Categorized | 2014 Draft, Article

Steelers 2014 NFL Draft Player Profiles – Missouri CB E.J. Gaines


Good friend Dave-Te’ Thomas of Scouting Services has finished his player profiles of several of the top 2014 NFL Draft prospects and over the course of the next few weeks I will be posting the ones that the Pittsburgh Steelers will more than likely have interest in. While Missouri cornerback E.J. Gaines hasn’t been reported as making a pre draft visit to Pittsburgh, the Steelers likely have some level of interest in him. Alex posted a tape breakdown of Gaines this morning so now is a perfect time to post his profile that was prepared by Thomas, who has done these for the NFL for several years now.

EDWIN “E.J.” GAINES
Cornerback
University of Missouri Tigers
#31
5:09.5-190
Independence, Missouri
Fort Osage High School

OVERVIEW

The Tigers’ most experienced player on their roster in 2013, Gaines boasts thirty-seven consecutive starts in the Missouri secondary, beginning his career as a right cornerback before shifting to the left side for his junior and senior campaigns. The hard-hitting pass defender has scored via fumble recoveries in each of his last two seasons, as he’s also ranked among the team leaders in tackles during that time.

Gaines attended Fort Osage High School, where he was a two-time first-team all-state performer. He helped lead his team to the Missouri Class V title game as a senior in 2009, in which he ran for 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns and caught 20 passes for 400 yards. He also starred in the secondary by making 72 tackles and two interceptions.

During his junior year, Gaines registered 89 tackles and added five interceptions, including one he returned for a score. He previously recorded 88 tackles with five pass thefts as a sophomore in 2007. He was considered a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, as that service rated him as the 51st-best cornerback prospect in the nation and the ninth-best prospect in the state of Missouri.

Gaines was a multi-sport performer who was also a standout in track and basketball for his school, as he won all-state honors in track two different years. Wanted to stay close to home, the Independence native accepted a scholarship offer to attend the University of Missouri.

Unlike most recruits who red-shirt their first season in college, Gaines proved quickly during 2010 fall camp that he was ready to contribute immediately. In thirteen games, used mostly in sub packages, he delivered 26 tackles (19 solos) and deflected a pass. In 2011, he captured All-Big Twelve Conference honors after he set the school season record and ranked fourth in the nation with eighteen passes defended, breaking up sixteen tosses while intercepting two others. He also ranked fifth on the squad with 69 tackles.

While Missouri switched leagues, joining the Southeastern Conference in 2012, Gaines also made a move – to the left cornerback slot. He maintained his excellence by ranking fourth on the team with 74 tackles, again pacing the Tigers with eleven pass break-ups, to go with one interception. He also recovered two fumbles that he advanced for touchdowns – the first, vs. Central Florida in the end zone and the second coming from a 13-yard runback vs. Kentucky.

As a senior, Gaines faced a daunting task of covering Mike Evans when the Tigers met Texas A&M. Expected to be one of the first receivers taken in the 2014 draft, Gaines limited the 6:05 wide-out to eight yards on four catches. He scored on a fumble recovery vs. Auburn and finished third on the team after making a career-high 75 tackles that included four behind the line of scrimmage. While he only had three pass break-ups, he did pace the team with five interceptions.

CAREER NOTES

Gaines started his final thirty-seven games at Missouri, seeing action in fifty contests, as hproduced 244 tackles (183 solos) with three forced fumbles, fourteen stops for losses of 38 yards, 31 pass deflections and eight interceptions for 71 yards in returns…Gained 154 yards with a score on eleven punt returns (14.0 avg) and reached the end zone three times with a trio of fumble recoveries, a school record in that category…His eight pass thefts rank 13th on the school career-record list…His eighteen passes defended in 2011 set a new Missouri season record.

