Cleveland Browns’ Justin Gilbert Will Compete For Playing Time

Dec 7, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns cornerback Justin Gilbert (21) returns an interception for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Colts beat the Browns 25-24. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns second-year corner Justin Gilbert will be expected to compete for playing time this season. Nothing will be given to the former-first rounder, especially after a disastrous rookie campaign. Reports indicate that Gilbert is more focused heading into year two, but the fact that he still has to prove himself is incredibly disappointing for a talent who had such high expectations.

Gilbert’s struggles through his rookie campaign were well documented. He seemed to march to the beat of his own drummer. That led Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto to write the Browns want Gilbert to compete because the secondary actually possesses a lot of depth.

The Browns invested a three-year, $21 million deal in Tramon Williams, and also have K’Waun Williams ready to build off a strong rookie season after being picked up by the Browns as an undrafted free agent.

Of course, Joe Haden will lock down one of the conerback spots, while Pierre Desir, who was taken as a project in the 2014 NFL Draft, should see the field more in 2015.

All the news from OTAs regarding Gilbert have been positive, and that leads Pluto to believe the Oklahoma State product can still live up to his first-round selection.

Pluto writes:

“Gilbert has the physical tools to be a very good cornerback. He has a chance to learn from some of the best in Haden and Tramon Williams. Let’s see what he does with the opportunity.”

With the Browns expected to run the ball on the offense, while keeping opponent scores low, coach Mike Pettine needs his defense to play an elite level this season. Having two lockdown corners would go along way to helping the coach cross that problem off his list.

Are you regaining confidence in Justin Gilbert going into the 2015 season?