Nov 5, 2011; Fayetteville, AR, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks cornerback Stephon Gilmore (5) during the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas defeated South Carolina 44-28. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE

2012 NFL Draft Scouting Report: South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore

Editor’s Note: As we get ready for the 2012 NFL Draft, we’ll be “meeting” some players who just might find their way to Buffalo come April. In this series we’ll take a look at possible Bills draft picks and break down their abilities and potential.

Overview: Gilmore has flown up the draft boards in 2012 thanks to his size and talent. Could be Buffalo’s man at #10?

Strengths: Started as a true freshman in the ultra-competitive SEC. Very good size at 6’1, 190. Excellent top-end speed. Just a great all-around athlete. Physical in coverage. Decent hands and excellent at winning jump balls – will make QBs pay for floaters or errant throws. Seems to make big plays and is always looking to strip the ball from ballcarriers. A vicious hitter who is not at all afraid to play the run.  Intelligent with an unquestioned work ethic – he’ll put in the time in the film room and weight room to succeed in the NFL. Has a lot of upside. Also has some value as a punt returner.

Weaknesses: Really inconsistent. Makes incredible plays but also gets burned. His footwork could really use some improvement – he’ll get beat by double moves at the NFL level. Could use some more strength – might struggle to knock NFL receivers off their routes or get off their blocks in the run game. Doesn’t wrap up very well as a tackler. Fast but not particularly quick.  Not great in straight-up man coverage – probably a much better fit in a zone-based system.

How He’d Fit in Buffalo: Fits the mold of defensive players Buddy Nix liked last year – experienced guys who produced against tough competition in college. This team could really use another corner or two. Gilmore would certainly upgrade the talent of the group, but I’m not sure he’d be more productive than what the Bills have, at least right away. But you could worse than to have a young trio of corners like Gilmore and second-year men Aaron Williams and Justin Rogers.

The Bottom Line: There’s a lot of people in love with Gilmore…I’m a little more skeptical. That’s not to say I’m completely writing him off. Gilmore is certainly a great talent and well worth a first-round pick – but a top-ten pick? I’m not so sure. He’s really got some technique issues to iron out before he can be a true top-flight NFL corner, and there’s never a guarantee that’s going to happen. If Buffalo nabbed Gilmore #10, I would be excited…but also terrified.

Previously:

Stanford G David DeCastro

Syracuse DE Chandler Jones

Stanford OT Jonathan Martin

Alabama CB Dre Kirkpatrick

North Carolina DE Quinton Coples 

Alabama LB Courtney Upshaw

Iowa OT Riley Reiff

Boston College LB Luke Kuechly

South Carolina DE Melvin Ingram

Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon

Georgia G/T Cordy Glenn

Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd

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