SEASON ANALYSIS

2013 SEASON

Gaines earned All-Southeastern Conference first-team honors from the league’s coaches and media…The senior started twelve games at left cornerback, finishing second on the team with 75 tackles, as his 57 solo hits ranked seventh in the league…Made four stops for losses of 13 yards and finished second in the SEC with five interceptions for 17 yards in returns…Deflected three other throws and fielded two blocked punts for 12 yards…Had a big 11-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in the second quarter vs. Auburn, while also recording nine tackles and one sack in the SEC Championship Game…Locked down Texas A&M WR Mike Evans (only four receptions for eight yards), in the 28-21 win vs. the Aggies, recording six tackles in the process, earning SEC Player of the Week honors…
Suffered a leg injury in the second quarter vs. Georgia that sidelined him vs. Florida and South Carolina…Returned to the starting lineup in the win vs. Tennessee, tying for the team-lead in stops (six) and grabbed his fourth interception of 2013…Had his third pick of the season vs. Arkansas State, setting a then-season-high…Produced a career-night with two interceptions in the win vs. Murray State.

2012 SEASON

Named the team’s Player of the Year, Gaines started all twelve games at left cornerback, as he ranked eighth in the SEC with 58 solo tackles and finished fourth on the team with 74 total hits that included seven stops for losses of 19 yards…Caused two fumbles and scored on a pair of fumble recoveries – vs. Central Florida in the end zone and vs. Kentucky on a 13-yard runback…Also took a handoff on a punt return and picked up 44 yards vs. Arizona State…Intercepted one pass and led the team for the second-straight year with eleven pass deflections…Closed the season in big fashion when he had 10 tackles and added two pass break ups and an interception at Texas A&M…The week before vs. Syracuse saw Gaines break up a season-high three passes while making five tackles vs. the Orange…Broke up two passes and had three tackles – including one for a loss – in the defeat to Georgia…Had five tackles vs. Arizona State and broke up two passes while adding 44 yards on a punt return vs. the Sun Devils after taking a handoff on a reverse from Marcus Murphy…Finished the South Carolina game with seven tackles – third-most on the team (six solo)…Had a monster game at Central Florida, leading all Mizzou defenders with 13 tackles (8 solos), while he accumulated two tackles for loss totaling nine yards and also forced a fumble in the fourth quarter which helped ice the victory, and earlier broke up a pass…Posted seven tackles (five solos), including two tackles for loss vs. Vanderbilt…Made four tackles (all solo) vs. Alabama and was all over the place in the Tigers’ 33-10 homecoming win over Kentucky, posting four tackles (three solos) with a forced fumble, a fumble recovery for a scoop-and-score of 13 yards with a pass break up and a quarterback hit…Delivered five tackles (all solo), forced a fumble and led Mizzou with two quarterback hits in the Tigers’ 14-7 loss at Florida…Was sensational in the Tigers’ 51-48, four overtime win at Tennessee, registering eight tackles, all solos.

2011 SEASON

Gaines earned All-Big Twelve Conference first-team honors during his first season as a starter, lining up at right cornerback…Set the school record and ranked fourth in the nation with eighteen passes defended, picking off two throws for 54 yards in returns while deflecting sixteen other tosses…Recorded 69 tackles (49 solos) with three stops behind the line of scrimmage…Returned nine punts for 98 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown vs. Western Illinois…Made five tackles vs. Miami (Ohio), three solo and two assisted, in the first start of his career, as he kept the Redhawks off the scoreboard late in the first half by intercepting a Zac Dysert pass in the end zone after Miami had driven 67 yards down inside the MU 15-yard-line…Posted three tackles Western Illinois and in just the second punt return of his career, returned a late fourth quarter kick 44 yards for Mizzou’s final score of the night…Added five solo tackles and picked off a Landry Jones pass off a deflection in Mizzou’s loss at Oklahoma…Had the second most tackles on the team vs. Kansas State with a total of eight (seven were solo), while he also registered 2.5 stops-for-loss…Had a monster game vs. Iowa State, finishing with nine tackles, the second most on the team, as he also forced his first fumble of the season and broke up a pass vs. the Cyclones…Intercepted Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden in the end zone and returned it 54 yards into Cowboy territory for his second pick of the year, as he also had six tackles and broke up three passes on the day…Posted a season-best in tackles (10) and pass breakups (four) vs. Texas A&M, which helped him earn Big Twelve Defensive Player of the Week honors…Was in on a seven-tackle day at Baylor while also adding another pass breakup…Finished the Texas game with six tackles and two pass breakups…Had a pair of tackles and two more pass breakups vs. Texas Tech, giving him 16 for the season which broke previous MU single season record of 15 (set in 2002 by Michael Harden)…Credited with three tackles vs. Kansas, including an assisted tackle for loss.

