Pro Day buzz: Top DE prospect making a splash

The Packers were in attendance on Friday to watch a player capable of lining up as a starting end opposite Cullen Jenkins from Day 1. We introduce him in this Packer Report exclusive.

For most high-profile NFL draft prospects, if you type in their name in Google, their college biography or the latest draft buzz will show up at the top of the listing.

Type in San Jose State's Jarron Gilbert, and the No. 1 choice is a YouTube video of him jumping out of a swimming pool. Yes, you read that correctly. Not jumping into a pool, but jumping out of 3 feet of water and landing on the pool deck.

"I've become a YouTube sensation," Gilbert said with a laugh at the NFL Scouting Combine last month in Indianapolis. "How it came about was, one day our strength coach said (former Rams safety) Adam Archuleta could jump out of a pool, and everybody was super-amazed. I went out there one day — it wasn't that big a deal to me — and I just went and jumped out of the pool. I found out that I could do it, so I put it on film to make everybody else believe me."

In a draft that some NFL personnel insiders call one of the worst for 3-4 defensive linemen in years, Gilbert stands tall. The 6-foot-5, 288-pound Gilbert has a body perfectly suited for being an end in new defensive coordinator Dom Capers' scheme, and likely would be an immediate starter opposite Cullen Jenkins. Plus, as his pool exploits would suggest, he's a terrific athlete, as would his 4.87-seconds 40-yard dash at the Combine and his 4.79 during Friday's pro day, which Packers scout Sam Seale watched.

Oh, and there are the genes and production. His dad, Daren Gilbert, was a second-round pick by the Saints in 1984 who started 41 games at guard over four seasons. Last season, Jarron Gilbert played defensive tackle in San Jose State's 4-3 scheme and tallied 9.5 sacks and 22 tackles for loss. Just to show his production wasn't the byproduct of playing in a non-BCS conference, Gilbert was a dominant force in the East-West all-star game.

"Having a dad that played in the NFL is really helpful, especially when he's around your life," said Gilbert, who's likely to equal his dad's second-round draft status, though he could sneak into the first round. "He gave me a lot of guidance and has kept me level headed through this whole process."

To be effective in a 3-4, Gilbert would have to tack on about 10 pounds. That shouldn't be a problem for a player who settled on San Jose State because he was too small to impress high-profile schools.

"In high school, I was an offensive tackle and I weighed about 230 pounds, 235, so nobody wanted me to play offensive tackle," Gilbert said. "San Jose State was the only team that recruited me. They took me as a tight end. They saw me play and they moved me to defensive line. And everything else is history."

One person who is a little wary of the hype is Scout.com draft analyst Chris Steuber. He likes Gilbert's ability, but says his draft stock is rising because LSU's Tyson Jackson and Gilbert are "the only legitimate 3-4 DEs in the draft."

"Gilbert is a versatile lineman who has outstanding athleticism," Steuber said in giving a scouting report. "He has a great frame and could add more mass. He can play inside or outside and flashes the ability to be a tremendous threat behind the line of scrimmage. He has long arms and delivers a quick punch to gain an advantage. He holds up well against double teams and disengages quick enough to track down a ball carrier."

Said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock at the Combine: "This guy is a beast. He's a freak. But he's not a consistent football player."

As for the YouTube video — which is up to almost 600,000 views — Gilbert said it's a frequent topic of conversation with scouts. Being a YouTube sensation is one thing, but will he be an NFL sensation?

"Definitely," he said with a laugh. "Jumping out of the pool is cool and everything, but being a good player is a little more important than that."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Lambeau Level forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport


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