NFL stock rising for Cowboys' Gilbert

Justin Gilbert’s return to Oklahoma State looks like it has paid off.

ESPN.com’s Todd McShay released his first mock draft (Insider) on Wednesday with Gilbert as the highest Big 12 representative on his draft projection. Gilbert appeared to be a sure-fire early NFL entrant after a stellar sophomore season in 2011, but a subpar junior year forced him to return to Stillwater.

“He came back hungry this season after a subpar 2012 campaign,” McShay said of Gilbert. “And proved to be one of the top cornerbacks in college football.”

Fellow ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper updated his Big Board (Insider), which featured Gilbert as the highest-ranked Big 12 player as well.

“Has put together a great season after a subpar 2012, was clearly motivated,” Kiper said of Gilbert.

Gilbert was a first-team All-Big 12 performer as a senior with 40 tackles, seven passes defensed and six interceptions.