Speed is something that all NFL teams covet. Sometimes, teams go to extraordinary lengths to get it.
WR Robert Gill is one example of this. Now, for those of you who don’t know about Gill, he did not play football apart from his senior year in high school as a safety. That was until 2007, when he was signed to play in the CFL. In his first year there, he was converted to a WR, catching 12 TDs and showing great hands. He was clocked in at a mind-blowing 4.19 40-yard dash during his time there as well.
Gill has a heavy track background and can run like the wind, as you can tell.
Unfortunately, he was cut after 2008. Many believe that this was because he didn’t fit there and wanted to pursue an NFL career. He spent the next few years honing his craft until the Arizona Cardinals came knocking on his door. What caught their eye was a YouTube video of him that surfaced this summer. In the video, he can be seen running on a treadmill at an astonishing 25 mph.
He was signed during mini camp and impressed right out of the gate until a hamstring injury kept him out the first two games of the preseason. As a result, he was cut by the team today. Given that they have Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts, Michael Floyd and Kerry Taylor already starting on their roster, there was simply no room for Gill.
Now, you may be wondering what the New England Patriots have to do with any of this. Well, it is very simple. Now that Gill is a free agent, he is free to sign with any team. The Patriots could use as many receivers as they can stash on their roster right now. Signing him would bring a dynamic they seem to be lacking outside of Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce — blazing speed. Why not bring him aboard and see what he can do?
In the worst-case scenario, you would sign him to a minimum contract and he would be unable to play because of injury and you cut him. In the best-case scenario, he would be a dynamic player who could contribute on special teams, in the passing game, or both. He could even pull a Julian Edelman and play safety if one or more starters were to suffer an injury.
In other words, it would be a low-risk, high-reward move for the Patriots.
Also, he would be eligible for the practice squad given that he is a rookie. If the team likes their receiving situation right now, they could place him on the practice squad and see where he could fit in a year or two. In the meantime, he could work with Tom Brady to try and show off his skills and develop a rapport with him.
Gill is known as a guy that has a great work ethic, given he has run track and played college basketball prior to playing football. He is a natural athlete who can run like Forrest Gump, and that’s all I have to say about that.
Not to say there are no concerns with him, because hamstring injuries are a problem for speed guys and he is 29-years-old, but his upside is too great to take a pass on him. He is still young enough to make a name for himself in the league, and he has made a career out of proving naysayers wrong. If the Patriots were smart, they would at least kick the tires on the speedy receiver.