Sep 30, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore (27) breaks up a pass to New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) as strong safety George Wilson (37) looks on during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Patriots beat the Bills 52-28. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Last year many of us can remember a lot of the bad things the defense did but what about the good? I know there wasn’t much but let’s not forget about Stephon Gilmore. He was taken 10th overall in the 2012 draft and I thought he had a pretty solid rookie year.
His first few games were a little shaky as the Bills started their year but that I believe can be expected from a rookie. Getting beat on some plays in week 1 was hard to watch against the Jets but if we knew how he would progress throughout the rest of the season I think many of us would have been ok with it. After the unstable start he then began to settle in and get more acclimated with NFL play. He continued on to play very well during the season and showed some glimpses of what a shutdown corner should look like in this league. Fans here in Buffalo would love to see him play like that for years to come.
Gilmore’s strength while on the field I believe is in man to man coverage. He has the ball skills to break up plays, has the speed to keep up with receivers and can read plays well. His only down fall that is really noticeable is his zone coverage. You can see he has problems adjusting to this but last season the whole Bills defense had problems. Mike Pettine will definitely help Gilmore with this and he will hopefully improve in this part of his game.
Stat wise Stephon didn’t really wow anyone but he was an all-around solid back. Some numbers on him were: 16gp, 61 combined tackles, 3 forced fumbles and one interception. Just looking at those numbers and not watching him you would be like he’s maybe not even an average corner but it’s not the case. He will greatly improve I think in all categories in this upcoming season.
So in looking back at Gilmore’s first season I think many people would say it went very well even with the vanilla defense that was run. He I believe will be noticed a lot more in the league and also will be considered a top shutdown corner by season’s end. People I talk to about the Bills a lot are always giving me shots about their gameplay, coaching and especially drafting over this playoff drought. That may be the case in some instances but looking at Gilmore I think the Bills got this one right. What’s your thought on Gilmore?