Minnesota Vikings rookie Jeff Gladney isn’t the quickest or strongest cornerback drafted in 2020. However he may very well be the hardest.
The 23-year-old is without doubt one of the most skilled cornerbacks in his draft class and was named the highest darkish horse candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Yr by NFL.com.
Right here’s what Lance Zierlein needed to say in regards to the TCU product:
He’s not the most important or quickest rookie cornerback, however he is perhaps essentially the most persistently aggressive on-the-ball defender on this draft. Gladney is twitchy and instinctive. He ought to get on the sphere straight away for the cornerback-needy Vikings. He’ll take his lumps, to make certain, however search for Gladney to make extra performs on the soccer than most rookie starters.
Washington Redskins defensive finish Chase Younger leads the chase of 9 gamers Zierlein listed as candidates for the rookie of the 12 months honor. He’s adopted by three linebackers on the listing.
Cornerbacks Jeff Okudah of the Detroit Lions and the Jacksonville Jaguars‘ C.J. Henderson have been named forward of Gladney.
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Jeff Gladney Performs Larger Than He Seems
Gladney, who stands 5-foot-10, is taken into account to be the edge of how brief an NFL cornerback could be. He’s a bodily press protection cornerback who lives to jam receivers on the line of scrimmage. His 32-inch wingspan is similar to security Harrison Smith, who’s 4 inches taller than the rookie cornerback.
“Gladney jogged my memory of a whole lot of guys that performed equally for me up to now,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer mentioned. “Superb acceleration. Robust, aggressive child. Desires to problem receivers. Good out and in of the breaks. Lengthy arms. So you understand, I do know he’s a shorter man, however I feel he makes up for it together with his toughness and his size.”
Gladney has proven his acceleration and energy are a deadly combo on the school degree, particularly on this hit he had towards Texas Tech final fall.
Jeff Gladney hit energy for a cornerback is 😳 pic.twitter.com/jDBuAjBbCKAdvertisement
— 𝐂𝐅𝐁𝐋𝐢𝐯𝐞𝟐𝟒𝟕TM (@CFBLive247) April 19, 2020
Right here’s a better look.
Jeff Gladney exhibiting off the hit stick 💪🏼 pic.twitter.com/k2qm4A36rd
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) February 17, 2020
Gladney, chosen No. 31 total, is the primary cornerback the Vikings have taken within the first spherical since Mike Hughes in 2018. The franchise parted methods with first-rounders Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes this offseason, signaling a brand new begin for Zimmer’s cornerback room that may very well be centered round Gladney.
The place Will Gladney Play?
Past Hughes, there are not any clearcut starters at cornerback for the Vikings. Gladney is taken into account a favourite to contribute early as extra debate has centered round whether or not Gladney will line up exterior or be the Vikings nickel cornerback who patrols the center of the sphere.
He may excel in both function, however given his peak and changes he’ll must make to stand up to NFL velocity, nickel nook would assist ease Gladney’s development in 2020.
Zimmer has a status for not beginning rookie cornerbacks, however Gladney may very well be a participant that bucks that pattern.
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Observe Trevor Squire on Twitter: @trevordsquire