The Cleveland Browns selected cornerback Justin Gilbert with the No. 8 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns have selected cornerback Justin Gilbert with the No. 8 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
In 51 career games at Oklahoma State University, Gilbert, who led all defensive backs with a 4.37-second 40-yard dash time at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, registered 182 total tackles, 157 of which were solo stops, broke up 27 passes and intercepted 12 others.
"Justin Gilbert the player, he's long; he's fast," Browns general manager Ray Farmer said in a release from the team. "He's explosive. He's a playmaker. He plays like a Brown. (The) number one thing we talk about when we talk about corners is they've got to cover like Browns. He's got great arm length. He's got the speed. He's got the ball skills.
"I know some people have questioned his tackling. We cover like Browns, tackling was good, but it doesn't necessarily need to be great. We understand exactly who he is, what he is. We think he can make plays for us. He's going to play relentless. He's going to play at the line of scrimmage and press people. He's able to do things we need him to do."
Gilbert comes into the NFL after a career year with seven interceptions in 2013. He also returned 18 kickoffs for 453 yards, earned first-team All-American honors from The NFL Draft Report, Football Writers Association, and Walter Camp, and was also a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is given annually to the best cornerback in college.
He will line up opposite of Browns Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden, and is the latest addition to a secondary that has been revamped with the signings of safety Donte Whitner and cornerback Isaiah Trufant in free agency.
"Joe Haden, Justin Gilbert, Donte Whitner, I'm getting excited," Farmer said. "I probably shouldn't go there. We're excited about having corners that we think can go out, play press, get after people and give us a chance to turn the ball over.
"We've improved our defense. We're going to do some other things to make our overall team better, but we definitely like the corner combination that we're going to have. Hopefully, we keep those guys together for a long time."
Originally, the Browns held the No. 4 pick in the first round, and traded back with the Buffalo Bills to No. 9. By moving back five spots, the Browns received Buffalo's first and fourth-round picks in 2015.
Then, the Browns traded up one spot with the Minnesota Vikings to No. 8 in exchange for the Nos. 9 and 145 picks this year.
"The thought process was simple," Farmer said of the trades. "We had an opportunity to move back, pick up some future considerations. We knew where we were in the draft and we felt like it was a good opportunity to continue to improve our team with the number of picks we could get, so we made a deal to move back to Buffalo.
"(The) second trade was another opportunity to get the player we thought we wanted. It didn't cost us much to move back into position when he was on the board. We took that opportunity, and we took the pick with Justin Gilbert."