Tyree Gillespie, Missouri
Gillespie is the first safety from the SEC in this article, but as you wil see very quickly, he won’t be our last. The 6-foot, 207 pound safety originally from Florida played four years in Columbia, Missouri and had a productive year in a shortened season. For his career, Gillespie recorded 146 total tackles, 100 solo, six tackles for loss, two sacks, and 12 pass deflections.
The Missouri tested very well at his pro day posting a 4.4-second 40-yard dash, 35.5-inch vertical jump, and a 7.06-second 3-cone drill. For the most part, the good athletic ability showed up on tape.
Gillespie showed good acceleration and change of direction to cover ground in the alley to constrict running lanes for ball carriers when lined up in split safety and single-high safety looks. He possesses good aggression, solid physical toughness, and solid play strength to leverage the alley and take on blocks. There will be times he tries to run around defenders to make plays but he does have the closing speed to consistently make contact with the ball carrier.
In coverage, Gillespie displays solid range at best. His instincts can let him down as he isn’t always consistent keying the QBs eyes often allowing the receivers near him to dictate where he overlaps instead. He displays good transition quickness because of his good acceleration and foot speed, but his marginal ball skills prevent him from defending passes consistently. Notice how I didn’t say he recorded an interception in his four year?
Gillespie likely projects as a free safety at the next level, but he has a lot of work to do in order to be a solid contributor for any defense. He displays good tackling technique but his pursuit angles aren’t consistent. He displays instincts in range, but has a short fuse and will allow routes to open behind him. He has good transition quickness when tracking the ball, but little ball skills to capitalize on sailing passes.
Consistent inconsistency leaves Gillespie being the best safety when the Cowboys pick in the fourth round.