Secondary Prospects for the Dallas Cowboys: Stephon Gilmore

From scrubs to starters, Stephon Gilmore starts the chain of players who could compete for Scandrick’s job.

Scouting Report:Pros: Good speed,Ideal height,Reliable hands,Athletic, Good tackler Playmaker, Quality run defender, Has some ball skills, Durable ,Experienced starter Cons: Inconsistency, Gambles, Lacks elite speed. (Walterfootball)

November 26, 2011; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks cornerback Stephon Gilmore (5) pressures Clemson Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd (10) in the first half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE

Elite length for the cornerback position; Gilmore thrives when in a press position, whether or not he actually jams the receiver.  He has excellent lateral quickness, particularly for his size, mirroring receivers with ease. Gilmore also displays poor awareness when he’s in an off position, especially in zone.  He doesn’t seem to have a natural feel of zone responsibilities, frequently drifting or jumping routes he shouldn’t. Gilmore should be a really good cornerback in the N.F.L., as long as he goes to the right team. (Jonathan Bales)

Excels at blitzing the quarterback, Uses the strength he has, usually gets a good jam in when asked to, Smart on and off the field, Doesn’t always show his 4.4 speed on tape, Shows a sloppy backpedal at times (NE Patriots Draft)

 

Stephon Gilmore has more potential to be a legitimate player (and a Cowboy) than anyone reviewed previously in this long running (and lowly read) series. He is 6-0, an inch taller that Morris Claiborne and 2 inches shorter than Dre Kirkpartrick, though his arms are half an inch longer and he jumps an inch higher, so in jump-ball situations both of them should be able to go against taller receivers.

He clocked one of the fastest times (4.40) at the combine but as noted in the scouting reports, rarely shows it (like Josh Robinson.) The most troubling thing has to be the complete lack of instincts in off coverage. Jonathan Bales pointed it out, and it’s incredibly obvious-if he’s not in press, it’s probably a catch, a defect that might kill him in Dallas.

Rob Ryan has an odd (and ineffective) obsession with 9 man all out blitzes with no safety help and cornerbacks playing 10 yards off the receiver, the exact scenario’s that would kill Gilmore in Ryan’s eyes, and perhaps as crucially, the public’s.

He’s a solid tackler, but prefers the Terrence Newman/Anderson Varejao style of tackling (crumple on the ground and hope the ball carrier trips on your arm tackle. Everyone remembers the second Giants game, where Newman “mastered” this technique to perfection.)

Most importantly for the Cowboys, however, is that he is good on and off the field, and unlike some of the other cornerbacks in the class seems to have his head screwed on straight. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, his stock is in the low first round/early second round area, somewhere between the Lions in the first round and the Panthers in the second. Walterfootball compared him to Chris Gamble, and that seems like a pretty apt comparison.

As written earlier, a first round pick and Chris Gamble like production is actually a great find, but then again great finds seem the be the hallmark of the Ciskowski regime in general.

Which free agent player do you think should be Dallas' top target?

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Topics: 2012 NFL Draft, Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys, NFL, NFL Draft, Orlando Scandrick, Secondary, Stephon Gilmore

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