We can all breathe a sigh of relief: the NFL Draft is upon us this week. For the Vikings and 31 other teams, in addition to filling fans with hope, it’s a time to fill their remaining team needs. It’s no secret coming in to this week’s draft that cornerback is a top need for the Minnesota Vikings. They saw long time veterans Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes leave, as well as the up and coming cornerback, Mackensie Alexander depart for a new team. Which leaves Mike Hughes, Holton Hill, and Kris Boyd as the only cornerback depth, which is now a major concern heading into the 2020 Season. Luckily for them, this is a draft class full of promising young corners, some of whom can make significant contributions right away. Enter Jeff Gladney, a four year starter from TCU who possesses all the intangibles that could make him a surefire contributor. In this article, we will go through some of the Pro’s and Con’s of prospect Jeff Gladney and why he’d be a good fit for the Vikings.
Pro’s to Gladney’s Game
When watching Jeff Gladney, a number of positive traits jump out. One of Gladney’s first noticeable attributes is his athleticism, and just the overall physicality that he brings to the table. He plays with a ferocious mentality and when he steps onto the field he gives off a vibe that he thinks he can matchup with the best, and wants to compete against some of the best WR that are out there.
TCU Jeff Gladney is a feisty CB. He didn’t back down from Denzel Mims at all. pic.twitter.com/sBV4zk7DtJ
— Cover 1 (@Cover_1_) January 14, 2020
In addition to Gladney’s athleticism and physicality, he displays very smooth and fluid hips while showcasing his speed and ability to so close in on wide receivers to make a play on the ball.
Jeff Gladney thread
I'm this clip Gladney just rips the ball out of the wide receiver hands..Gladney also shows off his elite speed while cruising to the endzone for six… pic.twitter.com/PcqA9Iu55d
— 𝐂𝐅𝐁𝐋𝐢𝐯𝐞𝟐𝟒𝟕TM (@CFBLive247) February 25, 2020
Some people describe him as a sticky type of corner, due largely to the fact that he is constantly in the WR’s pockets. He consistently makes plays on the ball, making sure that each WR he goes up against knows that it’s going to be a battle for each and every catch.
TCU's Jeff Gladney balled out against WVU, allowed zero receptions from five targets and picked up two impressive PBUs. pic.twitter.com/9Uq0tLSDnP
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) November 30, 2019
Lastly, an underrated part of Gladney’s game is his overall awareness and ball hawking ability. When the ball is in the air, he has an innate ability to react and make a play on the ball. He also does a great job when he’s playing outside corner, of understanding where he’s at on the field and does a good job at forcing WR’s to the outside boundary.
Jeff Gladney, CB, #TCU:
• Pitbull mentality 100% of the time
• Effective press-man CB (+)
• LB-type of enthusiasm as a tackler
• A+ zone/route concept awareness
• Ball skills (++)
• Highest point ball attacker (+)
• Patient pedal/balance pic.twitter.com/1ThCfW8bhx
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) March 28, 2020
Con’s to Gladney’s Game
As with any player, there are some negatives when looking into Jeff Gladney, the most obvious being his size. His official combine size was 5 foot 10 and 191 lbs which depending on who you talk to, could be undesirable. While many people aren’t concerned about the size of a DB as long as they “play big”, there are others who believe that being undersized allows them to be bodied against some bigger WR. While there have been some examples of both in Gladney’s college career, for the most part he’s able to “play big”
Mims doesn’t outrun Gladney.. so what’s coming? Y’all know it’s that back shoulder. How do we play back shoulders? We’ve gone over this. LOOK THROUGH the receiver. Play through the hands. Great job by Gladney vs a receiver with 5 inches on him. Play big 🦍 pic.twitter.com/8qh6Y93s8Y
— CrockTIME (@eric_crocker) March 5, 2020
A more subtle critique of Gladney’s game is his tendency for playing “handsy.”. Gladney is a physical corner, and physical corners are more susceptible to being grabby. Plays like the one below, may be prone to penalties like pass interference.
TCU's Jeff Gladney is a tough, physical cornerback prospect with legit speed and can recover when overly aggressive really well. pic.twitter.com/o6LkzquH2r
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) February 19, 2020
Why Gladney is a Fit?
There are many obvious reasons why Gladney is a great fit for the Vikings moving forward. First and foremost, we desperately need cornerbacks. But if that isn’t a sufficient reason for you; which it shouldn’t be, Gladney is exact type of corner that Zimmer looks for. He’s a tough, physical corner who is versatile enough to play both in the slot and outside. In addition to his versatility, Gladney’s footwork and speed is unmatched in this class. Combined with his ball hawking mentality, it makes him a prospect that would have Zimmer drooling to get his hands on. If Jeff Gladney is there at pick 22 for the Vikings, it would be a perfect pick, and a perfect fit for the Minnesota Vikings.