From now until the 2023 NFL Draft, we will scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top-10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents Today, I’ll be profiling Marshall CB Steven Gilmore.
#3 Steven Gilmore, CB, Marshall (Senior) –5092, 162lb
Hula Bowl invite
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Steven Gilmore||5’9 2/8”, 162lb||8 3/8”||30 6/8”||73”|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Possesses good play speed and explosiveness for the position
— Can turn and run with receivers down the seam and along the sideline
— Can climb the ladder to contest jump balls or attempt to make the play
— Does a good job playing the boundary and minimizing space
— Challenges receivers at the catch point and plays through a target’s hands
— Fairly fluid in his transition from a backpedal to run downfield
— Can make plays in space given his quickness and smaller frame
— Smart defender who reads the QB/WR well and will break on passes underneath
— Has a nose for the football as a ballhawk, picking off nine passes while deflecting 34 more in five seasons
— Does a good job transitioning from a backpedal to coming forward to challenge a pass or aid in run defense
— Has played in press/off man coverage as well as covering the flats/deep third in zone
— Willing run defender who will stick his nose in the fan and tackle
— Will blitz off the edge to put pressure on the QB
— Hasn’t missed a game since cracking the starting lineup back in 2018
— Surrendered an elite QB rating when targeted: 49.8 in 2022
— Severely undersized when it comes to ideal height, weight, and length
— Primarily played on the outside in college, will be likely kicked inside at the next level
— Thin frame makes it difficult to work off blocks coming downhill against the run/screen passes
— Doesn’t possess great play strength to effectively jam in press-man situations
— Can do a better job effectively getting ball carriers down to the ground
— Looks to deliver the big hit, leaving his feet, which can lead to missed attempts
— Can be baited on double moves as he looks to jump the route
— Will get a little grabby downfield when fighting for position with bigger receivers
— Can get high and upright at times, leading to slower transitions
— Senior (fifth year) prospect from Rock Hill, S.C.
— Born Sept. 17, 1999 (age 23)
— Younger brother of NFL CB Stephon Gilmore
— Rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, 247sports.com and ESPN.com
— Played defensive back and wide receiver at South Pointe High School
— Helped lead the Stallions to four consecutive state championships and an undefeated 15-0 season
— Also competed for South Pointe’s track and field team in the 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump and 4×100 meter relay
— Appeared in 13 games with one start as a true freshman in 2018 and made 17 tackles, one TFL and one pass deflection
— Played in all 13 games with four starts in 2019 and made 50 tackles, two TFLs, two interceptions, four PBUs, and forced a fumble
— Started all 10 games in 2020 and made 39 total tackles (25 solo), 1.5 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, an INT, 11 PBUs, and two forced fumbles
— Started all 13 games in 2021 and recorded 53 total tackles (32 solo) 2.5 TFLs, a sack, three INTs, and eight PBUs
— Started all 13 games in 2022 and recorded 41 total tackles (25 solo), 0.5 TFLs, three INTs, (one returned for a TD), and 10 PBUs
— All-Sun Belt Second Team (2022), First-Team All-Conference USA (2020)
Steven Gilmore may have the name to make him stand out in this draft class, but his work on the field speaks for itself as well. Steven is the younger brother of NFL CB Stephon Gilmore, who has carved out quite a career for himself, winning Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 while also being selected to five Pro Bowls and earning two first-team All-Pro nods. However, Steven Gilmore carved out quite the career on his own accord at Marshall, starting 41 games in five seasons with the Thundering Herd. He racked up nine INTs and 34 PBUs as one of the better CBs at the Group of Five level.
Steven Gilmore operated as a ballhawk at the college level. He does a good job breaking on underneath routes and playing the ball through the receiver’s hands. Watch this play against Notre Dame. Gilmore hand fights with the receiver at the start of the route, then steps in front of the pass and wrestles the ball away, taking off down the sideline for the house call.
Gilmore plays the ball in the air like a receiver, tracking it as he works to get in position to either contest the pass or make the INT. Watch Gilmore almost get the pick here on this sideline attempt against UConn in Marshall’s bowl game. Getting one foot down in-bounds as he reaches out for the ball, he isn’t quite able to complete the process of the catch.
Gilmore has a track background and possesses the long speed to turn and run with receivers down the field. He does a good job battling for position and uses the sideline to his advantage. In this clip against the Fighting Irish, he stays step-for-step with the intended target who leaps up to make the catch and uses the boundary to push to receiver out of bounds, resulting in no catch.
While Gilmore is a small defensive back, he has shown to be a willing run defender who will come downhill and attack runners and receivers as a tackler. Gilmore makes the tackle on the screen pass in the first clip and on the outside run in the second clip. He aggressively wraps up the ball in the first clip as he wrestles the receiver out of bounds. He chops down the runner in the second clip with the diving tackle.
Gilmore is severely undersized for the position, coming in just over 5’9, 162lb. He struggles to consistently get ball carriers to the ground due to lack of size and can have a tough time consistently jamming receivers at the LOS. He will struggle to fight off blocks on the outside, like in the clip below. Lacking the length to keep blockers off his frame, Gilmore must backtrack to get off the block and get in on the tackle.
Gilmore has shown the ability to play against bigger, stronger receivers in coverage, but he does tend to get a little grabby when working to get position. Watch this clip of Gilmore grabbing the backside of the receiver on the deep ball, wrapping his arm around his waist as he contests the pass. Gilmore gets away with it here but likely won’t have the same luck in the pros.
Steven Gilmore is an outlier when it comes to size and success in the league due to his thin frame. He does have the experience and production that should make teams consider him later on Day Three of the draft. He never missed a game after cracking the starting lineup in 2019, showing durability despite a thin frame. He has the traits you look for in a ballhawk and is a willing tackler. But the lack of size will limit his effectiveness in this area. He also needs to be more disciplined with his eyes so as not to get baited by QBs in attempts to make plays on the ball.
When watching Gilmore, Jimmy Moreland came to mind as a realistic comp. Moreland is also an undersized CB (5’9 3/4”, 179lb) who got drafted in the seventh round. The James Madison product possesses good play speed (4.46 40) and had the college ball production, picking off 18 passes during his JMU career, returning five of them for touchdowns. Moreland has played in 37 games since 2019, making 10 starts in his first two seasons with Washington in sub packages for the Commanders.
Gilmore primarily played on the boundary in college but will likely have to kick inside at the next level and carve out a role similar to what Moreland did. The Steelers could use a coverage nickel corner with Arthur Maulet being more of an asset on run downs. However, Gilmore’s size and questions about his ability to consistently contribute as a run defender in Pittsburgh’s scheme could ding his chances of being a late-round pick by the team.
Projection: Late Day 3
Depot Draft Grade: 6.4 – End of Roster/ Practice Squad (6th Round)
Games Watched: at Notre Dame (2022), at Bowling Green (2022), vs UCONN (2022)