The Gamecocks had a good showing in today's NFL Draft. Stephon Gilmore completed his late rise in stature when he was taken 10th by the Buffalo Bills. Melvin Ingram was then taken 18th by the San Diego Chargers.
As I've said before, I'm not sure that I can see Gilmore being taken this early in a normal year. The results on the field simply don't say "top 10 pick." However, there was only one truly elite corner in this year's draft, and I'll buy that Gilmore, who is physically the total package, has enough potential for a CB-hungry team like the Bills to take a chance on him. I know a lot of people, including many Bills fans, probably thought Buffalo should have taken Dre Kirkpatrick. Really, though, Gilmore is more physically imposing, and anyone who thinks Kirkpatrick is more of a "shut-down corner" than Gilmore should go back and watch some more tape, including that of our 2010 game against the Tide, and also remember that Kirkpatrick was playing alongside a better, more experienced group of safeties than Gilmore ever played with. Honestly, I think Florida's Janoris Jenkins is better than Kirkpatrick, too, but talent isn't what kept Jenkins out of the first round.
As for Ingram, he fell a little bit. Some of the teams in the early picks who were purported to be in the market for a DE passed on him, and then UNC's Quinton Coples was taken ahead of him at 16. That said, 18 is nothing to scoff at, and if Gilmore talks any trash, Ingram can just say that he gets to play for a good team in San Diego, while Gilmore gets to play for a crappy team in Buffalo. And he'd have a point.
Lastly, I'll have to admit that I'm very disappointed that Jeffery wasn't taken. I was really hoping that some team would take him and that we'd get to see him celebrating from his home. And really, does San Francisco think Illinois's A.J. Jenkins is better? I just don't get it. It appears that NFL scouts have bought into the idea that Jeffery is to blame for his lack of production in 2011, and I just don't think that was the case. As Connor Tapp wrote a few days ago, it just doesn't make sense that a guy thought to be a possible top five pick ended up not getting taken in the first round when there are such easy explanations for his lack of production. I really feel for the guy, actually. He earned a first round selection with his hard work and play on the field, only to see it taken away by the whirlpool that was our offense this past year. At any rate, he'll be taken tomorrow, and he'll prove a lot of people wrong eventually.