St. Louis Rams 2010 Draft Report: Mardy Gilyard

Anyone remember how Devaney said Marc Bulger played well but just didn't have enough talent around him? This pick goes toward solving that.

I like the guy's skillset a lot (see below) because he brings some very "workable" skills from a coaching perspective. It sounds simple, sounds basic, but you can do a lot with a guy who can catch and run....unfortunately the reality is a lot of guys are lacking one of those two things. Gilyard has both.

Current St. Louis Rams WR coach and former DB Nolan Cromwell gets the chance to teach Mardy how the beat a NFL DB, and he gets a playmaker (yes, I said playmaker!) who already has great hands and the ability to break off hard angles at speed, and knows what to do after he has the ball in his hands.

You will love his his hands right away. And one day, if (when) he learns how to setup Cornerbacks, you will love his electric touchdown RAC's. That's "Run After the Catch", ya rookie!

Reality sets in when you remember WR's are commonly in the league for 2 to 3 years before they start playing up to their potential. So please...act like you've been here before, and refrain from bagging on this guy if he doesn't look like Desean Jackson by the end of the year.

I would have liked TE's Dennis Pitta or Aaron Hernandez here (taken in consecutive picks a little later) but, like you, I am happy the Rams have a future playmaker to grow up with Bradford. Give those two a football to play catch with, stat!

Here's some other opinions of Mardy Gilyard's talent and skillset:

Scouts Inc take:

Grade 66
Positional Rank: 17
(1 = Exceptional, 2 = Above average, 3 = Average, 4 = Below average, 5 = Marginal)

Separation Skills: 2 Unpolished and could do a better job of setting up breaks but has the burst and change-of-direction skills to develop into a precise short-to-intermediate route-runner. Generally does a good job of working back to the quarterback when the protection starts to break down. Can get muscled out of routes by bigger corners.
Ball Skills: 3 Snatches balls thrown above his head out of the air and flashes soft hands, but traps too many balls against his frame. Appears to have some problems adjusting to passes thrown waist-level or lower. Doesn't appear to have great leaping ability and won't win many jump balls.
Vertical Speed: 3 Adequate-to-good and can make the occasional play downfield, but not elite. Quicker than fast and is not going to run by many NFL corners.
Run After Catch: 1 Greatest strength by far. Excellent wiggle and can make multiple defenders miss when he gets into space. Though he may lack breakaway speed he is explosive and still fast enough to turn an underneath catch into a long gain. Makes up for lack of power with balance and is tougher to tackle than his size suggests.
Competitiveness/Toughness: 3 Doesn't hesitate going over the middle. Fights for yards after contact. Takes adequate angles to assignments and fights to stay between the defender and the ball but is not much of a blocker. Doesn't get great hand placement and struggles to sustain.'s take: Grade 7.0

Gilyard is an excellent college receiver with top athleticism and above average acceleration and average speed and size for the next level. He has been extremely productive in a passing offense but will need work on making his routes more precise as well as on his release off the line. He is extremely dangerous once he has the ball in his hands and can be a threat to take it all the way with his running skills. He can short arm the ball when he hears footsteps and will need to work on his receiving skills when in traffic.

Strengths: Gilyard is a very athletic prospect who was extremely productive in college. Is a terror in the open field with the ball in his hands after catch. Has the quickness and burst to separate from defenders when running short to intermediate routes. Is a high-character guy on the field.
Weaknesses: Gilyard has adequate height but lacks the bulk you like to see in a starting receiver and isn’t a good blocker. Is quicker than fast and top end speed is only adequate – won’t blow by many pro DB’s. Hands are inconsistent. Makes too many body catches.


Sporting News take: Grade 7.9

Position rank: 5 (actually drafted: 14)

Gilyard was an electric playmaker in Cincinnati's exciting offense. He was a threat to go the distance whenever he had the ball in his hands as either a receiver or return man. He's the kind of spark the Rams need. Good value.

Gilyard was an electric playmaker in Cincinnati's exciting offense. He was a threat to go the distance whenever he had the ball in his hands as either a receiver or return man. He's the kind of spark the Rams need. Good value.

Hands 7.5 : Has outstanding hands, catching the ball effortlessly. Pluck the ball outside his frame, and can pick the ball off his shoelaces. Shows great concentration. Is quick to attack the ball in the air, rarely letting a pass get to his body. Tracks downfield passes well, catching balls at their highest point.

Patterns 7.5 : Reaches top speed quickly to put cornerbacks on their heels the entire game. Is a solid route-runner. Because of his good downfield speed, cornerback must open hips before he gets within five yards of him. Is explosive in and out of breaks, maintaining good balance. Shows good flexibility in hips and knees to drop his weight and separate out of breaks. Makes tough catches along sideline look easy.

Run after catch 7.0 : Has the speed to score on any touch. Is tough to tackle because of his quickness, speed, vision and shiftiness. Must get stronger, especially in lower body; gets tripped up by ankle tackles. Does not get caught from behind. Grade: 8.0 Release: Must improve upper-body strength to escape jams by long-armed cornerbacks. Shows the quickness and explosiveness to make cornerbacks pay if they miss the jam. At times, dances too much trying to get free instead of just sprinting off the line.

Blocking 6.5 : Must improve in this area. Is willing, but lacks size and strength to be too effective. Is scrappy and tough, and works to sustain blocks. Lacks technique and natural power.

Bottom line: Gilyard has the explosiveness, playing speed, elusiveness and open-field running ability to make game- changing plays as a receiver and returner. On film he showed excellent hands, plucked the ball and made tough catches. But at the Senior Bowl practices he struggled to catch the ball; he looked uncomfortable, fighting the ball often. This, despite stepping up and shining in the Senior Bowl game as he always did at Cincinnati. Gilyard has first-round talent, but his thin frame and struggles catching the ball at Senior Bowl practices have teams concerned. He likely will slide into the second round.

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