Tyree Gillespie, SAF, Missouri
Gillespie is the final prospect on this list. The 6-foot, 207 pound safety originally from Florida played four years in Columbia, Missouri and had a productive year in a shortened season. The Missouri defensive back 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.
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The tricky thing about Gillespie’s evaluation is he projects as a free safety but his range is solid 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. His zero interceptions in college would validate that concern.
At this point in the draft he could still be a valuable prospect for the team. He reminds me of a worse version of Ander Cisco. Cisco went with the first pick in the third round; that can’t necessarily be a bad thing.
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 searching for a team after Day 2. Maybe the Cowboys will consider?
The organization has shown they are attempting to grab as many defensive players as they can in order to bolster a bad unit from a season ago, but the players they are grabbing aren’t what we are acclimated to as these players either have immense untapped potential or are just solid contributors. Hopefully, we will have greater clarity on how this team feels after Day 3 is finished.