First things first. I’d like to toot my own hort and mention that I had Stephon Gilmore coming to Buffalo in my latest mock draft. It was one of the only picks that I made correctly.
We are now learning that Buffalo apparently attempted a trade up to the #4 spot in an effort to land Minnesota’s LT Matt Kalil from USC. They were going to package their first and second round picks, but Minnesota did not bite. I have a feeling that Buffalo would have taken Luke Keuchly if he had been available, but he wasn’t, and I believe they went with best player available, which is almost always a winning strategy over the long run.
That being said, lets get to know the guy that we took. I have scouted every scouting report on him so that you don’t have to. (But I’m sure you will anyways) First, the good.
Stephon Gilmore is tall and extremely fast with excellent reach and is a strong and physical cover. He has the perfect build for corner in the NFL and has elite top speed and size to cover tall receivers, and the overwhelming agility to stay with the little ones. Has never dealt with an injury, never missed a game and my favorite part- he is a total gym rat with no off the field issues. Hard worker who was an Academic All-American for two years at South Carolina. I love hard workers who are intelligent, and Gilmore is a model citizen. He has underrated cover skills, and a very, VERY high ceiling. It may take him time to tap his potential (cornerback has a slightly longer learning curve than a lot of other positions in the NFL) he is above average at most aspects of his game. He is going to look great across from Aaron Williams.
Ok and now what my boss would call the “opportunities for improvement.”
He may never become a shutdown corner. He does not possess overwhelming instincts, and sometimes struggles to recognize routes on receivers. Sometimes he bails on plays a little early, relying too much on his average tackling ability over his standard ball recognition. Doesn’t have elite burst.
Sound like a lot more positives? Well he should, he’s a first round pick and was generally considered a top 15 talent. This is a guy who will grow up and mature across from Aaron Williams, and it is a fairly safe pick by the Bills. They may have wanted Kalil or even Keuchly, but you can do a LOT worse than Gilmore.
Looking ahead, Buffalo has the 10th pick in round two, and the 9th pick in round three. Some really good news is that the deep ocean of wide receiver has barely been scratched, and you can definitely except Buffalo to jump in sooner rather than later. Some Left Tackles fell out of the first round, and good value should still be there in the second.
Left Tackles to watch: Bobbie Massie, who has the long arms Chan Gailey desires, and Jonathan “Moose” Martin from Stanford, who is a tenacious run blocker and can anchor a line. I would definitely look into this sooner rather than later.
Wide outs to watch: oh boy a whole bunch. Ruben Randle from LSU, Alshon Jeffrey from Nebraska, and Brian Quick from Appalachian St are some of the big names we’re hearing.
All in all a successful night for Buffalo, and some very interesting picks still remain, as a lot of teams focused on areas that Buffalo was not going to address. I’m contented with our pick, and certainly looking forward to tomorrow!