West Virginia’s deep threat is following his dreams to the NFL, and could be a solid receiver right away for a few teams.
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Shelton Gibson surprised the West Virginia Mountaineer fanbase, as well as the coaching staff, in January when he announced he wouldn’t be returning for his senior season in Morgantown. Despite not getting a first or second round grade from the NFL, Gibson had made up his mind that he wanted to follow his dream of playing at the next level.
“Even if I go as a free agent, what’s the biggest thing? Money? I don’t care about money. This is my dream. A lot of people do it for money. I don’t care. I can sit here and tell you that, and you can believe it or not, but this is what I want to do. I started playing football in the ninth grade, and ever since then, I’ve been loving it. I come out every day and compete.” - Shelton Gibson, interview with Mike Casazza (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
The Cleveland Heights, Ohio native came to West Virginia as a four-star prospect, and chose the Mountaineers over Ohio State, Michigan State and Tennessee. Gibson redshirted his first season on campus, and as a redshirt freshman emerged as a kickoff return threat alongside current Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mario Alford. As a sophomore, Gibson would start all 13 games and finished the season ranked No. 2 in the NCAA in yards per catch. Gibson continued the success into his junior season, and would finish just shy of 1,000 yards receiving.
As a Mountaineer, Gibson totaled 1,898 yard and 17 touchdowns on 84 receptions, and 1,244 yards and one touchdown on 53 kick/punt returns.
|Bench Press||8 reps (225 lbs)|
|40-Yard Dash||4.39 sec (at WVU Pro Day)|
|3 Cone Drill||6.83|
|20-Yard Shuttle||4.2 sec.|
|60-Yard Shuttle||10.71 sec.|
Gibson’s biggest strength is his acceleration and speed. He’s more of a deep play threat than someone you would go to on a short route, but that is something that he can continue to work on and learn at the next level. 36% of his catches over the 2015 and 2016 seasons at West Virginia went for 25-yards or more. Shelton isn’t afraid to climb the ladder to bring down passes that are thrown high, and will take a hit in the open field.
Gibson needs to continue working on his short and intermediate routes. He doesn’t seem quite as confident in those situations as he does on the deep play, and because of that tends to lose focus when trying to catch the ball, leading to drops.
Gibson has picked up some interest from the Philadelphia Eagles, and if he’s still on the board when their 4th round pick comes around he’s probably the selection. Gibson speed and size has been compared to DeSean Jackson, and the Eagles front office has to love the idea of being able to get DeSean 2.0 in this draft.
If the Eagles pass on Gibson, for whatever reason, he could find himself falling into the 5th or possibly even 6th round.
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Outlook and Projections
Gibson will be a solid WR4 for any team, and if he continues to improve his route running could easily work himself up the depth chart and into a starting role within a couple seasons. He has decent size and great speed that should attract any team looking for a deep play threat to add to their arsenal.