2010 SEASON

Gaines played in thirteen games as a reserve cornerback…The true freshman recorded 26 tackles (19 solos) and deflected one pass.

INJURY REPORT

2013 Season…Left the Georgia game in the second quarter with a leg injury that would also sideline him vs. Florida and South Carolina…Did not participated in the agility tests at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine due to a pelvis strain.

AGILITY TESTS

4.48 in the 40-yard dash…1.55 10-yard dash…2.58 20-yard dash…4.13 20-yard shuttle…11.23 60-yard shuttle…6.95 three-cone drill…32-inch vertical jump…9’-8” broad jump… Bench pressed 225 pounds 15 times…30 3/8-inch arm length…9 3/8-inch hands…72 ¼-inch wingspan.

HIGH SCHOOL

Gained attended Fort Osage (Independence, Mo.) High School, playing football for head coach Ryan Schatz…Two-time first-team all-state performer…Helped lead his team to the Missouri Class V title game as a senior in 2009, in which he ran for 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns and caught 20 passes for 400 yards…Also starred in the secondary by making 72 tackles and two interceptions…During his junior year, Gaines registered 89 tackles and added five interceptions, including one he returned for a score…Previously recorded 88 tackles with five pass thefts as a sophomore in 2007…Considered a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, as that service rated him as the 51st-best cornerback prospect in the nation and the ninth-best prospect in the state of Missouri…The multi-sport performer was also a standout in track and basketball for his school, as he won all-state honors in track two different years.

PERSONAL

Gaines is majoring in Hospitality Management…Son of Alta Bailey and Edwin Gaines…
Resides in Independence, Missouri.

PLAYER STATISTICS

DEFENSIVE STATISTICS
STATS GP GS TK SO AS FR FC INT TFL PBU SACK BK
2010 13 0 26 19 7 0 0 0 00.0-00 1 00.0-00 0
2011 13 13 69 49 20 0 1 2 03.0-06 16 00.0-00 0
2012 12 12 74 58 16 2 2 1 07.0-19 11 00.0-00 1
2013 12 12 75 57 18 1 0 5 04.0-13 3 00.0-00 2
TOTAL 50 37 244 183 61 3 3 8 14.0-38 31 00.0-00 3

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  • jay

    How is he not top 3 DB!?!?! Numbers don’t lie

  • SFIC

    5′-9 1/2″

  • ApexSteel

    Short with short arms.

  • jay

    So because a player is tall is a better player?? Richard Sherman got everyone thinking tall DBs the way to go right?? 5’9 1/2 and had a more productive career than any DB in the top 5.

  • SFIC

    Personally, I’m not saying height is a problem, but you gotta believe a lot of NFL teams would be worried. I posted a mock on another board yesterday and had us taking him in 5. I like him.

  • jay

    That’s just disrespect man 5th rd?? The NFL is based on hype so much it’s crazyyyy. Been watching since sophomore yr. He does everything great. He will be a great pro.

  • jay

    31 pass break ups. 8int 244 tlks. Go find a 6ft+ DB with those career stats….. Then we can talk about height.

  • SFIC

    You never know for sure. Measurables do have meaning (though not always). Case in point, AQ Shipley 2009 draft. He won the Rimington Award for the best Center in the nation and was All-American. But he had short arms. We all thought he would still be a 3rd or 4th rd pick. We ended up drafting him in the 7th rd…and he never amounted to much.

  • jay

    Short arms in blocking is different for a short arm coverage guy. He tackles great covers great fights off blocks great. He plays bigger than what he is. Ya you can measure and say he has short arms. You can’t watch flim and just notice he has short arms cause he does everything he suppose to do.

  • ApexSteel

    I’m not arguing with you I’m just giving you the reason. The same thing is happening with Jason Verrett.

  • SFIC

    But remember he is “short” and has short arms.
    Again, I really like the kid. But I think he will fall because of those flags….how much? We’ll find out in 2 weeks. If a team really likes him they could take him the 3rd.

  • steelster

    Isn’t this the guy that held mike evans to 4 catches for 8 yards.

  • Alex Kozora

    Yes, as Dave mentions in this article.

  • steelster

    yes, sorry missed it.

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