Photo Credit: Ellman Photography/TCU Athletics
With the 31 selection in the NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings selected TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney, making him the sixth cornerback selected.
In 42 starts for TCU, Gladney finished with 5 interceptions and 43 passes defended. Gladney was named a Phil Steele All-American in 2019 after finishing with 1 interception and 15 passes defended.
Gladney is a physical, gritty cornerback that best projects as a press man corner. The tough play-style, a staple of TCU defenses, has granted Gladney a lot of success in man coverage and when blitzing, where he is a heat-seeking missile. Gladney played wide receiver in high school, which is shown by his strong ball skills at the cornerback position.
At 5-foot-10, Gladney is small for the outside position and his slender build with thin hips does not help his cause. Though Gladney ran a fast 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, his speed on tape seems slower than that.
Despite the size concern, Gladney has the potential to be a long-term starter on any NFL team, especially if he cleans up his tackling.
Gladney compares nicely to Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander.
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What the Analysts Say
Press cover irritant who plays an extremely competitive brand of football from snap to whistle. He has the twitch and route anticipation to stay close. Possesses ball skills to contest a good percentage of throws. His coverage traits should allow him to thrive in man or zone –Lance Zierlein, NFL Network
Starting since he stepped foot on campus, Gladney is one of the most competitive cornerback prospects that you will see in this class. Not just in coverage, but also as a run defender. He’s scrappy, tough, and physical. Projecting best in a press man scheme, Gladney has the physical attributes and vertical speed necessary to quickly become a starter. –Jordan Reid, The Draft Network
Jeff Gladney is physical and an immediate starter for Minnesota. The Vikings entered the draft needing to replace Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes and Gladney is exactly this. Gladney will start on the outside as a boundary cornerback with his strong hands and physical play.