2019 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Ulysees Gilbert III
School: The University of Akron
Weight: 227 pounds
Draft Projection: Day 3
In this draft, you may not find a linebacker that plays faster. From the snap, Gilbert bursts downhill, barreling right at the ball. In return, this allows him to blow up screens by arriving at the ball before the blocks get set up. When the linemen start to locate defenders, he is already there, causing confusion, forcing a delay out of the backfield. When he drops ball, Gilbert can trail or beat the receiver to the ball. At the next level, he could also play box safety.
In Akron’s defense, the Zips tasked Gilbert with flowing with everyone from tight ends to backs. While he does attack the line, his athleticism allows for the easy transition from pursuit to coverage. In the NFL, Gilbert will need to close a bit of the gap in coverage.
Gilbert’s quicks afforded him the luxuries in block shedding. When a plodding linemen attempt to lock on he will get skinny, and slide away from the point of contact. Equally important, these traits help in sideline-to-sideline pursuit.
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When Gilbert arrives in the NFL, Gilbert needs to spend his waking hours in the weight room. Although he plays a physical brand of football, you would like to see a little more power in his approach. When encountering lineman, Gilbert needs to add strength to bolster his ability to shed. Granted, no one expects him to stand up or throw away guards, but the ability to exert a bit of force.
For a player that always flies to the ball, Gilbert flashes quick hands and sound wrapping. In contrast, repeating this skill must happen. Occasionally, his hands would ride high on the target. Luckily, this can be effectively drilled out of him.
If you think of Paul Guenther and his scheme, Gilbert fits the Raiders. Now, it may not necessarily be like you think. If he puts a few pounds without sacrificing explosion, Gilbert can man all three linebacker spot, whether as depth or an eventual starter. On the other, if he stays at the exact size, the Raiders could shift him into a box safety/subpackage role. For years, Guenther enjoyed George Iloka as a bigger safety within the construct of his defense. Gilbert’s speed and playmaking could see the field in that position. The Raiders need explosive playmakers. In Gilbert, Paul Guenther gets a versatile defender on Day 3.