Share this article

print logo

Confident Gilmore earns Gailey's praise

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore looked the part of a first-round draft pick during the Buffalo Bills' three-day rookie minicamp.

The South Carolina product had three interceptions over the course of four practices, earning the praise of coach Chan Gailey.

"He is a big, long corner that can run and has a great feel for the game. He did a very good job during the weekend," Gailey said.

Despite Gilmore's soft-spoken nature, he's not lacking in one trait every professional cornerback must have.

"I always play with confidence," he said. "You can't be a corner unless you play with confidence. If I just keep learning, the sky is the limit."

The next step will be to see how he performs when the competition gets ratcheted up a notch against veteran receivers.

"He played well and did well in this camp. Now, when he goes against the other guys he's going to lose some. How does he handle getting beat? He didn't get beat a lot out here, so how does he handle that?" Gailey said. "He's going to go through some emotions so that maturity and that confidence will help him, I think. He's played in a tough league. He knows what it's about."

Gilmore, 21, is listed at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds by the Bills. He showed a willingness to get his hands on receivers during the team's first practice, although he admitted afterward that's not a technique he used much with the Gamecocks.

***

St. Joe's graduate Domonic Cook was in camp on a tryout basis. The former University at Buffalo cornerback was grateful to have a second chance with the Bills. Cook signed with the team as an undrafted free agent last year, but suffered a serious knee injury in the first week of training camp. He had surgery last August, and wasn't cleared to work out until February.

"When [the Bills] called, I almost teared up for a chance to come back," he said. "I'm just trying to get my knees back. My quickness was a big part of my game, so I'm trying to get my speed back up."

Cook was one of 21 players in camp on tryouts, along with Niagara-Wheatfield graduate and former UB basketball player Byron Mulkey.

While not naming a specific player, Gailey said he saw some good things from tryout group.

"We had a couple that impressed us well enough," the coach said. "We're going to go in and discuss exactly who we might need to bring onto the team."

There's not much room -- the team has 89 players on their roster, which has a 90-player limit.

***

Gailey on what he took away from the weekend: "We had great effort. We got to see some guys run around and try to retain what we had taught them for three days. It was very good work in my opinion."

Gailey's big focus was on seeing what the players could retain from day to day.

"Impressed with some and not impressed with others," he said. "You can watch them run, jump and change direction but you don't know their mental capacity. That's the one thing you don't know off film, so you're trying to get a good gauge of that."

***

Gailey reported no injuries "of note" during the camp. Toward the end of Sunday's session, receiver T.J. Graham and cornerback Ron Brooks practiced fielding punts from Shawn Powell. The next step in the offseason will be voluntary organized team activities. The first of 10 such workouts will be held May 29. The team's mandatory three-day minicamp takes place June 19-21.

email: jskurski@buffnews.com