We’re continuing our countdown to the opening game of the Dallas Cowboys 2023 regular season. Each day we’ll present a new player whose jersey number represents the countdown to opening day. Today is number 21.
CB Stephon Gilmore
Born: 19th September 1990 (32) - Rock Hill, South Carolina
College: South Carolina Gamecocks
Draft: 2012, Round 1, Pick 10, Buffalo Bills
2022 Stats: (Indianapolis)
Defensive Stops: 12
Pass Breakup: 11
QB Rate Allowed: 82.6
Brandin Cooks vs Stephon Gilmore: pic.twitter.com/REXE83oOeJ— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) July 27, 2023
Stephon Gilmore enrolled at South Carolina in 2009 and appeared in all 12 games. He was named a starter as a freshman and had 56 tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks, and nine passes defended, which earned him Freshman All-American honors.
In 2010, Gilmore was selected first-team All-SEC and led the team in tackles. He ended the season with 79 tackles, six tackles for loss, three interceptions with one pick-six and also made three sacks.
In his junior year he played in 13 games for the Gamecocks. He made 46 tackles, three for a loss, four interceptions and one sack. Gilmore started all 27 games at cornerback since he stepped onto South Carolina’s campus and left being named All-American in his final year.
Cowboys took a two-minute hydration break during practice. Stephon Gilmore spent it mentoring CBs Trevon Diggs and Nahshon Wright. pic.twitter.com/UiCvRBNSvu— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 5, 2023
When it comes to big-name cornerbacks in the modern day era, there is possibly no bigger than Stephon Gilmore. Since 2016, Gilmore has won a Super Bowl, led the league in interceptions, won Defensive Player of the Year, been to five Pro Bowls and earned two All-Pro honors. Gilmore could have been a Cowboy from the start, he was the second cornerback taken in the 2012 NFL Draft, with the first being Morris Claiborne.
When you look at the defensive back depth for Dallas with Gilmore in the mix, it puts every player in their natural position, as apposed to forcing players to have to play in a way that doesn’t suit their game. At training camp you can see the younger corners taking advice and absorbing all they can from Gilmore. And his battles with Brandin Cooks have been fun.
Having the prospect of facing both Gilmore and Trevon Diggs together looks incredibly horrifying to a quarterback. The only concern for Gilmore is now his age. At age 32, he enters the realm of durability questions, not that he’s injury prone, but because of the position. As long as the coaches are smart, don’t push things too far or too fast, then Gilmore should have a productive season and help an already elite defense be even greater.
2023 Projected Stats:
Tackle for Loss: 1
Defensive Stops: 11
Pass Breakup: 14
The Big Question:
Will Stephon Gilmore lead the Cowboys in interceptions this year? Answer in the comments.