Jarron Gilbert is known in cyber space simply as “The Dude Who Jumped Out of the Pool.” When the Bears grabbed the San Jose State defensive linemen Sunday with their first pick in the NFL Draft, ESPN didn’t open by showing a sack. It showcased Gilbert’s “freakish” talent by airing a famous YouTube video of Gilbert leaping out of the water and landing on his feet on the pool deck after a summer workout.
Jarron Gilbert is known in cyber space simply as “The Dude Who Jumped Out of the Pool.”
When the Bears grabbed the San Jose State defensive linemen Sunday with their first pick in the NFL Draft, ESPN didn’t open by showing a sack. It showcased Gilbert’s “freakish” talent by airing a famous YouTube video of Gilbert leaping out of the water and landing on his feet on the pool deck after a summer workout.
“I got it on the first try,” Gilbert said via teleconference after the Bears made him the fourth pick in the third round (68th overall). “I saw I could do it, so I had to put it on film.”
It looked more impressive before Gilbert revealed where he got the idea. “Our strength coach told us about Adam Archuleta jumping out of the pool. Everybody went crazy and thought it was unbelievable,” Gilbert said.
Archuleta had one of the worst seasons in history by a Bears safety in 2007. Pool-jumping, evidently, has little to do with football playing.
Gilbert, though, is an intriguing prospect, and shows why general manager Jerry Angelo deserves the benefit of the doubt for trading down Saturday. Gilbert, projected to go 44th overall by ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr., was a higher-rated player than Mohamed Massaquoi, the receiver most expected the Bears to take with that traded 49th pick.
Instead of getting a receiver at No. 49, the Bears got two defensive linemen, taking Gilbert and end Henry Melton of Texas with the two picks from Saturday’s trade. They also landed a receiver Kiper rated only eight spots behind Massaquoi when they took Oklahoma’s Juaquin Iglesias at No. 99 in the third round. Kiper had Iglesias going 57th.
From Gilbert to Iglesias to Vanderbilt cornerback D.J. Moore in the fourth round to Division II Abilene Christian receiver Johnny Knox and Ohio State linebacker Marcus Freeman in the fifth round, the Bears consistently snapped up players Kiper projected going two rounds earlier.
“A couple of people told me I was going to go higher, but you fall where you fall,” Freeman said. “I couldn’t be in a better situation.”
Moore was a first-team All-American at Vanderbilt who came out after his junior season.
“I was ready to go,” he said. “I didn’t feel I was going to get too much better than I was. I felt I was the best cornerback in the best conference going against the best players, so I felt I was the best cornerback in the draft.”
The Bears hit their dream scenario by getting value and meeting needs with every pick. Fans wanted a receiver? The Bears added two. Knox is faster than Massaquoi, Iglesias is more polished, and both have better hands. Yet Knox is raw and Iglesias’ billing on the Bears scouting report as “more solid than flashy” sounds a little like Earl Bennett, the all-time SEC receiving leader who didn’t catch a pass for the Bears as a rookie last year.
So nothing is certain. Nothing ever is in the NFL Draft, especially on the second day. But this is the most fascinating collection of athletes the Bears have gathered in recent drafts, and they hit all their big needs: receiver, defensive back, linebacker and their often-overlooked need for pass rushers.
The Bears had 28 sacks last year despite defending more passes (620) than any team in the NFL. The only time in the last 10 years they’ve had fewer sacks, it led to Dick Jauron getting fired in 2003.
“It’s always a need,” said Greg Gabriel, Chicago’s director of college scouting. “If you’ve got a chance to get a good pass rusher, you take him.”
All six picks in the top five rounds have a chance to contribute this year. And if they take longer to develop, well, there’s still time. Jay Cutler is only 26.
Assistant sports editor Matt Trowbridge can be reached at: 815-987-1383 or email@example.com.