Pittsburgh – Steelers O-line coach Sean Kugler had a great source of information about the University of Florida offensive line for this year’s draft.
And after Maurkice Pouncey made another pitch to Kugler for his brother Mike, the Steelers’ Pro Bowl center mentioned Gators tackle Marcus Gilbert.
“Maurkice was a big advocate for Marcus,” Kugler said of the Steelers’ second-round draft pick. “He is going to tell you how it is and of course I’ll take his advice because I respect him as a player.”
Gilbert is a massive 6-6 1/8, 330-pound offensive tackle who started the last two seasons at both tackle positions. Kugler also said that “he has pulling skills and we can envision him at the guard spot as well.
Right now I couldn’t tell you where he’s going to line up. We are trying to get the best five and the best two game-day guys behind it. He’ll be in the right spot when it comes time to go.”
The son of a Secret Service agent who guarded Presidents Obama and Clinton, Gilbert attended St. Thomas Aquinas High in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., before attending the University of Florida, where he played in all 13 games as a redshirt freshman.
Gilbert started at both guard spots (three starts total) as a sophomore, and as a junior became the Gators’ starting right tackle. He moved over to left tackle last season.
At the combine, Gilbert ran a 5.46 40 with times of 4.69 in the short shuttle and 7.66 in the 3-cone drill. He had a 29-inch vertical jump and bench-pressed 225 pounds 30 times.
In the third round, the Steelers drafted Texas cornerback Curtis Brown, a 5-11.5, 185-pounder with 4.54 speed in the 40.
“Curtis Brown is a quick cornerback from Texas that probably was one of their best cover corners coming out,” said the Steelers’ new DBs coach Carnell Lake. “Aaron (Williams), his teammate, is bigger. We thought more of him as a safety and we think Curtis is a cover corner who can play the nickel as well as play at the outside position.”
Brown, a self-admitted “country dude” from Gilmer, Texas, played right away at the University of Texas and ended his career by playing in all 52 games. He had only two interceptions but Lake said, “He’s got good hands. I think teams picked on his teammates more than himself. When you look at it, they just didn’t throw a lot his way, and I thought that was because his coverage skills were better.”
Lake expects Brown to contribute as a nickel back early in his pro career. Texas’ Most Valuable Special Teams Player as a junior, Brown will also contribute as a gunner and jammer.
“He won’t shy away from contact,” Lake said. “He’s scrappy. He throws his body around and that will serve him well.”
In addition to his 4.54 40 time at the combine, Brown ran the short shuttle in 4.0, the 3-cone in an outstanding 6.59, had a 39½-inch vertical jump and a 10-8 broad jump, and benched 225 pounds 10 times.