A few rookies in the 2014 NFL Draft class have taken some time to officially sign their standard four-year rookie deal with their respective teams, but now there’s just one remaining rookie who has to sign their deal. Per sources close to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, first-round pick Justin Gilbert has signed his rookie contract with the Cleveland Browns, making Tennessee Titans first-round offensive tackle Taylor Lewan the last man standing.
Gilbert and the Browns were, of course, disputing the offset language in the deal, and he wasn’t even sure he would sign a contract before the start of training camp. The Browns moved up one spot from No. 9 to No. 8 (with the Minnesota Vikings) to take Gilbert, as he filled in the team’s need for a strong No. 2 corner across from All-Pro-caliber CB Joe Haden. With better technique and more development, Gilbert could become an All-Pro corner in his own right and help form an elite secondary with the talented safety duo of Donte Whitner and Tashaun Gipson also in place.
Gilbert comes into the league as a raw prospect with massive upside, as the Oklahoma State product has elite physical tools, ball skills, speed, and explosiveness. He’s a threat to score with the ball in his hands on returns or on interceptions, but he will have to improve his run defense and refine his coverage skills. It’s great to hear that both sides have finally agreed to a deal, and hopefully Lewan and the Titans will follow suit.