Ball skills: Just one career interception, and this is while playing cornerback. Doesn’t show great ball skills. Is not a turnover machine and must work to break faster on the ball in the air. Could do better if in a zone cover situation from free safety.
Instincts: Can be late to recognize but makes up for it by hustling to the ball. Looks best in zone coverage where he can sit back, watch and react. Can be a step late at times getting to the outside. Will be beaten on comebacks if ran into his zone. Does not anticipate routes well. Is a versatile player who has the potential to play multiple positions in an NFL secondary, has experience at cornerback and both safety positions
Man coverage: Has the quick feet to excel in man coverage but can be over-powered and out-jumped to the ball. Is fluid in his drop steps and backpedal. Too often guesses wrong on what the receiver and quarterback are doing. Can be beaten badly at times. A little inconsistent. Will give up inside position too easily. Isn’t physical enough. Takes a lot of false steps.
Size: Is a little undersized at 5’9″ and 192lbs. May see a move to free safety, where he isn’t asked to match-up with 6’3″ receivers on every play.
Speed: Good overall speed (4.45s). Needs to show up better on film. Shows stiff hips at times, does not come out of breaks very quickly in man coverage.
Tackling: A highly productive college tackler, he leaves Clemson with 207 career tackles. Is strong enough to become a better tackler. Above-average run defender, is very tough for his size.
Zone coverage: Is better as a zone cover man than in man situations. Is at his best sitting back and reacting to the ball. Has experience at strong safety and did his best work there.
Final word: It would seem this scouting report is all negative, but that’s not the case. Gilchrist is a player who has spent the last year out of position. If evaluated as a strong or free safety we like him much better.
With so many teams hoping to re-load their secondaries this year Gilchrist will see a jump in his stock. He looks like an early 4th rounder to us, perhaps to Jacksonville.