Continuing to take closer looks at the players the Jets have added this off-season, AJ Sicignano dove into the film on a guy who many expect to be the new starting free safety this season in Marcus Gilchrist. Don’t miss his look at Buster Skrine and Erin Henderson…
Gilchrist was an intriguing player to watch. He was drafted as a cornerback in 2011, made the position switch to safety in 2012 and started every game each of the past two seasons in San Diego.
Gilchrist doesn’t jump out at you on film. He offers versatility in the fact that he lined up as the nickle corner for San Diego almost as often as he played safety. The Chargers defensive staff felt comfortable enough in his man cover skills to stick him on Wes Welker, Stedman Bailey, Danny Amendola and Tim Wright more than you would expect from a player whose primary position is free safety. He seems to have a good football mind and his play recognition skills are solid. Gilchrist doesn’t seem to initiate contact and drive through a tackle but you don’t see him miss very many tackles either.
You can also see why a lot of Chargers fans were relieved to see him go. He’s an average player. Plain and simple. He doesn’t have blazing speed, he isn’t very physical, he’s not a ball hawk, he doesn’t possess the hip fluidity you’d like to see in a corner and he doesn’t put fear in the receivers coming across the middle that you’d like out of a safety. There seem to be one too many holes in his game coupled with the fact that he doesn’t excel in a certain area to be overly excited for him.
The following plays aren’t very flashy. They’ll point out a few strengths and show a few weaknesses as well.
Lined up as the slot corner, Stedman Bailey stutter steps and blows past Gilchrist for an easy TD.
Gilchrist’s play recognition skills are on display here as you’ll see him lined up in the box across from the tight end. He drops back into coverage and jumps the pass for the game saving interception.
As noted earlier, Gilchrist isn’t one to put a pop on anyone but he doesn’t seem to miss many tackles. Here he wraps up and takes down the powerful LeGarrette Blount. This seems to be a facet that stands out as he can fill a running lane and take down a ball carrier in the open field as the last line of defense.
This is a play that still boggles my mind. Gilchrist is lined up as safety over the top, He seems to recognize the ball is going to be thrown to Brandon LaFell across the middle coming in his direction. You’d like to see him either make a play on the ball and knock it down at worst or put a clean hit on LaFell. What seems to happen is that he takes a poor angle, slows up and LaFell reels in the pass for twenty yards on a catch that should have never been made.
Gilchrist has plenty to offer the Jets, especially if used correctly within the defense. You’d hope that with the talent around him he is asked to do less than what he was in San Diego and come in and just fill a role. If he can do that then we should see a much more consistent player. The safety position group will be a competitive one to keep your eye on all throughout training camp and preseason.