New England Patriots: Stephon Gilmore ranked as Top-15 cornerback
By Nick Ziegler
Pro Football Focus recently ranked the Top 15 cornerbacks heading into next season. Where did Stephon Gilmore of the New England Patriots rank?
The New England Patriots made a very surprising signing in the 2017 offseason when they handed out a big contract to cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Historically, the Patriots generally don’t give out big contracts to free agents, but they made an exception with a player that wasn’t on their team.
Considering that the Patriots were coming off a Super Bowl win against the Atalanta Falcons, the signing of Gilmore really shocked a lot of people. Also, it was surprising that it was Gilmore who received the big bucks rather than Malcolm Butler, who was already on the team.
Despite a bit of a slow start, Gilmore ended up having a very strong season for the Patriots. While they weren’t able to repeat as Super Bowl Champions, Gilmore certainly was one of the top performers for them against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Recently, Pro Football Focus ranked the Top-15 cornerbacks in the NFL. Gilmore came in ranked a very respectable 12th on their list. Here’s what they had to say about him.
"When Gilmore signed with the Patriots last year, we viewed it as a perfect fit for his skillset. He proved us right with his first season for the Patriots, producing a career-high 89.4 PFF grade. Including the playoffs, Gilmore allowed just 610 yards on throws into his coverage and looks set to remain as the Patriots No. 1 cornerback for the next few years."
After benching Butler in the Super Bowl, it was clear that he wasn’t going to be returning to the team next season. For the foreseeable future, Gilmore is going to be the clear-cut No.1 cornerback for the Patriots.
As shown last season, Gilmore is certainly capable of being the lockdown No.1 guy for New England, and they will need him to be. After him, there are a lot of question marks at cornerback, and the Patriots defense will need Gilmore to be great.
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Gilmore is ranked next to some really good company on the list, as Richard Sherman came in ranked 11th, and Marcus Peters came in behind Gilmore at 13th. As one of the top paid cornerbacks in the NFL, the Patriots will need Gilmore to continue to play at a very high level as he has done so far.