In the modern NFL passing is king. That’s why average quarterbacks make $20 million or more and teams have little problem paying it. Successfully moving the ball through the way is the surefire way to a winning season.
On that same note, stopping the pass is the key to fielding a competent defense. Vic Fangio knows this. At the Combine he spoke about the desire to add cornerbacks in any way he could and how important it was with the way offenses have moved to featuring three receivers as their base offense. For this very reason, the addition of A.J. Bouye should not be the only move Elway makes for the Broncos secondary. Even with Bouye in the fold there are questions down the depth chart.
A certain Horned Frog could help address them.
- Very good athleticism, has hip fluidity, lateral mobility, long speed and explosiveness.
- Very good mental processing, instinctive corner who anticipates routes.
- Short memory, he’s not afraid to lose and will work to make plays.
- Very good at mirroring his opponent, which bodes well for coverage at next level.
- Versatile skillset with the ability to play in trail or off, inside and outside.
- Good ball skills and will contest the catch point.
- Willing run defender who displays the closing speed and physicality to make stops.
- Solid tackler who punches above his weight.
- Speed is evident in his range, holds up in the deep.
- Adequate play strength, will need to get stronger to adjust to the big NFL receivers.
- Adequate at the line of scrimmage due to length and strength. Don’t want him trying to pressing Mike Evans or the like.
- Could face an adjustment as he learns to get less grabby in the pros.
- Played entirety of 2019 with meniscus injury.
What I’ve heard/read:
Jeff Gladney projects as a starting cornerback at the NFL level. His versatility in man and zone coverage alike will serve him well and will allow him to be a fairly universal prospect. Gladney’s foot quickness and ball skills would be best served in defenses featuring a high implementation of man coverage. Playing him in a primary Cover 3 is probably the only role where his best qualities would be consistently mitigated. Gladney’s football IQ should yield early dividends to his NFL team.
Starting since he stepped foot on campus, Gladney is one of the most competitive cornerback prospects that you will see in this class. Not just in coverage, but also as a run defender. He’s scrappy, tough, and physical. Projecting best in a press man scheme, Gladney has the physical attributes and vertical speed necessary to quickly become a starter. Possessing high-end athleticism and recovery skills, Gladney could prove to be one of the better defensive backs of this entire crop. There’s not much to dislike about his game overall and he has the talent to become a top-40 pick.
Press cover irritant who plays an extremely competitive brand of football from snap to whistle. He has the twitch and route anticipation to stay close. Possesses ball skills to contest a good percentage of throws. His coverage traits should allow him to thrive in man or zone, but his desire to make every play on the ball could lead him into occasional bait-and-switch traps by smart quarterbacks. He’s slender so teams will need to decide whether to play him outside or in sub-packages, but no matter where he plays, this ball-hawking alpha has the talent to help his team on all three downs if needed.
The injury likely contributed to Gladney’s times being a bit slower than expected at the NFL Scouting Combine, but this should keep his stock from being impacted.
You won’t find a cornerback in the draft class more battle tested down the football field than Gladney. We just worry about how he’ll pass those tests with more physical receivers in the NFL.
Jeff Gladney has more career forced incompletions on third down than any other CB in the Draft. pic.twitter.com/x2VV9u0n62— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 5, 2020
Why he fits
Vic Fangio mentioned after the season that his system does have certain requirements that makes fit a consideration for defensive linemen. He went on to add that corners it’s less of a concern because a guy can either cover, or he can’t. Well Jeff Gladney can definitely cover.
He would fit into the Broncos defense as a Kyle Fuller type. A corner who thrives in space and has the click and close, instincts, and athleticism to bait corners to throw in his direction in order to make pass breakups and interceptions.
What makes him really stand out among the corners in this class, however, is that he’s also a very willing tackler and run defender. Perhaps a little undersized and not an ideal fit for teams like the Seattle Seahawks, he’d be a hand in glove fit for the Broncos’ defense.
I hope the Broncos draft Jeff Gladney. He’s my CB2 in this class and I love his game.