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Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil said he is ‘very optimistic’ about Justin Gilbert entering his second season

By SI Wire
April 07, 2015

Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil said he is ‘very optimistic’ about Justin Gilbert entering his second season, team writer Andrew Gribble reports.

Gilbert, the No. 8 pick in the 2014 draft, had just one interception during his rookie season with the Browns. He was inactive for the season finale after being late for a team meeting.

Despite his disappointing rookie year, O'Neil said the team has high hopes for Gilbert next season.

“I know he's working hard,” O’Neil said. “I'm looking forward to getting him back and see where he's at two weeks from now. I'm very optimistic for Justin in Year 2.”
"I think that expectations for corners in this league for first year are always a lot higher than they should be. I can't remember a rookie corner that's had a successful season in his first year. I know nobody wants to hear this, but it takes time, it takes time to learn how to play corner in the NFL. Quarterbacks are too good, receivers are too good."

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Gilbert will have to compete with All-Pro cornerback Joe Haden and Tramon Williams for playing team in Cleveland’s secondary next season. 

Last season, the Browns finished No. 9 in scoring defense and No. 23 in yards allowed. The Browns have signed defensive tackle Randy Starks, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and quarterback Josh McCown this offseason.

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