This post is about Jeff Gladney but could easily be about TCU’s head coach Gary Patterson. Patterson has a knack for finding the proverbially diamond in the rough with recruits, especially defensive ones. Gladney, one of the best cornerbacks in TCU’s history, was a low rated three-star recruit out of New Boston, Texas, in 2015. He was recruited by some of the smaller football schools in Texas like Rice, UTSA, and Texas State, but ultimately decided to head to TCU where he flourished into one of the best cover corners in the NCAA.
Gladney’s TCU career was almost over before it started when he tore his ACL during his freshman season and had to redshirt. When he came back, it was clear that he was not the same player, but he kept grinding and found himself earning Second Team All-Big 12 honors after his redshirt junior season and First Team All-Big 12 honors after his redshirt senior season. Gladney had five interceptions and a conference-high 14 pass breakups in 12 starts that year.
There are two qualities that scouts seem to LOVE about Gladney: his instincts and his motor. Gladney plays at a high level every single play. Whether he is in man, zone, or blitzing, he is going to be playing with high intensity from snap to whistle which leads to big hits and never being able to take him out of a play. As for his instincts, Gladney uses those to be “sticky” in man coverage. He is almost impossible to shake as a receiver, and Gladney does a great job of keeping his eyes on both the quarterback and the receiver to make the best break on passes.
There are some years where Gladney could easily have been the first cornerback taken in the draft. Unfortunately for him, this is a deep draft at that position. This leaves Gladney as anywhere from being a top-25 pick to being drafted later in the second round. There are a lot of teams that could use Gladney and a few that hope he will drop and end up as their steal of the draft.
Arms: 31 7/8″
40-Yard Time: 4.48 seconds (unofficial)
Bench Press: 17 reps
Vertical Jump: 37.5″
Potential Landing Spots: Vikings, Chiefs, Giants, Jets