Draft Scout Snapshot: A closer look at the Bills' picks: Round 1/10 - Stephon Gilmore, CB, 6-0, 193, South Carolina...With veteran corners Drayton Florence and Terrence McGee at that uncertain age, the Bills found a player who could step into their starting lineup at some point as a rookie. Gilmore has the speed (4.38) to cover deep and the aggressiveness to come up and help against the run, a complete player with few flaws. - The Sports Xchange
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Several NFL scouts were enamored with the mental and physical abilities of this athletic corner and looking for a reason to push him up draft boards.
He gave them reason at the Scouting Combine when he quantified his speed with an unofficial 40 time of 4.40 seconds and had the second best time among defensive backs in the 20-yard shuttle (3.94). He also measured a full 1/4 inch over six feet tall. Gilmore plays with an astute awareness that makes him a dangerous defender to test.
He is a vocal team leader who understands everybody's role on defense and is especially effective in zone coverage where he seems to triangulate well, tracking both the quarterback and receivers. Gilmore is aggressive both going to the ball and coming up on the run, although he could use a little more bulk to hold up in the NFL.
Gilmore started at cornerback all 40 games the last three years and in 2011 made 46 tackles and led the team with four interceptions, giving him eight for his career. He was selected first-team All-SEC and third-team AP All American in 2010.
Man Coverage: Plays mostly in press-bail or off-coverage. Flashes a tough, aggressive punch after the snap in rare press coverage occasions, but may not have the strength to knock NFL receivers off their routes. Not elite transitioning forward from backpedal, will take an extra step or loop a bit when closing on slants. Lacks elite recovery and straight-line speed to stay with faster wideouts down the field if beaten on a double move or losing a step off the line.
Zone Coverage: Fits best in a zone system like he currently plays. Knows his, and others', assignments on every play. Comes out initial read quickly to stop the underneath route dead. Quick feet in off coverage to adjust to inside routes, even when playing outside technique. Explodes to plays in front of him, cutting down his target or wrapping up if able to line up the receiver. Forces turnovers and dropped passes with his ability to arrive strong at the receiver with the ball.
Ball Skills: Makes quarterbacks pay for poor throws with centerfielder-like instincts and hands. Uses his height in full advantage on jump balls, make difficult catches with his hands extended away from his frame. Excellent elusiveness after the catch that shows as a punt returner. Has solid hands and typically makes the right decision to fair catch, but does not have breakaway speed and will dance or move east-west instead of heading straight upfield.
Run Support: Takes run support very seriously, seeking out contact. Chops down runs to his side when able, evades most receivers blocks with quickness and quick hands -- though NFL receivers will have regular success holding him up on the outside because of his slight build.
Tackling: Aggressive hitter in the secondary who plays without regard to his own safety. Best when coming downhill and cutting down ballcarriers with a low shoulder. Constantly looking to strip the football from ballcarriers while other defenders are making the tackle. Man-up tackling is a challenge for him, however, when facing a strong runner who lowers his pads or larger receivers with the length to stiff-arm him. Plays on coverage units. Brought on edge blitzes regularly when front four isn't getting there, uses quickness and big hits to create turnovers from the blind side.
Intangibles: Left after junior season with 40 career starts. Quiet, hard-working player who consistently gets praise from coaches and teammates for his work ethic and attitude. Puts in time in the film room, knows his opponents and defensive scheme inside and out. No worries about on-field effort, brings tenacious attitude on every play.
Gilmore has started all 40 games at cornerback for the Gamecocks over the past three seasons. He recorded 46 tackles during the 2011 campaign while leading the team with four interceptions, including one in the bowl win over Nebraska. He was a first-team All-SEC selection and a third-team AP All-American following the 2010 season when he logged 79 tackles and three picks. He finished his three-year career with eight interceptions, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.
