Eagles Draft Target – Jeff Gladney

Howie Roseman wants to inject speed and youth on defense and this senior is one of the fastest defensive backs in the entire draft. One could argue that no one in college football has made more plays on the ball during the last two years. How does Jeff Gladney fit with the Philadelphia Eagles? Let’s take a look.

A Look at Jeff Gladney’s College Performance

According to Rivals, Jeff Gladney was a 3-star cornerback recruit out of New Boston, Texas. He was a multi-sport star in high school and received offers from Rice, North Texas and Tulsa before officially committing to TCU.  Gladney redshirted his freshman year in 2015 and made 8 starts as a freshman, finishing with 46 tackles and 6 pass breakups. He had an under-the-radar sophomore season, finishing with two interceptions, 5 pass breaks up and being named honorable-mention All-Big 12.

Jeff Gladney really began to turn some heads during his junior and senior seasons. Gladney started all 13 games for TCU in 2018, finishing with 41 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, two interceptions, a forced fumble and 12 pass deflections. He was named Second-Team All-Big 12 and Pro Football Focus First-Team All-Big 12 his junior season. His excellent season also got him tons of attention during the offseason. Gladney was named a preseason All-American by Phil Steele alongside teammate Jalen Reagor.

As a senior, Jeff Gladney continued to cement himself as the top cornerback in the Big 12…

Gladney played all 12 games, finishing with 31 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and 1 interception in 2019. Gladney’s 14 pass deflections ranked #1 in the Big 12 and was named to the 2019 All-Big 12 Football First Team. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed only 690 yards on 130 targets during the last two seasons and had the lowest passer rating allowed of all defensive backs in the Big 12 at 46.9.

Look at Jeff Gladney quickly make the adjustment, change direction and break up the pass.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport recently reported that Jeff Gladney will miss the next 4-5 weeks to recover from meniscus surgery. The report indicated that Gladney played with the pain for the entire 2019 season. Gladney fans can breathe a sigh of relief though. The surgery is considered minor and he should not miss minicamp in early May.

Jeff Gladney’s Current Draft Projection

  • 31st – Ryan Wilson/CBS Sports
  • 32nd – Matt Miller/Bleacher Report
  • Not listed (first round only) – Charles Davis/NFL.com
  • Not listed (first round only) – ESPN/Todd McShay
  • Not listed (first round only) – Sports Illustrated

Jeff Gladney’s Fit with the Philadelphia Eagles

Stopping the big play has to be on the fore front of Jim Schwartz’s mind in 2020. According to Pro Football Focus, Gladney allowed only 10-46 receiving for 333 yards on targets 20-plus yards downfield. To break it down even further, Gladney allowed only 19 receptions for 470 yards on 78 targets 10-plus yards downfield. Quite simply, this guy makes plays down field and is always around the football.

The Philadelphia Eagles were one of the most frustrating defenses to watch on 3rd and long situations in 2019. Pro Football Focus indicates that Jeff Gladney had 19 career forced incompletions on third down while at TCU. To the delight of many Bird’s fans, this is a guy who plays with an aggressive style of football that would make him a welcome addition to the Philadelphia Eagles defense. The Eagles haven’t had a guy with this level of speed and quickness since Asante Samuel in 2011.

A quick look at Jeff Gladney’s footwork at the NFL Combine.

Let’s talk a little bit about NFL Free Agency and the cornerback position…

Personally I’m not a believer in Byron Jones. Jones’ lack of play making for that price tag is just not worth it. I understand that market dictates value. But Byron Jones is an above average player and save the rest for when Free Agency starts next week. Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas have shown me very little to feel confident in 2020. Whether you’re in or out on Byron Jones, the Eagles will still likely need to add another starting caliber outside cornerback to the roster that can make plays and create turnovers.

Jeff Gladney would bring greasy, fast speed to the Eagles cornerback position.

I think it’s highly likely we see Jalen Mills return to the Eagles on a team friendly deal (5 million per year anyone?). Sidney Jones is clearly not ready to start and continues to be a complete mystery. Rasul Douglas should never be counted on as a starting outside cornerback. And who knows what you got with Avonte Maddox?

Back to Jeff Gladney. This guy is not just about speed. He plays much, more physical than his frame might indicate. 17 reps on the bench press at the NFL Draft Combine shows that Jeff Gladney is not just a burner on the outside. He is a big-time competitor and extremely versatile. Versatility is a key term when it comes to the Eagles defense. Jeff Gladney should have no problem adjusting to the NFL in zone, man and press coverages.

Way more than just speed on the outside. Jeff Gladney plays with an alpha dog mentality at cornerback.

Final Thoughts

Jeff Gladney fits the same mold for as Jalen Reagor for me. He is a perfect fit for what the Philadelphia Eagles need and could be had in a slight trade down in the first round. I understand some of you might be disappointed to hear that I’m not selecting a wide receiver with the first pick. Listen, a slight trade back would give Howie Roseman more ammo to move up in the second round and get a speedster at receiver like Jalen Reagor or Brandon Aiyuk.

Here is one of my favorite scenarios in the draft. It’s looking more and more likely that the top 3 wide receivers will not be available for the Eagles at #21. Trade back, get a pick in return and select Jeff Gladney in the late first. Next, move up into the top of the second round and get a burner for Carson Wentz on the outside. Trading the Eagles second round pick plus a 3rd should be everything Howie Roseman needs to get it done. In my opinion, netting a combination of Jeff Gladney and Jalen Reagor would be a home run start for the Eagles in the NFL Draft.

Please be sure to check out our latest 7-Round Post Combine Philadelphia Eagles mock draft pod! Link is below!

Play