Stephon Gilmore

Draft Grades: Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills were already having a strong offseason, highlighted by the addition of Mario Williams. And their 2012 draft class completes the process, and potentially makes them darkhorse contenders in the AFC.

The Bills reached for Stephon Gilmore. There’s no denying his potential, but he’s will need time to develop – more time than you’d typically expect from a top-10 pick. That said, I believe cornerback was one of their most glaring needs, and there was a fairly significant dropoff in talent at the position. If they felt this was an area they needed to address in order to compete in 2012, the reach was justified.

Cordy Glenn could be a steal in the 2nd round, but it depends where the Bills use him. He played left tackle this past season at Georgia, but is best suited to play right tackle or guard in the pros. If the Bills use him at left tackle, they’ll be missing an opportunity to maximize his skills.

T.J. Graham was a reach in the 3rd round. He’s more of a track star than a football player. He can stretch the field and potentially contribute as a return specialist, but his upside is limited.

Nigel Bradham is a developmental prospect but I like how he fits in Buffalo. He won’t be forced to play a significant role right away and can be brought along slowly.

I love the selection of Ron Brooks. He was stuck behind Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu this past year, but had the skills to start for nearly any other program in the country. His lack of experience makes him a bit of an unknown, but he played well in a nickel corner role at LSU and, at worst, should be able to fill that role in Buffalo.

Zebrie Sanders could be the Bills long-term answer at left tackle, but he isn’t ready for that role just yet. Ideally, they’ll keep him on the sidelines for a year, developing his strength and technique. But they’re desperate for help on the offensive line, which may force him into action.

Tank Carder lacks the measurables, but was extremely productive at TCU. He may never start, but should have a long career as a backup and special teams contributor.

Mark Asper may add some depth to the offensive line, but he’ll have to fight to make the final roster cuts. The Bills have no shortage of mediocre interior linemen.

The selection of John Potter doesn’t make much sense. Rian Lindell seems to be entrenched as the starting kicker and Potter is no better than any number of kickers who could have been picked up after the draft.

Overall, the Bills did a nice job of addressing needs without making many significant reaches. They also landed a few solid developmental prospects who could pay off a few years down the line. This may be Buddy Nix’s best draft class since coming to Buffalo.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Bills, Draft Grades - 2012 Comments Off

Buffalo Bills select Stephon Gilmore, Grade B

The Buffalo Bills defense is going to be surprisingly formidable in 2012. I’m not crazy about Stephon Gilmore, especially not in the top 10, but he fills an obvious need and gives them the depth they need to compete with the Patriots.

I probably would have tried to trade down if I were them but, assuming that wasn’t option, Gilmore was one of the few prospects on the board capable of stepping into a starting role and making an immediate impact. It’s definitely a risk to draft for need rather than value when you aren’t sure if you’re a legitimate contender, but I do like the Bills aggressive approach. They’re acting like they’re ready to win now for the first time in over a decade.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Bills Comments Off

Buccaneers Offseason Priority: fix the secondary

The Tampa Buccaneers have holes everywhere you look, but one glaring need stands above the rest.

Based on’s grading system, 11 of the 12 Buccaneers defensive backs to see the field in 2011 performed below average, the lone exception being former 1st-round pick Aqib Talib. But Talib has his own issues off the field, and who knows how long the new coaching staff will put up with his antics. Additionally, the two veterans of the group – Ronde Barber and Sean Jones – are set to become free agents.

If possible, the Bucs should wipe the slate clean and bring in a brand new batch of defensive backs. Realistically, they should aim to bring in at least one veteran free agent and add some prospects in the draft.

The best case scenario on draft day would be for Morris Claiborne to fall to them at No. 5. He would immediately give the Bucs a true No. 1 cornerback, allowing them to gradually fill in the holes around him.

If Claiborne is gone, things get more complicated. While there should be a number of quality prospects available at the beginning of Round 2, none would have a dramatic immediate impact. The Bucs would be left to chose one of two paths: select a guy with the upside to develop into a shutdown corner (Stephon Gilmore for example) or add a more polished product who can contribute immediately, but may have less long-term upside (such as Chase Minnifield).

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Buccaneers Comments Off

Stephon Gilmore scouting report

Stephon Gilmore CB South Carolina #5
Ht: 6’1″Wt: 193  
Impressive height and decent overall size. Adequate athleticism; especially for his size. has enough speed to stick with most receivers. Capable of delivering the big hit. Can be an asset in run support when he puts in the effort. Does a nice job tracking the ball in flight. Good hands; will come down with the interception when he’s in position. Coaches praise his work ethic and leadership.
Slow to react to run plays at times; seems to pick and chose when he wants to get involved. In consistent tackling; goes for the big hit too often and isn’t a reliable wrap-up tackler; prefers to lower his shoulder rather than square up the ball carrier. Struggles to shed blocks, even from receivers. Gets sloppy in coverage at times; relies too much on his athleticism and seems to trust his speed more than he should. Speed is very average. Struggles with a lot of the minor aspects of coverage, such as putting himself in position to get his hands on the ball.
Gilmore is intriguing due to his size and athleticism, and the fact that there simply aren’t many prospects with his measurables. However, he has a lot of work to do before he’s ready to be an impact player at the next level. He clearly has the potential to be a starter, but he’s very inconsistent with his fundamentals at this stage in his career. What’s most concerning is his inconsistent effort against the run. Due to his size, this is one area when could make himself standout above other corners, but far too often he’s hesitant to really get physical. Due to his size and average speed some teams may consider him a free safety.
2011 vs Nebraska 
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 1 Comment