I expect Gilbert to emerge and take that spot at the combine. Personally I still don’t understand why so much stock is put into 40 times, but I think that Gilbert could put up some eye popping times in Indianapolis.
Gilbert is who I prefer out of the two, but it has nothing to do with 40 times.
I love the way Dennard plays the game. He’s very smart and loves to play close to the line and use his hands to beat up receivers. It’s fun to watch, but it’s not really how the Steelers typically use their corners.
Justin Gilbert has more scheme versatility, and has shown he’s capable in playing man or zone, and playing off man with the Steelers employ quite a bit.
There’s a lot to like about Gilbert. He’s got good size and long arms, and is a fluid athlete. Gilbert manages to make plays without being over aggressive, because he’s rarely burned. No cornerback had more interceptions than Gilbert in 2013, who grabbed 7.
Gilbert could also add a spark to the Steelers special teams unit. He returned 6 kickoffs for touchdowns in his college career.
All of that being said, I could see the Steelers going away from Gilbert because he really doesn’t show the effort in run support that they require.
Personally, I’d like to see a playmaker in the secondary and could live with a few missed tackles if he can grab 5 or 6 interceptions a season. Gilbert has a similar build to Cortez Allen, so maybe he could be coached up into being a serviceable run defender.
If Gilbert puts on a show at the combine it’s possible that he’s not even an option at 15 for the Steelers, but if he is it’d be a good start to rebuilding an aging secondary.