San Jose State's Jarron Gilbert has been shooting up the draft boards.
San Jose State's Jarron Gilbert has been shooting up draft boards after a strong senior season, his performance at the Eat-West Game and recent workouts which have been outstanding. Gilbert is now being mentioned as a potential first-round pick. He took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with Chris Tripodi of TFYDraft.com about the upcoming draft, his workout with New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, his combine experience and being interviewed by Mean Joe Greene!
Q: Coming into the season you were not highly graded by NFL scouts - did this bother you or did you think about it at all?
Jarron Gilbert: It didnít bother me that much. I did actually have a little chip on my shoulder, I was wondering why I wasnít getting noticed but it wasnít that big of a deal. I just knew I had to play my game and perform on the field and it wouldnít be a problem.
Q: Do you feel like that may have been a product of playing in the WAC rather than at a big power conference school?
Jarron Gilbert: Maybe, but Iím not sure. Weíve had some guys in the past couple of years come out, Dwight Lowery and James Jones, so you never know. I was just low on the radar, but Iím rising now so everythingís good.
Q: Do you want to follow in the footsteps of guys like Dwight and James and really make a name for yourself in the NFL?
Jarron Gilbert: I definitely want to do what those guys have done; I have high expectations for myself. Whatever I do Iím going to be good at it, and Iím going to be a real good player in the NFL.
Q: You more than doubled your sack total from your junior to senior year. Why was there such a big difference between your play as a junior and senior, and to what do you credit this improvement?
Jarron Gilbert: A lot of it had to do with the workout program in the offseason, but I think it had to do more with the guys on the defensive line this year. We brought a lot of pressure from each position, so the quarterback had no escape. I provided pressure up the middle and the ends provided pressure from the outside and we all had better numbers this year.
Q: If you had a preference, would you be an end or a tackle in a 4-3 or a 3-4 defensive end?
Jarron Gilbert: I really donít have much of a preference. Iíd be able to play 3-4 end or 4-3 end or even 4-3 defensive tackle, preferably in pass rush situations. Any one of them would be great.
Q: You participated in the Shrine Game - what was your experience like?
Jarron Gilbert: I had a good time out there. During the game, I had a sprained ankle so I didnít really get to showcase anything, but during the week I had some good practices and met a lot of people, so it was a good experience.
Q: During Shrine week you dominated the competition - what were scouts telling you throughout the week?
Jarron Gilbert: They seemed to be impressed with the way I was playing, especially during all the one-on-one drills. I think they like the way I move and my size. They were just telling me I was looking good out there and throughout the week I started to get more interviews with scouts that wanted to talk to me, so that was a good sign.
Q: You have a unique combination of strength and speed and can play multiple positions. How do you feel that versatility will help you at the next level?
Jarron Gilbert: My versatility is one of my best assets. In college, Iíve played every position on the line, from zero technique out to nine technique at defensive end, so if I were to be a starting end and a tackle were to go down, I could move down to the inside if needed to. I can play a lot of positions on the line and I think that could really help a team out.
Q: What was your combine experience like?
Jarron Gilbert: It was work. I had a whole bunch of interviews and physicals and they kept us pretty busy the whole 3-4 days. I performed pretty well, not as well as I wanted to because my ankle was still bothering me from the East-West game, so I came out on Pro Day and performed better on Pro Day. But it was a great experience at the combine.
Q: Which ankle did you hurt in the Shrine game, and what did you do to it?
Jarron Gilbert: It was my right ankle, somebody fell on it. It was sprained.
Q: What was the strangest question asked on the wunderlick?
Jarron Gilbert: It wasnít really strange questions, it was just like an IQ test; nothing real strenuous. On the psychological test there were some weird questions, like Ďif you could be an animal what would you be, a cat or a dog?
Q: What was your answer to the animal question?
Jarron Gilbert: Iíd prefer to be a dog. I think there was one where it asked any animal, and I said eagle.
Q: Which teams did you spend the most time interviewing with during the combine?
Jarron Gilbert: During the combine, there wasnít one team in particular. They kept us on a schedule, so each team interviewed us for 15 minutes. I interviewed with about 25 clubs. Then they had another room where they had position coaches, so I met with some of them out there too.
Q: What was your best combine memory?
Jarron Gilbert: I think when I went into the Steelers meeting and Mean Joe Greene was in there; meeting him was great. Iíll remember that for a while.
Q: You are coming off a great pro-day workout - what was it like having so much attention paid to you by NFL decision makers?
