Draft Daily: Upside Bets With Gilbert, Roby

NFL: Combine

Chip Kelly doesn’t wait until after the season to get involved in the draft process.

The Eagles’ head coach revealed earlier this month that on Saturday afternoons in the fall, he sits down and watches college tape.

But in most cases, the scouting process is different for coaches and personnel people. The scouting staff works on the draft year-round, while coaches typically get involved in January. That can lead to new debates and differing opinions in the months leading up to the draft. According to NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, those discussions are particularly relevant with this year’s cornerback class.

“What’s interesting about the corners is that most of the personnel guys have [Bradley] Roby and [Justin] Gilbert as their highest-rated corners just because they have better movement skills,” Mayock said Thursday. “Most of the coaches like [Kyle] Fuller  and [Darqueze] Dennard because they’re better football players today. You know what you’re getting.”

We wrote about Fuller yesterday and Dennard earlier this week. There’s a chance they are the two cornerbacks to go off the board first. But there’s also a possibility that teams will bank on the upside of Roby and Gilbert, the two players we’ll talk about today.

Let’s start with Gilbert. Of all the first-round corners, he has the best speed/size combination. At 6 feet, 202 pounds, the Oklahoma State product ran a 4.37 at the combine:

In addition to the height and speed, Gilbert has long arms (33 1/8 inches) and is a tremendous athlete.

“He’s got return ability in the kick game,” Mayock said. “He’s explosive. He’s got beautiful hips. He can turn and run. He’s got more upside than any corner in the draft. However, he’s highly inconsistent.”

Added Greg Cosell during an interview on the Ross Tucker Football Podcast: “Gilbert is not the prospect Patrick Peterson was. But I could see people thinking somewhere down the road he’d become that kind of player because of the size and the movement.”

With Gilbert, it could come down to coaching. If you feel like you have coaches who can get him to play to his potential, he’s probably your top-rated corner.

One thing to note with the Eagles: The last two years, they’ve taken guys with considerable upside. Lane Johnson might not have had the cleanest college tape, but his size/athleticism combination is unmatched. Fletcher Cox, meanwhile, had a unique size/quickness combination for a defensive lineman.

If they like Gilbert from a character/work ethic perspective, he could be an attractive pick. Then again, there’s a chance he’s long gone by the time the Eagles are on the clock.

Here are a couple full-game cut-ups of Gilbert:


Let’s move on to Roby. He’s a little smaller than Gilbert, but has great straight-line speed:

He’s obviously an excellent athlete, but it’s worth noting he’s not exactly long (31 1/2-inch arms).

“Roby has a tremendous skill set,” said Cosell. “He is good-sized. He can run. He can play man. He can play zone. The problem with Roby is that he does not consistently play to his athleticism and his physical attributes.”

According to Rotoworld, Roby got his hands on the ball just once every 4.92 targets. That was the worst percentage of any of the top cornerback prospects. And he was not a great tackler.

Still, some people really like him. From Rotoworld’s Josh Norris:

Where He Wins: Attacks the jam or blocking receiver, frequently gets into the action. Will play off or press man coverage, attacks the catch point by cutting in front of the target. Even plays on special teams. Trails in close distances and prevents the sliver of separation at the catch point. Makes things difficult on the opposition.

Where He Fits: Not locked into one side of the field. Likely better in press due to physical nature, but shows he can attack and drive in off coverage.

Among the four cornerbacks mentioned, the guess here is that the Eagles have Roby ranked last. The athleticism is there, but because of the inconsistency, he seems like a risky pick at No. 22.

Below are some cut-ups of Roby.

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  • myeaglescantwin

    Since we wouldn’t expect any CB to come in and start day 1, i’d be fine with drafting Roby and making sure he gets the NFL fundamentals down pat.

    • Hanibal Luis

      Good point, but not at #22 and he probably won’t be at #54. I don’t know, I just think off the field he’s what Chip is looking for.

      Plus, he’s doesn’t wear a watch so he doesn’t give me that true “Roby” feel, you know?

      • dnabrice

        Agree. Chip seems more careful about off the field stuff than Andy Reid was.

      • myeaglescantwin

        i haven’t heard anything as to what type of off the field character he has.

        And honestly, unless someone falls significantly, i don’t really see any “huge” additions at 22 that would prevent us from trying to move the pick and slide back a couple spots.

  • Dominik

    “He’s got beautiful hips”. Oh, Mikey. Any plans for tonight…?

  • Dawk

    Give me Fuller and don’t look back

  • ohitsdom

    Gilbert sounds like DRC- talented, but inconsistent.

    • peteike

      but DRC is inconsistent because he just doesnt care about football. Watch, this coming season its his off year. Cant believe a team signed him after his retirement talk. Worst kind of player imo, shades of Haynesworth. Yet he played well for the Broncos but after he gave up in philly and zona its an actual trend, not an anomaly.

