Mark Gilbert stuck on with the Steelers after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in the 2021 season. However, after making the team’s practice squad, he was poached off it by the Detroit Lions. Still, he would circle back around to Pittsburgh in 2022 before being let go once again. That led Gilbert to the USFL to play with the Pittsburgh Maulers.
Now, after leading the USFL in interceptions, it seems Gilbert is getting interest from teams to get back into the NFL. According to Ari Meirov, Gilbert is one of a number of USFL players that is garnering significant interest from a number of NFL teams prior to their training camps opening in just a number of weeks.
After shining bright with the Maulers, Gilbert looked towards the NFL and an opportunity. He was a key cog in a defense that was the top defense in the USFL this season. Gilbert made a number of plays that brought a struggling Maulers team back into the playoff picture and eventually to the USFL Championship.
“Credit to the other 10 guys I’m playing with, I just make the plays that come to me,” Gilbert said. “They’re confident that I can make the plays that come to me. But that confidence makes me go out there and do my part. It’s my 1/11. I can’t do what I do if I don’t have a good pass rush or don’t have safeties that are communicating with me. I do go out there and make the play, but there’s so much before that goes on before my success.”
Gilbert had his career derailed at Duke with a number of injuries after he was mocked as first round pick at times before his junior season. The fact that he is even where he is at now seems to be a minor miracle. But that resilience could lead Gilbert back into an NFL locker room and competing for a roster spot this summer.