Once again the Steelers dip their toe into the pool that is the MAC conference. That make three in this draft with 3rd round pick, Diontae Johnson, 6th round pick Sutton Smith and now 6th round pick Akron linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III.
If been following along here this is player that many of the Steelers Depot staff liked Gilbert and thought he would fit in with the Steelers. Nick Farabaugh had the Steelers selecting him with pick 192 and Josh Carney had him to Pittsburgh at pick 207.
He had 38 starts and played in every one of his 51 games in college and was a two time All–MAC selection. He had two season with over 120 tackles finishing with 357 total tackles, 28.5 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks. Like Sutton he has a knack for making big plays with 3 interceptions, fumble recoveries and forced fumble and had 4 defensive touchdowns.
Speed is has been a focus with the linebackers the Steelers have added and Gilbert is no different. He ran a 4.51 40 at this pro day and had good explosive numbers with 39.5 inch vertical which would have tied for second at the Combine trailing only Devin Bush.
Lance Zierlein from NFL.com had him projected as a 5-6 round player and stated, “Productive SAM linebacker who will need to prove himself as an undersized WILL or MIKE on the next level. Gilbert is an instinctive run defender with a natural feel for maneuvering around big bodies to find his food, but despite his three-down ability, has a disappointing number of lapses in coverage. His lack of size, strength and versatility could make landing on a roster an uphill battle.”
Farabaugh listed him in his Top 300 at number 167, “Gilbert can absolutely fly around the field. His 4.51 speed is not hard to see on film since he is around plays even when he processes wrong. The issue is he processes wrong so often that he is often out of position and can blow assignments even in coverage. Still, that athletic upside is hard to pass up on anyone.”
Alex Kozora did the profile on him for Steelers Depot and had him as an early to mid-day three selection and said, “Obviously, there’s extra value in having athletic, coverage-friendly off ball linebackers. And Gilbert can do that. But in Pittsburgh at least, they’re looking for someone who can function on all three downs. That’s why L.J. Fort sat on the sidelines for so long. So I’m not sure Gilbert is in the card for the Steelers (now that I say it, it’s guaranteed they’ll draft him), and he does look like a sub-only type of prospect.”
Gilbert is another athlete who can come in and compete and if he makes the roster should be an immediate contributor on special teams. If he doesn’t make the roster they might be able to tuck him away on the practice squad.
Overall: Based on the notes above this is a solid value pick. The 6th round was right in the range he was expected to get drafted and getting him at the bottom adds a little value. He’ll earn his keep on special teams while taking some time to work on his processing and coverage skills.