Thoughts on the Buffalo Bills Draft: First Round- Stephon Gilmore

By Jeff Sattora

When I prepared myself for the Buffalo Bills draft possibilities this past week there were quite a few names I expected I could hear with the tenth overall pick.

None of those names were South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

With that said, and my surprise with the pick, I am still happy that the Bills made it.  Looking at the team’s roster and their needs for this upcoming year, one of them was definitely cornerback.

The Bills defense struggled against the pass all year long (ranked 19th in the league in passing yards against), and especially had trouble late in the year giving up long drives and not being able to get off the field on third down.   This pick could very well be a huge help in both of those areas.

The 6’0″, 190 lb. corner from South Carolina was a top-notch defender all throughout college playing in the toughest conference in America, the SEC.  Gilmore was a three-year starter in the SEC, racking up 140 tackles and seven interceptions over his career, and he even came in with seven career sacks.

Yahoo Sports’ Mike Tanier said the following “pro” reviews on Gilmore:

“Pros: It is unusual to start a cornerback’s scouting report by praising his run defense, but Gilmore stands out in this area. He often played the “force defender” role for the Gamecocks, deterring running backs from trying to run to the weak side of the formation by attacking from the edge on that side of the field. Gilmore reads running plays quickly and attacks them aggressively. He is a very willing hitter, though his tackling technique leaves something to be desired. Gilmore will fight through blocks by wide receivers and will pursue plays from behind to make touchdown-saving tackles. Gilmore has seven career sacks and can be a weapon as a corner blitzer.

Gilmore has exceptional speed and can run with top wide receivers. He covers a lot of ground in zone coverage. As a three-year starter, he has learned to diagnose plays when he is in a short zone, and will sit in a spot on the field and wait for an easy interception or pass breakup. Gilmore gambles and guesses sometimes when jumping routes. That can be good or bad, of course, but Gilmore picks his spots fairly well when he gambles.

Gilmore returned a blocked kick for a two-point conversion against Nebraska in the Capitol One Bowl and had an interception return touchdown in 2010. When he bursts into the open field, no one will catch him.”

Plugging Gilmore in to an already greatly improved defense will be a huge bonus.  Not only has the team already vastly improved their pass rush, the defensive backfield will now hopefully be able to compliment it just as successfully.

Listening to different thoughts on the pick, I am confident that this is a great pick, and the right pick for this team and organization in the future.

Follow me on twitter @jeffsattora

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