Bills take CB Gilmore with 10th pick in NFL draft
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — If defensive end Mario Williams and Buffalo's new-look pass-rush can't play havoc with opposing quarterbacks, the Bills added insurance in their defensive secondary.
In an indication of how serious the Bills are in rebuilding their defense to confront the NFL's growing trend of pass-happy attacks, the team selected South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore with the 10th pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night.
"First of all, I don't think you could ever have enough good corners in the NFL, and more so today than I believe 10 to 15 years ago," coach Chan Gailey said, noting how it's not unusual now for offenses to use five-receiver formations. "We've made a conscious effort to upgrade our defense in the offseason ... and it's going to pay dividends, I believe, in the long run for us."
Listed at 6-feet and 193 pounds, Gilmore was a three-year starter and left college after his junior season. He's got considerable speed after being timed at running the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds. And he's regarded as an explosive hitter.
In 40 games — all starts — with the Gamecocks, Gilmore finished with eight interceptions, including four last season, seven sacks and 15 tackles for a loss.
Gilmore was the second cornerback selected in the draft, after Dallas traded up to the sixth spot in order to take LSU's Morris Claiborne. Though ranked second among cornerback prospects on most draft lists, Gilmore was rated by The NFL Draft Report as "the most complete cornerback."
The NFL's scouting report notes Gilmore has good hands, great field vision, outstanding leaping ability and perfect timing. His instincts to play the position are likely the result of Gilmore having played quarterback in high school before making the switch to cornerback upon arriving at South Carolina.
In Buffalo, he's expected to immediately compete for a starting job in what's becoming an aging defensive backfield. Drayton Florence, a nine-year NFL veteran, is in the final year of his contract. Terrence McGee, also a nine-year veteran, has been injury prone.
Aaron Williams, a second-round draft pick next year, has a chance to also compete for a starting job this season.
Gilmore's selection comes after a busy offseason in which Buffalo made one of the biggest splashes in free agency by signing Williams to a six-year, $100 million contract. The Bills then continued improving their pass rush by signing Mark Anderson in free agency.
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