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23 Days of Draftmas: Jeff Gladney

23 Days of Draftmas rolls on with a smart, aggressive cornerback who shows best-in-class footwork.

NCAA FOOTBALL: SEP 10 Arkansas at TCU Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A very merry Draftmas to you! We continue our tradition of profiling an NFL Draft prospect every day in April, leading up to the NFL Draft on Thursday. Every day, you’ll get a prospect profile that includes how they would fit with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The NFL Draft kicks off tomorrow so we decided to give you a full write-up from the 2020 KC Draft Guide: Championship Edition as part of our coverage. Here’s a tough, talented cornerback from the Big 12 who we have seen being mocked to the Chiefs.

Jeff Gladney, cornerback

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 26 Cheez-It Bowl - Cal v TCU Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

5’ 10” | 191 lbs | TCU

New Boston, TX | 12/1/1996

Grade (round): Round two

Draft Range: Day two

40 time: 4.48

NFL Combine: 37.5” vertical jump, 124” broad jump, 7.23 3-cone drill, 17 bench reps

2019 Stats: 14 pass breakups, 1 interception, 31 tackles

Background: First-team All-Big 12 in 2019. Second-team All-Big 12 in 2018 and honorable mention in 2017. Made Bruce Feldman’s “Freak List” after squatting 620 pounds, benching 400 pounds and power-cleaning 400 pounds. Played through a foot injury in 2018.

Strengths: Gladney has some of the best footwork in the entire cornerback class. He keeps receivers framed through their releases, sometimes beating the receiver out of his release on a fake. He has an extremely high football IQ, allowing him to eliminate potential routes using his peripheral vision to read other receivers. In run support, he is an aggressive player and a willing tackler. He has the speed to carry vertical routes, positioning himself well to shrink throwing windows and break up passes. Gladney’s zone drops are fantastic. He uses his athleticism well to sink and high-point passes that quarterbacks try to drop over his zone.

Weaknesses: When attacking underneath routes, Gladney’s angles can be too aggressive, sometimes allowing the receiver to catch and run. Among cornerbacks, he is on the shorter side, which limits his effectiveness at the catch point — particularly against longer receivers. Those taller receivers can also beat his press; he tries to hop forward to get into their chests, which can allow a free release. He also demonstrates some hip stiffness, creating some separation coming out of a receivers’ breaks. Gladney’s emotions can get the better of him — sometimes causing him to play recklessly. Against Texas Tech, he was ejected for targeting — and threw punches against Iowa State.

How he fits with the Chiefs: Gladney’s high football IQ, aggressive nature, excellent footwork and superior athleticism fit well with what defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo likes in his cornerbacks. His ability to play man and zone coverages at a high level makes him a perfect fit for the diverse coverage calls the Chiefs secondary relies upon. Spagnuolo doesn’t mind wooden hips and would relish the opportunity to develop a cornerback of Gladney’s caliber — particularly one with the confidence to immediately mix it up at the next level.

Player comp: Jourdan Lewis

Fit Likelihood: High

KC Draft Guide

Love the draft? We’ll cover it here on Arrowhead Pride in its usual format, but if you want MORE in-depth analysis on the draft, we’ve got you covered. Order the KC Draft Guide to get 225+ player profiles, special features, Chiefs fits for each position, and quotes directly from the players on how they would feel to end up in Kansas City!

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