Named third-team All-American by the Associated Press... selected first-team All-SEC by the league's coaches and by Phil Steele, and was a second-team All-SEC pick by the AP... named second-team All-Sophomore by CollegeFootballNews.com... named Midseason All-America Second Team and Midseason All-SEC First Team by Phil Steele... named preseason first-team All-SEC by both the league coaches and the media... preseason watch list candidate for the Thorpe and the Bednarik awards... named to the inaugural Paul Hornung Watch List, recognizing the nation's most versatile player... led the team with 79 tackles, including 6.0 for loss and 3.0 sacks... responsible for four opponent turnovers including three interceptions... took a pair of snaps at quarterback in the opener vs. Southern Miss... ran once for 14 yards and missed on his only pass attempt... recovered a Georgia fumble inside the Carolina 5-yard-line and returned it 13 yards to keep the Bulldogs out of the end zone... intercepted a pass and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown vs. Furman, his first career score... registered nine tackles including eight solo stops at Auburn with 1.0 tackle for loss... shared the team lead with nine tackles vs. Alabama, including a career-best 2.0 sacks... forced a fumble with a sack on the Arkansas goal line, which was recovered by Byron McKnight and returned for a touchdown... had an interception against Florida with a nine-yard return... led the team with seven tackles vs. Clemson... had his third interception of the season in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against Florida State... also completed his only pass of the year in that contest, a 29-yarder... began the season as the primary punt returner... had nine returns for 47 yards (5.2 avg) with a long return of 19 yards... was one of only six players to earn first-team All-SEC honors by either the Associated Press or coaches and also be named to the Fall Academic Honor Roll.
True freshman who earned Freshman All-America honors by Phil Steele, College-FootballNews.com and Scout.com... also named Freshman All-SEC by the league's coaches... started every game at cornerback... ranked fifth on the team with 56 tackles including 39 solo stops... had 6.0 tackles for loss including three sacks... had one interception and eight pass breakups... logged a season-high 10 tackles against Florida... also had eight stops against Florida Atlantic and seven at Arkansas... forced a pair of fumbles and has recovered two fumbles... averaged 10.1 yards on 15 punt returns... returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown at Tennessee, only to have it called back on a penalty that would not have affected the return... played quarterback in the "Wildcat" formation vs. Clemson... had 20 yards rushing on five carries and completed a 39-yard pass to Alshon Jeffery in leading the Gamecocks to a touchdown in his only series.
Graduated from South Pointe High School in Rock Hill, S.C. in December of 2008.. earned first-team all-state honors by The State as a senior playing for head coach Bobby Carroll... named to the prestigious PARADE All-America team and was a first-team All-American by EA Sports... named Mr. Football for the state of South Carolina... helped his team to a perfect 15-0 record and the South Carolina AAAA Division II title as a senior... rushed for 1,331 yards and 23 touchdowns and passed for 1,771 yards with 14 scores... rushed for 119 yards and three TDs and passed for 69 yards and another score in the state championship game win over Northwestern... played quarterback in the 72nd Shrine Bowl Game of the Carolinas... rushed for 71 yards and passed for 28 more to lead the Sandlappers to a come-from-behind victory over the Tar Heels, earning Offensive MVP honors... selected to participate in the Under Armour High School All-American Game in Orlando.
Surpassed the 1,000-yard mark both passing and rushing in 2007... a four-star prospect who was the second-best prospect in the state of South Carolina, the nation's sixth-best "athlete" and listed 84th overall by Rivals.com... considered a five-star prospect and the nation's third-best safety according to Scout.com... listed first among South Carolina players and 48th among SuperPrep's Elite 50... listed among PrepStar's Top 250... ranked 18th on the ESPNU 150... had offers from more than 30 programs while choosing to play his college ball at Carolina... played with 2009 Gamecock signees DeVonte Holloman and Charles Holmes at South Pointe.
Stephon Gilmore was born September 19, 1990... is undecided on his major field of study.
Draft Scout Player News
11/25/12 - CB Stephon Gilmore made six tackles, forced a fumble and broke up two passes, but he also was called for a critical pass interference in the final two minutes.
11/12/12 - CB Stephon Gilmore was in on six tackles but had no pass breakups and was penalized three times for 54 yards.
11/01/12 - CB Stephon Gilmore, the club's first-round pick, has 10 passes defended. That's second best among rookie defensive backs in the NFL.
09/20/12 - CB Stephon Gilmore, the club's first-round pick, has started both games and leads rookie defensive backs with 10 solo tackles. He has been solid in run support and last week against the Chiefs played much more aggressively in coverage.
05/17/12 - CB Stephon Gilmore signed a four-year contract likely worth approximately $12 million. Gilmore was the 10th overall pick in the 2012 draft. He's penciled in as a starter entering offseason workouts and held his own in rookie camp after being a three-year starter at South Carolina.
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