This is our Stephon Gilmore Scouting report, the talented CB that plays for South Carolina. For all of our other scouting reports go to our scouting report page
6’1″ 190, 4.40 40 yard dash, 31″ arms, 9 1/4″ hands, 15 reps on bench press
+ Size- 6’1 195lb cornerback
+ Versatility- can rush the quarterback, equally effective in zone and man
+ Strength- can jam receivers effectively in press; good tackler
+ Instincts/Intelligence- understands offenses, great on field awareness, has a nose for the football
+ Character- plays hard, SEC all-academic
+ Returns punts
- Average speed (anything average is a negative for a first round prospect)
- Average fluidity
- Below average ball skills
- Didn’t actually return punts effectively
I love South Carolina junior cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The value he has on the Gamecock’s defense is immense. I don’t know where they would be without him.
Gilmore has good physical tools. He has tremendous height for a corner (6’1), solid bulk, and decent speed for his size. He also has good strength. However, he isn’t the most fluid athlete changing directions, and he takes a while to reach top speed, which can occasionally hurt him on the deep ball when he is trying to recover.
Gilmore is excellent in man coverage. He displays ideal route recognition skills, and he uses his strength and physicality to dominate in press man coverage. He also uses his hands well to prevent separation and reroute receivers in press coverage. SEC quarterbacks rarely look his way in man coverage.
Gilmore is a natural in zone coverage. He is one of the most instinctive corners I’ve ever seen. He is a natural at reading the quarterback’s eyes, he has a sixth sense of knowing what receivers if any are running through his zone even if he is staring at the quarterback (probably just great peripheral vision), and he is always in position to make a play on the receiver. He is also disciplined in coverage.
Gilmore has great instincts and knowledge of the game. He isn’t fooled by play actions or trick plays, he has ideal discipline in coverage allowing him to be there to make a play, and he has a nose for the football. He has a great knowledge of the game that allows him to read offenses and send signals to other defenders, and his on field awareness & intelligence is fantastic. A great example of this can be seen early in the 2010 game against Georgia. Gilmore intentionally did a stutter step with his feet before the play without going in to the neutral zone and successfully tricked a receiver into doing a false start. He also makes sure to disguise his role in the defense’s coverage scheme, often moving farther off the receiver or getting into position for press man after the quarterback has done his pre-snap reads and is about to snap the ball.
Something that I also saw with Gilmore is underrated versatility. To start, he is probably the best blitzing cornerback I have ever seen. He disguises his blitz brilliantly, he does a good job of using his hands and quickness to shed off blocks, and he hits the quarterback quickly enough so that the quarterback doesn’t have time to get rid of the football if/when Gilmore sheds his block. He also shows run stopping ability, and he always does a good job when playing a deep zone (mainly in cover 3), which makes me think that if he doesn’t do a great job at corner in the NFL (which I doubt will happen), he could have an effective career at safety. He also is South Carolina’s punt returner, which shows he has some explosiveness and power with the ball in his hands (Admittedly, he isn’t a great punt returner). Also, in the Florida State game, South Carolina used him as a wildcat quarterback for a few plays in the 4th quarter, and he was brilliant. He played quarterback in high school, and threw a perfectly accurate 29 yard pass to Alshon Jeffrey in the drive, and he did a good job of running the football. Don’t be surprised to see Gilmore play in Wildcat formations every once in a while in the NFL.
Gilmore’s biggest issue is a lack of ball skills. He doesn’t accelerate quickly enough to jump routes, and he has short arms that can make it difficult to deflect passes. However, he rarely drops potential interceptions.
In the end, I think of Gilmore as a future NFL pro bowl corner. As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, I love corners with size (for those who don’t want to read the whole thing, I’ll summarize it; big corners with strength can jam the release of wide receivers to the point that safeties have the freedom to line up closer to the line of scrimmage and still cover a deep zone, because the receivers took a longer time to get into their route). Gilmore’s size and strength entices me. His production in coverage is phenomenal. And he will be a great player in the NFL.
NFL Comparison: Charles Woodson. It’s funny that the first 3 players I wrote scouting reports on for the 2012 draft were all compared to Packers (Andrew Luck to Aaron Rodgers for underrated mobility, Joe Adams to Greg Jennings for their ability to create yards after the catch). Gilmore bears much resemblance to Woodson; excellent size, average speed, returned punts in college, great strength, and outstanding ability to stop the run. Woodson has more of a knack for interceptions, but what is probably the biggest evidence of resemblance is their pass rushing ability. They are 2 of the best blitzing corners ever to play the game. And they are both great players
Grade: 98 (deserves to be a top 6 pick)
Projection: 96 (likely to be drafted around pick 12)
2010 Review (TMBdraft)