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
University of Missouri Tigers
Fort Osage High School
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gaines played in thirteen games as a reserve cornerback…The true freshman recorded 26 tackles (19 solos) and deflected one pass.
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.
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.
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.
Gaines is majoring in Hospitality Management…Son of Alta Bailey and Edwin Gaines…
Resides in Independence, Missouri.