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NFL Draft Diamonds Scouting Report: James Gilbert, RB, Ball State University

NFL Draft Diamonds Scouting Report: James Gilbert, RB, Ball State University by Matt Anzio

  • Player-  James Gilbert                        
  • Position-  RB          
  • School- Ball St
  • Height-  5’8                    
  • Weight-  200 lb                    
  • Draft-2019
  • Projected Forty-  4.49     
  • Projected Round- UDFA

Stats & Awards


  • played in 9 games
  • 133 carries 586 yds & 5 TD’s with 15 catches for 88 yds
  • Back injury after 9 games still unknown if he will return 11/13/2018  


  • Injured after only 3 games
  • Was on Preseason Maxwell Award Watch list
  • Had 48 carries, 207 yds, 4.3 ypc, 3 TD, 2 catch, 24 yd & 1 rec TD


  • Played All 12 games  
  • 251 carries, 1332 yds, 5.3ypc, 12 TD’s & 1 catch for 18 yds
  • All Mac First Team ( Coaches) 2016
  • 160 yds & 2 TD;s in win vs Georgia St 9/6/16
  • Had 264 yds & 2 TD’s that included   221 yds in 2nd half & a 80 yd run that  led to the win vs UB 10/16/16
  • 4th most rushing yds in a singles season in Ball St history
  • Most TD’s in Mac 2016
  • Hit 100 yds in 7 games including a 5 game 100 yd streak
  • Lead the League in avg 111 yds per game
  • The 264 yds vs UB was 2nd most in school history


  • Played in all 12 games
  • 152 carries, 608 yds, 4.0 ypc, 3 TD 3 rec 35 yds

Gauntlet Report

Gilbert could be a diamond in the rough…

Explosive one cut compact tough back with great vision and burst thru holes.

No wasted motion low center of gravity in combination with his short area quickness & toughness.  Strong lower body runs thru tackles or can put pads down and power his way forward can be difficult for large defenders to get a clean hit or get low enough to make a tackle on.

After getting injured after only 3 games where he was on pace to have his best season to date he should be out to prove his value this fall. After a absolute breakout year in 2016 Gilbert was ready   to get back on the field & was having good success with 133 carries almost 600 yds before a minor back injury caused him to miss the last game.

Natural runner  one cut ,downhill and he is gone gets from 0 to 100 in a heartbeat. Tough enough for short yardage, will only get better once he gets into NFL shape. Quick enough for outside runs or in the short passing game. Not used in the receiving game much but did have 15 catches this season thus far , but showed soft reliable hands can def be a threat in the pass game in the future.  

Shows great effort end toughness to be a blocker in the pass game. Really think he will shine as part of a committee in the NFL. Whether its a 3 back or even 4 back backfield. The type of player that doesn’t just offer a quick scat back change of pace but also a tough grinder that can get the tough yard as needed.

Unfortunately Gilbert has been plagued by injury throughout his career at Ball State, as many backs are. 2016 still remains his best year to date when i believe he was truly 100%. In 2016 he averaged 5.3 ypc in comparison to 4.3 in 2017 & 4.4 ypc  in 2018. That can be for many reasons including OL or getting half the attempts in which he had during his career year, 2 years ago. He needs to get physically healthy and if he does he could be a nice surprise for a team that takes a chance on him most likely as a  UDFA. If he is able to showcase his talents at the Senior Bowl, Shrine Game or any of these other Bowls in which scouts attend believe he will catch some eyes. If he can run in the low 4.4 range does well in drills at his pro day he could hear his name called day 3 of the draft.

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at [email protected]

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