bit I don’t think it has anything to do with his willingness to hit or be hit ….respect your opinion Dave but I think you’re wrong here

  • cp72

    Have a tough time believing Dennard is a 4.37. From the games I have watched I would tend to believe the 4.51 I saw at the combine.

  • cp72

    I wish he was a better tackler, but I am more concerned with if he can cover Josh Gordon, AJ Greene, and Torrey Smith. We need an elite athlete to say with those kind of guys and Gilbert is the most athletic corner in the draft.

    As far as special teams are concerned he will be able to contribute. He might be the best kick return guy coming out. That alone could justify his roster spot year one. I get nearly giddy thinking about he and Blount back on kick return versus Felix Jones and Dwyer.

  • SteelPirate

    Last year Allen had 51 tackles, 8 on RB on running plays. 4 went for more than 10 yards.
    Ike had 63 tackles, but only 2 on RB on running plays. 1 went for more than 10 yards.
    I’d rather have Gilbert chase down someone on a 20-30 yard play than give up the TD (like the Steelers did last year)
    If Gilbert is to play outside, then its okay to have mediocre run support. If playing the slot… W. Gay had the most RB tackles last year.

  • Johnny Loose

    Starting to think this Justin Gilbert lack of run support thing is getting blown out of proportion. Let the other 10 guys tackle the RB. We need one, at least one guy who can stick w/ the other teams #1 receiver. I realize that you need 11 hands on deck to stop an offense, passing play or running play. But we could definitely use a guy who is a threat on passing downs to lock up a receiver and can make plays in the air. If Gilbert were to fall to us at 15, it would be hard to pass on.

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    I agree and disagree with you. Yes he is known to have a big hit or two but there was too many times I watched his game tape and he just watched as one of his teammates made the tackle instead of sticking his head in there to help out. hitting guys that are already preoccupied with a tackler is how you create fumbles

  • Jollyrob68

    Dennard,Fuller in rd 1.

  • Ike Evans

    didnt see that enough to call it an issue you can say that about a lot of guys…I watched 2 years of him…he’s not like Marcus Roberson of Florida where it is obvious every game that this kid hates contact…idk just my opinion…there are issues with this kid that will give you pause but from I can see his willingness to mix it up isn’t 1 here are my questions from what I saw

    1. Will he continue to improve his technique with his back pedal like he did from the year b4 to this past season? Because he still has lapses in that department that he makes up for with his athletic ability. He won’t have as much of a advantage athletic ally at all in the pros
    2. Can he improve his tackling technique? Because he needs too
    3. Will his instinct to gamble for the big playS becoming an asset or a liability at the next level?

    These are the prevailing questions I have about the kid…I feel like I saw enough to answer the question about if he’s willing to hit

  • GoSteelerz

    If he doesn’t want to shed blocks and tackle then no way, if he wants to but just needs coaching, then you can consider him…

  • Impact3697

    How about we draft corners who can cover, and let our DL, LB, S worry about stopping the run.

    I guess we’ll just keeping hoping for the perfect corner to come along who can shut down his man in pass coverage, and be a beast vs the run, lol

    Until we’re lucky enough to land one of those we’ll continue to have above average tackling corners, who are ok in coverage, and get destroyed by the Brady’s/Rodgers of the world

    If Gilbert is the best cover corner in the draft, take him!

  • pittsburghjoe

    If we are this concerned with the challenges associated with both Gilbert and Dennard, why not just take the guy from VT? He seems to be a good cover guy, a willing tackler and the size/speed to match.

  • steelster

    To me the 15th pick should be an impact player with few weaknesses in his game. I think that comes down to 3 guys, gilbert, shazier and Benjamin. A very tough choice. I think shazier has the upside with the least amount of risk. He adds some upper body strength and he can shed those blockers. He isn’t the most immediate need but might be the best athlete available. It’s going to take this years draft and next years to fix the many needs the steelers have. I hope the steelers can find 5 to 6 good starters over the next 2 years.

  • Steve

    Get real, With the Steelers if you can’t tackle – QUIT!

  • Swarmiong Defense

    Gilbert also took several kick offs to the house.

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    I really feel like everything you just said explains another Rogers-Cromartie a guy that gambles too much and since he makes 3-4 splash plays a year people think he is a good corner. In reality most fans of the teams that have DRC hate him because he is responsible for 20 or so big plays b4 he makes that splash play. When you watch the highlights of the kid he is amazing but when you break down the play to play tape he just isn’t that spectacular

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    I think it was reported that they went to his pro day and went out to dinner with him afterwards