To be honest, i have not given a whole lot of thought to the New York Giants using their first pick in the April 2012 NFL Draft on a cornerback. In his most recent mock draft, however, Wes Bunting of the National Football Post has the Giants selecting cornerback Stephon Gilmore of South Carolina with the 32nd overall selection.
If GM Jerry Reese selects best player available regardless of position at 32 Gilmore could definitely be in play. Bunting has him ranked as the fourth-best cornerback in the 2012 draft class, and the 30th overall prospect. Before we talk more about Gilmore, though, let's talk about the idea of using an early pick on a cornerback.
Would that be a wise move for the Giants? To be honest, I would have no complaint if the Giants moved to fortify this position early in the draft. Yes, they used a first-round selection on Prince Amukamara a season ago. They did, however, just lose Aaron Ross to free agency and Terrell Thomas is coming back after missing a full season with his second major knee surgery. The Giants, in fact, have a plethora of corners trying to return after finishing 2011 on Injured Reserve.
My feeling is always that you can never have enough quality cover guys in today's NFL. So, sure, if Gilmore is available and the Giants think he is the right guy I could go along with that. Let's look at some of the scouting reports to see what analysts think of Gilmore.
A tall, solidly built corner with a physical nature to his game. Plays in mostly pres-bail/off-coverage at South Carolina and is at his best when he's near the line of scrimmage ... Is a "plus" sized corner with good quickness and fluidity. Needs to clean up his footwork in off/zone concepts, but has skill set to play near the line, check receivers and turn and run. Should be able to fight for a starting role during his rookie year in more of a zone scheme.
Gilmore is a dynamic athlete who made a lot of plays at corner for South Carolina. He has the skill set to move to safety but is talented enough to challenge for a starting role at the corner position as a rookie. He is a football player who makes big plays and was among the SEC's finest athletes.
Walter Football (Pre-scouting combine):
Gilmore has an ideal skill set with his size and speed. He will be better off in a zone-based system that gives him some help. He may not have the agility to be a bump-and-run corner in a man-based scheme.
There are definitely tools for an NFL coaching staff to work with. Gilmore has a lot of upside, and if he lands with the correct team with the right coaching he could be a special player. Because of his inconsistency, he looks like an early second-round pick, but he could sneak into the end of the first round.
Draft Preview: Stephon Gilmore (via FoxSports)
Stephon Gilmore Profile
School: South Carolina
40 time: 4.40
2011 Stats: 46 tackles, 7 passes defensed, 4 interceptions