Browns not giving up on Justin Gilbert

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For two seasons, Browns cornerback Justin Gilbert has been a first-round bust overshadowed by a flashier, better-known first-round bust in his own locker room.

Now, Johnny Manziel and everyone who drafted and coached Manziel and Gilbert in their first two seasons are gone. And Gilbert still has a chance to become a contributor.

The Browns are thin at cornerback, and top cornerback Joe Haden is sitting out this spring while rehabbing an ankle injury. That means Gilbert is getting plenty of snaps as he tries to prove he belongs in the NFL.

“We weren’t here and we don’t know what went on the last two years,” Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton told reporters Wednesday, per the team’s official transcript. “All we know is what went on film and tape from today. Everybody has a clean slate, and you go out and work hard. Is [Gilbert] a work in progress? Yes. Is he carrying anything from four months ago? Not in my book he’s not. He’s just one of the players that we want to help us win a championship here.”

The Browns drafted Gilbert with the No. 8 overall pick in 2014, 14 spots ahead of where they picked Manziel. And Gilbert’s struggles on and off the field the last two seasons were overshadowed by Manziel’s more public exploits.

Horton said the new Browns staff is treating Gilbert “fairly” but not differently and wants Gilbert to know he has a chance to turn his career around.

“He has a lot of God-given ability that was, as coaches, have to get out,” Horton said.

Gilbert faced team discipline multiple times over his first two seasons, had multiple injury issues last season and was involved in a road rage incident last fall. Though he had an interception for a touchdown against Andrew Luck as a rookie, he never earned much significant playing time. Gilbert has played in 23 games over two seasons. He played in nine, starting one, last season.

On the field, Horton said the Browns have tinkered with Gilbert’s “elongated” stance, and that Gilbert offered no resistance. Gilbert said the right things last offseason about growing up and learning from his mistakes, and maybe this year the fresh start inside the Browns’ building will help him get his career on track.

29 responses to “Browns not giving up on Justin Gilbert

  1. When you have a team that goes thru coaching staff like I change my gutchies it’s hard for anyone to adjust. Not making accuses for him, just saying.

    Next man to go bust is Mingo. Barkevious Mingo shows his speed and ……

    I for one cannot wait to see what the rookies do. I think the harvard nerds had a great draft. Time will tell.

    Go Browns!!! 👍👌

  2. I thought Gilbert might be the best CB out of the draft that year, but it looks as though that goes to Jason Everett or Bradley Roby currently.

    Gilbert has the prototypical body and athleticism for the spot, just not sure he’s up to the task mentally/cognitively

  3. No mention of the fact that the Browns traded UP for Gilbert, one spot, where my Vikings took All-Pro Anthony Barr.

    Than later in that same round, the Browns traded UP for Manziel. Meanwhile, the Vikings took Bridgewater.


  4. suhmonster90 says:
    May 25, 2016 6:57 PM
    Wayyy too much Johnny for a Gilbert article. Hint: Talk about the player still playing in the league.

    It was two sentences. Comparing one first round bust to another first round bust. That were drafted in the same year. By the same team. Both with on and off field issues.

  5. The Browns aren’t giving up on Justin Gilbert? Are you kidding? Even Justin Gilbert has given up on Justin Gilbert.

  6. Note to any top college player waiting to be drafted … pray your not picked by the Browns …

  7. The Browns take Manzeil and pass on a franchise type of QB Carson Wentz failing to understand they will never win without having a good one. Fourteen picks and all they got was some depth. Justin Gilbert is toast.

  8. O ok so u keep a guy that oversleeps and can never make it to practice, because you werent there staff, but u released your best QB because you were all there? Hmmmm something sounds fishy and o yeah you gave Johnny a fair shot right?

    Just the Clowns being the Clowns. 0-16 in 2016

  9. Thats nice and all but with this staff not being related at all to his draft he will be cut that much easier.

    He better bring it in camp and preseason or he’s out.

    Amazing how that 2014 draft turned out. The hype guys Manziel and Clowney, Robinson so far crashed and you have less exciting guys at the time like Teddy, Carr and OBJ who are becoming stars.

  10. It’ll be quite some time before I guve the Browns the benefit of the doubt for ANY player not living up to billing. Except Johnny Manziel. That rich brat would’ve failed anywhere.

  11. In college, he had the size and speed to not need much technique. Then we hear that he was just uncoachable in the NFL, where the difference in speed is measured by .001 seconds. If this coaching staff can’t get production out of him, nobody can. Still, it never hurts to take another look before you cut a guy that physically talented. It does sound like the old staff couldn’t get out of their own way, and if he’s is just a bust, so what? It’s not like the new coaches and front office didn’t know they inherited a 3-13 team.

  12. Former Browns coach Mike Pettine said that he was wary of drafting Gilbert b/c during the pre-draft process, according to Pettine, Gilbert didn’t show that he loved the game. Pettine said that he got the distinct feeling that Gilbert could take football or leave it.
    Big red flag apparently disregarded.

  13. Former Browns coach Mike Pettine said that he got the distinct feeling from Gilbert that he didn’t love football, that he could take the game or leave it.
    Big red flag apparently ignored.

  14. Modern Day Einstein says:

    No mention of the fact that the Browns traded UP for Gilbert, one spot, where my Vikings took All-Pro Anthony Barr.

    Than later in that same round, the Browns traded UP for Manziel. Meanwhile, the Vikings took Bridgewater.



    I wouldn’t be crowing about those picks just yet. Barr has spent more time rehabbing injuries than actually playing, and he hasn’t been All-Pro. Made the Pro Bowl, maybe, but not All-Pro. There’s a difference.
    And there is nothing special about Bridgewater. Ok, he’s not the train wreck that Johnny Manziel has been, so if you want to hang your hat on that……….

  15. Bridgewater isn’t that good a QB and has accomplished nothing. Gotta love Viqueen fans who have had the best RB in football when he isn’t being a child abuser and haven’t won anymore than Cleveland

  16. Gilbert has been OK on the field. I would definitely say not bad enough to be considered a draft bust as much like Buster Skrine was he’d be an upgrade to a lot of teams whose entire secondaries didn’t make the pro bowl like the Browns secondary did his rookie season. Last season the entire defense gets a pass as Jim O’neil’s play calling was just awful.

    His off the field issues are the bigger problem than on and even that can almost be contributed to the Manziel effect. Much like Josh Gordon if you saw Gilbert outside of football it was normally with Manziel. Bad influences go a long way.

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