Cleveland Browns rookie cornerback Justin Gilbert was the first player at the position selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, and that wasn’t surprising considering that he was widely regarded as the best draft prospect at the position. Gilbert has dynamic playmaking ability on defense and on returns, which has led him to receive some lofty “potential” comparisons to Arizona Cardinals star corner Patrick Peterson. The Browns only need on defense coming into the offseason was at corner, and they clearly filled it by drafting Gilbert with a top ten pick, stealing away a big CB in Pierre Desir in the fourth round, and they also extended star Joe Haden to a long deal; Haden and Gilbert are locked in as the starting duo right now in front of a safety tandem of Tashaun Gipson and Donte Whitner.
Most of the attention has obviously been centered on Johnny Manziel thus far, but a bit of news regarding the Browns first first-round pick has made the rounds today. Sadly, it isn’t good news, but it probably isn’t major news either (that’s the good part). Per ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi, Gilbert limped off the field at OTAs today with an apparent right ankle injury, though not much else is known about his status at this point in time.
Hopefully it’s a non-issue, as an injury of some significance could severely cut into Gilbert’s offseason work and put him behind the curve heading into the regular season. Corner is one of the most difficult positions to succeed at as a rookie, and Gilbert is seen by most as a raw corner. These injuries usually just end up being minor nicks, but this is still something worth monitoring, especially since Gilbert figures to be a big part of the Browns defense next year as the CB2.
Update: Per multiple reports, Gilbert actually has a knee injury, as he was spotted on the sidelines with ice wrapped around his right knee.
Update #2: As expected, the injury is a non-issue, and Mike Pettine made that pretty clear.