By Marc Mandell 3/10/17
OLB/DE Jimmie Gilbert Jr is a beast with a crazy work ethic and terrific talent. Standing next to him, I felt…..average. By that I mean, physically he is a giant. At 6’5 and currently at 234 lbs, he is a monster of a young man. He will be drafted next month, and he has real promise at least as a situational pass rusher.
Here are his Pro Day numbers, which put his stock on the rise after Wednesday’s activities concluded, followed by a brief scouting report.
Bench: 12 reps
Broad jump: 10′
40 Time: 4.57
Good: Incredible speed and hip movement. Able to use leverage to his advantage. He will grade better as a 3-4 OLB/DE. He does better running downfield at the passer, using very good closing speed, and lengthy arms to make contact, force fumbles and make tackles.
Growth: Literally growth. He is about 10-15lbs shy of where he should be in order to be an every down player. With gained weight he will be better at stopping the run, and getting around the big NFL tackles that he will face on Sundays.
Overall: A very high quality guy in a very high quality athletic body. Has the drive and gumption to over come adversity, and knows what it means to be on the field. He has tremendous speed and ability, that lacks only size. Intangibles are strong, tangibles can and will be improved. One of my favorites to watch. Whoever gets him, will get a steal in the Draft.
The first thing I noticed about Jimmie, other than his stature, is his high motor. He just doesn’t quit. From the time he tasted his first blood, which came in his freshman year against Central Arkansas, he has gotten better and better. Whether it’s because of competition, or his own high motor, Jimmie Gilbert worked himself to be one of the top three pass rushers in Pac-12. It’s the growth that’s been so impressive.
He has always been an impressive athlete. His reach and length have been key to his success, and his hips don’t lie either. He can move and bend to get around the tackles he is up against. It was these traits that got him to Boulder, though the rest was up to him. He has always been about competing to get and hold his spot on the starting line. He hardly saw the field when he was a true freshman, and even as a sophomore his play time was low, and his production wasn’t much higher. But he kept competing.
Jim Jeffcoat, who was the D-line coach for CU while Gilbert was playing, was always very complimentary of the young pass rusher. In the last two years of Jimmie’s college career, he was always working with his coach on angles, leverage, and how offensive players were going to attack him. His development in his junior, and especially his senior year were substantial. Those two years allowed him to become one of the premiere pass rushers in the Pac-12.
Enter his junior year, 2014 was a much more productive and exciting year for Gilbert. He played in all 12 games (3 starts) and was able to demonstrate that he could be an every-down, elite-level pass rusher. Six sacks and 8 tackles for a loss, coupled with 10 third down stops and 2 TD saves, made him turn the heads of both his teammates and his coaches. It also cemented his role as a full-time starter for his senior year.
Making 1st team All-Pac12 Defensive team, as voted on by the Head Coaches of the Conference, the only defensive player to do so from CU Boulder. He made this team by exploding in production for the Pac-12 leader CU Buffaloes. Of the 37 solo tackles, 10 1/2 of them were sacks, and had 6 forced fumbles. He was the first player in the Pac-12 since 2014 to have 6 FF as a trench player, and lead all NCAA trench players last year in that category. It was more than just the numbers, which were quite numerous. It was and still is about team with Gilbert. Whether you talked to him at the end of 2015, the middle of 2016 or at the CU Pro Day, he is always about the guys around him, as well as the players coming up behind him.
Gilbert has always known that in order to play, the time must be earned. The drive to compete, and do the extra without being asked. These are the traits of the successful player. How many times have we seen a player with incredible ability crash out in less than three years in the NFL? A lot. The ones that make it are the ones that know how to compete, how to overcome the tallest orders and remain humble. Sure most guys talk the talk, but Jimmie walks the walk. He has overcome the hurdles. He has earned his play time, and he has earned his Draft stock.