The Cleveland Browns drafted Justin Gilbert with the eighth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. So far, Gilbert has not impressed as a corner back, and going into his second year, not much has changed.
In Week 4 against the Chargers, Gilbert was used as a kick returner, and did well, averaging 36 yards per punt on three punt returns.
On Thursday, offensive coordinator John DeFilippo was asked about Gilbert possibly taking reps at the wide receiver position.
"I have gotten to know Justin in my time here, not great, but I know he is working really, really hard on the defensive side of the ball. To me, speed is not an issue with our receivers. That to me is not an issue. That is definitely something we have talked about and are going to explore," said DeFilippo.
Head coach Mike Pettine says Gilbert has shown it's a possible fit.
"He’s shown that certainly with the kickoff returns the other day. Yeah, sometimes with the numbers and injuries, we’ve had to throw him on offense at wide receiver and doesn’t look out of place. Just given the depth we have at that position now – you add (RB) Duke (Johnson), who has wide-out type ability, you have (TE Rob) Housler who has wide-out type ability in certain situations – it’s hard to justify it, but he’s certainly shown the ability, as you say. When he’s got the ball in his hands, he can do something with it," said Pettine.
Gilbert certainly has the speed (4.37 40-yard dash time) and the skills to make something happen when the ball is in his hands.
Time will tell if we will see Gilbert at wide receiver. The first opportunity is Sunday when the Browns take on the Ravens in Baltimore for their Week 5 matchup. HERE is a Game Preview.
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