Is Justin Gilbert’s next move to offense?


Browns cornerback Justin Gilbert was the first draft pick of the Ray Farmer/Mike Pettine regime. That often gets lost as 14 picks later, the Browns selected a much higher-profile player, Johnny Manziel.

Gilbert has been lost in the shuffle since.

He’s been in Pettine’s doghouse both last season and this season, and even though he returned an interception of Andrew Luck for a touchdown last December, his on-field success has been limited. This season, he’s barely been on the field at all except to return kickoffs. Still, the Browns aren’t giving up on Gilbert because of their investment in him — and because he’s big and fast and has tools the team thought it could develop when it drafted him.

Gilbert seems to be a natural with the ball in his hands, and that prompted a reporter to ask Pettine Thursday if the team has considered moving Gilbert to the offensive side of the ball. Pettine said the Browns have used Gilbert as a receiver at times in practice because of a shortage of available players.

And he doesn’t look out of place,” Pettine said.

Pettine was just answering a question, so there may be nothing deeper here. Or, maybe it’s worth a shot because the Browns aren’t using him on defense and are still searching for answers at receiver with the Dwayne Bowe Experiment yielding nothing and the Terrelle Pryor Experiment having been ended last month.

Later Thursday, Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said moving Gilbert to receiver is something he and Pettine “have talked about and are going to explore.”

Gilbert suffered a hip pointer in August during a joint practice with the Bills that lingered into September. He debuted in Week 3 vs. the Raiders, playing two special teams snaps and none on defense, and with the Browns short on cornerbacks last week in San Diego the coaches chose Johnson Bademosi, generally a special teams player, to play in nickel and dime defenses over Gilbert. Pettine wasn’t happy with Gilbert following a road rage incident in September for which he was cited but not arrested.

Last February, Farmer said Gilbert was dealing with a “very personal” issue that compounded his struggles as a rookie. The Browns have time to still get return on their investment, and Gilbert has time to rebound, too. But the question of whether it’s worth trying a position change, even on a part-time basis, to jumpstart what’s been a disappointing career is a valid one.

19 responses to “Is Justin Gilbert’s next move to offense?

  1. Gilbert is yet another overhyped kid who believes his own press clippings.

    IMO, the Browns should unload Gilbert in the same way that they did with Richardson.

  2. Why not try him on offense? The Browns have to try to get some kind of production and value out of him. History says it probably won’t work, but what the hell.

  3. Do it. Do it now. The kid has amazing physical tools, but absolutely zero instincts as a DB.

  4. The ongoing Cleveland three-ring circus continues to provide more laughs than anything else you’ll see on television.

  5. So you toss Pryor, a guy you considered a project with at least significant experience playing on the offensive side of the ball, and now you want to take this chump Gilbert and make a project out of him on offense? Only in Cleveland could nonsense like this happen.

  6. We’re talking about a #8 pick overall not being able to even get on the field. How does this not cause the clueless owner to ask WHY? Someone should have to be responsible for this (one of many) terrible decision.
    I wish I didn’t care anymore and believe me, it’s getting close to the point that I don’t.
    What a mess.

  7. Well he’s not physical enough to make a decent tackle so making the move to WR makes sense. He’s got decent hands and speed.

  8. I just have this feeling that as soon as he goes to an actual team that he’ll suddenly start killing it.

  9. Moving him to WR a complete insult to injury. They could have simply just taken Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., Kelvin Benjamin, etc etc instead.

    How the hell does Ray Farmer have a job? I mean seriously. They can’t POSSIBLY be considering letting him run another draft, are they? They should have just told him don’t bother coming back from his suspension IMO.

  10. His next move should be to the employment office and he can take his worthless buddy Dwayne Bowe with him. Full time consideration of another endeavor might be in order for both these clowns.

  11. If any of the Browns coaches had any experience beyond the Pennsylvania high school level, this would’ve been worked out by now.

    How many more prospects will they ruin???

  12. Yep, he’s dealing with a very personal issue. He never should ‘ve been drafted in the first round. We traded out of position where Sammy Watkins was available to get Gilbert. So, now they are trying him at receiver. Isn’t that just great. Why didn’t they draft a receiver when they had the chance. No, lets take a worthless cornerback and try to turn him into a receiver to save face. Brilliant!

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