Jarron Gilbert: I was surprised to see some of the faces there. Iíve never seen a turnout like that at San Jose St. It gave me a little more energy seeing them and made me want to perform even better. Having Rex Ryan work me out was pretty interesting, I wasnít expecting that. But overall I just went out there and performed. I wasnít thinking about it too much.
Q: New York Jets Rex Ryan ran your pro-day workout; it is unusual for a head coach to run a workout, did he do anything special during the pro-day?
Jarron Gilbert: It was a basic defensive lineman workout to see how I move. We did some bag drills and that was pretty much it, it wasnít anything out of the ordinary.
Q: The word is the New York Jets like you a lot - have you gotten this feeling over the past three months?
Jarron Gilbert: Not too much. I met with them at the combine and up until recently there have been a bunch of other teams. A lot of 3-4 teams seem interested, so Iíve gotten equal interest from most 3-4 teams. But to see [coach Ryan] out there showed that they were a little more interested.
Q: Have you spent a lot of time talking with coach Ryan?
Jarron Gilbert: No, not at all, just out on the field and at the combine.
Q: The other rumor is the Carolina Panthers also like you - what have your experiences with coach Fox been like?
Jarron Gilbert: I met coach Fox and he seemed like a really good guy. He was out there at the Pro Day, and I met him at the East-West game and the combine.
Q: Are there any other teams that seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time with you?
Jarron Gilbert: Not so much, a lot of 3-4 teams seem to be interested. I canít really see one team that really wants me more than the next. They say the team that shows the least interest is the team that usually drafts you, so Iím really not looking too much into it.
Q: Which teams do you have planned workouts with?
Jarron Gilbert: I have a workout coming up with the Patriots and the Chiefs and Iím definitely going to have some trips Iím going to be taking, but thatís it.
Q: What teams will you be visiting with over the next few weeks?
Jarron Gilbert: Iím looking at taking about eight or nine trips over the next month or so, maybe more, including Detroit, San Diego, Dallas, New Orleans, and maybe the Jets. Iíd have to look at my schedule.
Q: What kind of impression have these teams made on you, and is there any one team you would be particularly excited to play for?
Jarron Gilbert: I just want to play for whoever picks me the highest. Iím not too concerned about where I go. Iím going to go in there with something to prove and try to get a spot wherever I end up. The actual team right now doesnít matter.
Q: If you had a preference, would you want to go to a team where you could start right away or a team where you could learn under a veteran at the position?
Jarron Gilbert: I definitely want to get out there and play, but Iíd also like to learn some more, especially from a veteran thatís been in the game for a while and could really teach me some stuff. But I definitely want to get out and play.
Q: Where will you be on draft day?
Jarron Gilbert: Iíll be at home with my family.
Q: You entered the season graded as a free agent - you are now entering the draft as a potential first-round pick - has it been a strange trip?
Jarron Gilbert: Itís all gone by pretty fast, but Iím just taking it one day at a time. Iím really not concerned too much with projections, I just want to get to Draft Day and see what happens.
Q: If you had to compare yourself to a current NFL player, who would it be and why?
Jarron Gilbert: I think some of my qualities are pretty unique, as far as my height and arm length. I remember people comparing me to Darnell Dockett of the Cardinals and a lot of people say I look a lot like Trevor Pryce as far as my size goes, but Iím really not sure who to compare to.
Q: Pryce has played both defensive end and defensive tackle in the NFL and been successful at both, do you see this as a potential career path for you as well?
Jarron Gilbert: Possibly. Iím going to do what the coaches feel like would help the team the most. I know I can play either one, and gaining or losing weight has never been a problem for me either, so weíll just see where I end up.
Q: Do you have the frame to put on more weight if a team wanted to use you at tackle and wanted you to get up around 300 pounds?
Jarron Gilbert: That wouldnít be a problem at all. I came into college around 230 and now Iím near 290 and I still feel great with the way I move. Gaining weight has never been a problem for me at all.
Q: You got a lot of attention for the YouTube video where youíre jumping out of a swimming pool Ė what was the motivation behind that and what do you think it says about your physical abilities?
Jarron Gilbert: We were out there at the pool one day after a summer workout and I just jumped out of the pool and put it on tape. I think it shows my explosiveness, but the more important thing is what I do on film, and I think I put out some pretty good film this year.
A Communication major who recently graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 2008, Chris Tripodi has also worked at The Examiner, a weekly newspaper based in Mount Kisco, N.Y., writing primarily sports as well as many other assorted feature and news articles.
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