The Buffalo Bills bolstered their pass defense Thursday night by taking South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore with the 10th overall pick in the NFL Draft.
Gilmore is a big corner with speed. He’s 6-foot and 190 pounds, and he ran a 4.40-second time in the 40-yard dash.
Gilmore is considered a “clean" pick. He has an extensive track record of production on the field, with 40 college starts. He has been an honor-roll student at South Carolina.
Bills starters Terrence McGee and Drayton Florence are getting older. For the long term, the Bills could put Gilmore next to Aaron Williams, last year’s 34th overall pick, and they would have two physical corners to match up with the new wave of big wideouts in the NFL.
The Bills liked Southern California left tackle Matt Kalil but trading up for him didn’t turn out to be an option. Minnesota, holding the fourth pick, opted to not trade down and picked Kalil.
The Bills ranked 26th in the NFL on defense last year. They took a big step toward improving that figure by signing pass rushers Mario Williams and Mark Anderson in free agency.
Gilmore gets high marks for his work ethic and intangibles, as well as his consistency on the field.
“I think he’s a physical player," Bills national scout Darrell Moody said. “He’s got excellent size, and he has a good body of work. He’s been a three-year starter. I think he has played well against the run and played well against the pass, bump and Cover 2 and off-man and off-zone. I think he’s a complete player."
(Photo: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Bills first-round pick Stephon Gilmore pose for photos in Radio City Music Hall.)