So as most of you ho read my stuff know, I attended both California and San Jose State Pro Days last week and interviewed a bunch of players including hot defensive tackle Prospect Jarron Gilbert, who spent a ton of time with Jet Head Coach Rex Ryan during defensive line drills.
I would go so far as to say if Ryan spent any more time with Gilbert I would have expected him to get down on one knee and offer his giant Super Bowl ring up in a proposal.
Which is not to say that the Jets will absolutely pick Gilbert as their second, maybe third round pick. First, he may flat out not be there. Mind you, the Jets showed last year with Dustin Keller that they have a willingness to move up if need be for a player they fall in love with.
But they are doing their homework and that has to make Jets fans happy. Ryan has been all over the place and the jets have been working out, interviewing and investigating a ton of players, as you can see in my team interest article on Draftguys.com.
That list looks as long as the one the Patriots have built and we all know how good they are at working the draft.
You can find the interview with Gilbert, as well as the ones I did with Coye Francies and Chris Owens here and also see this transcript and a ton of other great NFL Draft information at NFLDraftbible.com.
I will be at both USC’s and Hawaii’s Pro Days next week, so more interview transcripts from
those schools, as well as interviews with players from San Jose State, California, Stanford and more over the coming weeks.
Garda: I’m here with Jarron Gilbert, who just had a pretty good Pro Day. Today you spent a lot of time with Rex Ryan–how did that go?
Gilbert: Oh, it went good. We just went through some drills–I think I did pretty good with him, picking things up. Just had a pretty good day out here.
Garda: It definitely looked like you had a very good day. You’ve got a great deal of athleticism. How do you approach the game when you have a good natural, God-given talent? What does that allow you to do that some other players sometimes don’t get a chance to because they have to work a little bit harder at it? When things come easy like that because you have that natural athleticism, how does that change your approach to the game?
Gilbert: Well, I think I’m a lot more comfortable and confident in trying new moves or trying to do things with my body in the trenches that other guys might be afraid to do. Like certain spin moves and just using my speed to beat guys with athleticism and just get around them.
Garda: Ok, I’m sure everybody has asked you this, but the YouTube video? How did that come about?
Gilbert: This is my 1,000th time answering the question, but I heard something our strength coaches said, that Adam Archuleta, the former safety, could jump out of a pool and he was kind of a freak athlete. And everybody was shocked and amazed by it. But I thought to myself it wasn’t a big deal so I went and tried it and brought a video camera out and went out there and did it. No failed attempts, no bloopers.
Garda: You were the 2008 WAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year. That speaks to a great deal of consistency as well as production. What goes into your day to day workout routine that allows you to reach such a high-level of play?
Gilbert: Well, during the season I watched a whole lot of film and studied my opponents to a tee. I knew everything about them going into the week, so that really helped me during the season. And I had a lot of free time during the semester, I only took one unit during the semester and that was archery. I had already graduated so it gave me a lot of time to really study my opponent and a lot of confidence going into the game. So, it helped me out there on the field.
Garda: So film study…A lot of guys–the gym, the field–that’s their biggest focus, but it sounds like film study to you is as important as anything else in the game.
Gilbert: Yeah, film study and staying strong during the week, staying healthy. Getting in the training room and getting in the weight room and getting my body back to its peak for Saturday. That was the biggest thing for me.
Garda: So coming away from the day, what do you feel was the best part of your workout, what do you think probably left people with the best impression of you?
Gilbert: My broad jump I think was probably the most impressive thing of the day. I jumped a 10’7” on broad. I jumped a 9’11” at the Combine, but I just couldn’t stick it for some reason at the Combine so I had to do it about nine or ten times. But I got out here today and I jumped a good number. I think it impressed a lot of people.
Garda: What do you feel was the biggest difference between the two things? What did you do differently between the Combine and now, either training or otherwise? That’s a pretty decent increase from what you jumped from one to the other.
Gilbert: Yeah well, at the Combine I was landing around 10’4” I think–10’4”/10’5”-ish but I couldn’t stick it, so by the time I stuck it on the eight or ninth try, it was a 9’11”. But I got out here and was able to stick it today.
Garda: It seems like that’s happening a lot, actually. Chris Wells did like, fifteen, as I remember watching. Last question, then I will let you go. You’re able to not only produce plays out in space, once a player has gotten past the line of scrimmage, you get in the backfield and you cause a ruckus back there as well. What do you do that gives you that edge so you can get into the backfield and disrupt a play before it even really takes off?
Gilbert: I’m just quick off the ball. Quick with a good first step, and I get strong at the point of attack which allows me to get a lot of penetration. I came into the season pretty much a three year starter at end and moved inside, so coming inside I felt more athletic and quicker dealing with the guards then they’re used to. So being able to get off with speed really helped me out.
Garda: Well, you definitely had a good day today. The experience you bring to the table starting as many games as you have is certainly something that’s valuable at the NFL level, so I wish you the best of luck and look forward to seeing you on draft day when they call out your name.
Gilbert: Thank you.
My thoughts: Gilbert is an intriguing prospect and one people have moved up on their boards significantly. He can either play tackle in a 4-3 or move to end as a five-technique in a 3-4. He would fit well with the Jets 3-4 scheme and it would be nice to finally see the Jets draft guys who can play the scheme they have, rather than try to jam a guy into a scheme they don’t fit. Guys like Vernon Gholston aren’t busts yet (it’s too soon, I don’t care what anyone says) but the Jets have drafted guys who didn’t fit their defense for years, ever since Mangini came into the picture in fact.
A guy like Gilbert is a tweener, not fitting into any one category easily. But that versatility can also be a strength for some teams.
He looked smooth and solid on his Pro Day, so that may allay some fears about his technique being a little sloppy. Follow up private workouts may get teams a better look at how he uses his hands and perhaps a closer look at effort and motor, something some scouts have been concerned with.
I like Gilbert a ton and think he’s worthy of a late second, early third round pick – and he may go earlier than that.