Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has spoken and thus made his first-round prediction for the black and gold.
After narrowing down the Steelers selection to the cornerback and wide receiver positions, Bouchette thinks that Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert will be the pick later tonight when the 2014 NFL Draft gets underway in New York City.
We will go with Gilbert as the Steelers pick at No. 15. He has the size and is the fastest of the bunch. It’s not that the other two are slow, but Gilbert has speed the others do not have. There is an old theory that you should not pick a slow or small player in the first round. If you start making exceptions, you wind up with a team that is small and slow.
Bouchette’s pick obviously means that he believes there’s a good chance that Gilbert will still be on the board come time for the Steelers selection and one would think that Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller would be as well. I can only imagine what the discussion in the Steelers war room would be like if indeed that were to be the case.
Measuring in at 6002 and boasting a 4.31 second 40-yard dash time, Gilbert is neither small, nor slow.
While Bouchette doesn’t mention it, Gilbert also has experience as a kick returner. In his four years at Oklahoma State, the speedy cornerback returned 102 kickoffs for 2,681 yards and six touchdowns. While he didn’t return punts during his final three years in college, he did get to field eight of them for 55 yards as a freshman.
Personally, I would rather Fuller be the Steelers selection, but if Gilbert winds up being the pick instead, I won’t be throwing anything at my television.