The first half of the top 20 talents on the Buffalo Bills is over and done with, paving way for those atop the hierarchy to be unveiled. To start off the week, the featured player at number 10 was on the cusp last year of being much, much higher on this list.
Fitting in well to the parameters of both raw skill level and projection of play over time, the next entrant to the countdown was only missing the on the field success which results in him coming in on the bottom half of the top 10. Through training camp last year he was one of the best players on the field every day, but lost all that momentum with an injury during the preseason.
CB Stephon Gilmore
Age: 23 (9/19/90) Height: 6’1” Weight: 190
Why he’s here:
- Brought in by the Bills as their first-round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, Gilmore was thought to be the exact mold of the new NFL cornerback. He’s big, he’s physical and he can turn and run which fits the league’s obsession with finding bigger cornerbacks now that wide receivers are just getting bigger and bigger themselves. Gilmore’s first season in the league got off to an average start, resulting in some bad beats but also promising plays. Then in his second season, Gilmore was borderline dominant at training camp before suffering a wrist injury that cost him the first five games of the campaign. Even when he came back he struggled to get acclimated, essentially playing one-handed with a big club on his arm to support the wrist. Gilmore started to find his footing late in the season and can only hope to build off of it after a wash of a year.
- The 2013 season wasn’t a step back but a lateral one. With a relatively healthy offseason and a clear pass to hit the ground running at training camp this year, Gilmore has the opportunity once more to develop into the top cornerback the Bills believe he can be. Already boasting the necessary physical nature and hip fluidity needed in cornerbacks, Gilmore has a straight-line personality as well. He never gets too hyped up and he certainly never gets down on himself, leading to a level-headed approach to the game which is a huge advantage for playing such a volatile position. In a defense that will allow its cornerbacks to shine, everything is there for Gilmore to make the jump. It’s just a matter of staying healthy and capitalizing on the positive play from training camp of 2013.