      • Joe from Easton

        DRC can play when he’s motivated. I’m sure watching Eli throw 7 Int’s through the first three weeks will help to temper that motivation haha.

    • Tom W

      Funny that’s what josh Norris thinks too. Gilbert is easily the best prospect w fuller having the highest floor.

  • travis papa

    Roby will be a Bengal and it has nothing to do with character/arrest jokes. He is comparable on that chart to hall and Joseph both former 1st rd picks of the Bengals and he’s an OSU guy might as well be signed sealed delivered especially when he falls bc of the off the field stuff if they don’t take him in the 1st and he’s hanging around in the 2nd.

  • JAMIN67

    I’m not a fan of Gilbert. In the few games I saw of him, he’s not the greatest tackler. Also noticed that when a ball-carrier is coming into his area…well, it’s not that he 100% shies away from contact…but he’s not one of those corners who is looking to hit someone if he doesn’t have to. I prefer aggressive corners.

    • southy

      100% agree. Watching the tape you can see him when the ball goes somewhere else, judging whether or not he’s going to HAVE to get in on the tackle. Eagles have been there, done that. Gimme Fuller all day.

      • JAMIN67

        Love Fuller. I’m also a big fan of Aaron Colvin, although I don’t think he fits Chip’s “Big People” mantra and CB measurables. Then again, the kid is coming off an ACL injury…so maybe we use a late round draft pick on him, and let our SEAL team trainer bulk him up a bit.

  • Tom W

    I watched a bunch of fuller’a big games and didn’t see a corner who had any ability to play bump and run or press coverage. Looked like a much better zone corner to me … I wouldn’t be suprised if titans drafted fuller at 11 to replace verner and Gilbert or Dennard to the steelers. Lions in play for a corner too. Don’t see anyway eagles draft a corner in rd 1-2.

    • cliff henny

      if they did, no matter how much you or rob, RC, JP or Jeff-rice told me the guy could play/huge upside, not sure I could get onboard. well, I’m a homer so I would, but still prefer a different direction. just so many 3rd or later rounds CBs drafted that end up very good, when qb is under pressure. let’s get someone in qbs face often on 3rd and 5+ first, then worry about corners

      • Tom W

        I’m w ya. I don’t see it nor do I want a corner early. It’s deep this yr and the kid we get in rd 4 or 5 can sit and learn for a year.

  • southy

    As much flack as Kiper and McShay and Wingo got for their mock draft stuff, watching the recap on ESPN now caught this little nugget:

    Asked why McShay is so low on Carr, he had the following (paraphrased) response:
    – “I made a mistake in my evaluation of Blaine Gabbert and I don’t want to do it again. He was great with a clean pocket but his accuracy and mistake levels went through the roof under duress.”
    -“You see the same thing with Brandon Weeden. Everyone loved his skills coming out, big time arm, stands tall in the pocket, makes all the throws. But he was horrible under pressure, and we’ve seen how that’s been borne out on the NFL level.”
    – “You look at Nick Foles and he aced that test [his words]. At first I didn’t like so much of what I saw on tape, but you go back and look at what he did under pressure and when the pocket breaks down, and he aced that test. And now we’re seeing what he’s becoming at the pro level.”

  • JofreyRice

    wow, i am at complete exhaustion with talking about these draft prospects. 75% of these guys are never going to do anything that impressive in the NFL.

    • anon

      Glad someone finally said it. I mean we asked for it i supposed but man…

    • Token

      Its weird but just an extra two weeks has kinda made me hate the draft lol. Im just really over talking about it too. I hope they change it back. Cant they just move the NFL schedule release to May so they still can keep the NFL in the headlines every month?

  • Jerry Pomroy

    Nice to come back to check the reactions as I was the first to post and open this up and now see that my post never posted. Excellent!

    Anyway, I’m not sold on any of these guys being 1st round talents. In any other draft they’re 2nd rounders. I’m not a big fan of the, “well he’s the best at his position ‘this year’, so he’s gotta go in the first”. Plus it’s really not a position of dire need. Hence my reasoning behind waiting on CB until mid rounds to develop as future starter or depth. If we want a star talent at CB, this just isn’t the year for it. If we address OLB, WR, ILB and fill depth at OL, DL, then I’m all for going for a stud CB next year. But there just isn’t one in this year’s crop. So why force it.

  • Neanderthal

    SJB in third

  • Hanibal Luis

    It’s just not the year to go for DBs in the first round. I certainly wouldn’t be happy with Fuller or anyone rated as a 1st round pick. But I also can’t just casually say “ah, they’ll just trade back” cause it seems that half the league wants to trade back.

    I say, everyone from pick #20 on, forfeit their picks and start over from Day 2, that way everyone gets a steal and no one has to reach for anyone 😛

  • OEF vet

    Great article. Great comments. Philly fans are the most knowledgeable fans in America. Served over 10 years in the military and know sport fans all over this planet and Philly is like none other.