Scouting Report-If there was a player born to be a slot receiver in the NFL it was Gilyard. He's undersized, and a little on the frail side. But he's quick and agile and has excellent hands. his size won't allow him to line up and beat a jam on a top CB but in the slot, with a nickle back, safety or linebacker, Gilyard will have the advantage. He's got a knack for making tough catches on poorly thrown balls, showing nice leaping and exceptional body control. Gilyard is a firey player and plays with great confidence. You have to like that in a prospect. On the downside, he's not a no.1 or even a no.2 wide out in the NFL, because of his slight build. And there will always be criticisms of him based on the fact that he is coming out of a spread passing offense where he is able to accumulate stats. But all that aside, he runs nice tight routes in and out of breaks quickly and is deadly in the open field. He may not score huge on the stopwatch but I really don't care. He is at top speed in a hurry and you can just see him run away from players. Lots of moves in the open field and tough to bring down. He does a nice job accounting for his size by avoiding big hits. He's not much of a blocker and even in the receiving game not a real physical player but he will fight for the ball in the air.
Draft Status-Gilyard is the kind of player who's probably not going to be drafted real high, because of some physical shortcomings and the fact he didn't work out in shorts like many had hoped. But with so many teams working more and more out of 3 WR sets, a guy like Gilyard can be a real weapon. He won't see the double teams and he'll be able to take advantage of his matchups. I expect to see Gilyard off the board somewhere in the bottom third of the second round.
Final Analysis-Give me a player like Gilyard on my team anytime. He's a hardcore competitor, rallies his teammates, and while he has a unique skill set that won't fit every team, he's the kind of player most every team could benefit from having in some capacity. He's got amazing body control, catches everything with his hands, and as I said, it just lightning after the catch. Oh, and did I mention he's a dominant kick and punt returner as well? Yeah, Gilyard is sort of a Swiss Army knife when it comes to hsi skills and teams are going to avoid him because he's not 6-2 and 220lbs and they are going to miss out on a really great football player.
Reminds me of: Steven Breaston, Arizona Cardinals-Gilyard is a little smaller than Breaston, but both very similar types of players. Run the short and intermediate routes really well, work out of the slot, explosive after the catch, and great hands. Breaston has made Anquon Boldin expendable because he's worked hard to round out his game. No doubt Gilyard can have a similar kind of impact.
NOTE-I apologize for the language in the Youtube video is anyone is offended. This isn't my video and I had no choice in that music. But I thought it was an excellent look at Gilyard so please watch, and it you don't like the music, mute it and hum a tune.
Scouting Report written by Curt Popejoy