Stephon Gilmore: What to Expect from Buffalo Bills 2012 1st-Round Draft Pick

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Stephon Gilmore: What to Expect from Buffalo Bills 2012 1st-Round Draft Pick
Al Bello/Getty Images
All smiles on draft day, but will Stephon Gilmore be all smiles when he gets the field? Recent history indicates so.

If the recent history of cornerbacks taken in the top 15 is any indication, the future is bright for the Buffalo Bills' first-round draft pick Stephon Gilmore, taken 10th overall in the 2012 NFL draft.

The Bills took the South Carolina cornerback as one of the final pieces in their completely revamped defense. Their secondary was a primary target for quarterbacks last season, so the Bills made it their primary target in the draft. 

But how have other teams fared when targeting a cornerback high in the draft?

Here's a look at cornerbacks taken with the Nos. 1-15 overall pick from the years 2003-2011. 

Stats courtesy Pro Football Reference.
Observing a trend, the expectation from Gilmore will be that he plays in all 16 games (only three of the 11 listed above missed time) and will likely start most of them (five of the 11 started all 16 games, and three more started at least half of the games).

It hasn't all been flowery for the draft's top-rated cornerbacks; two of them have disappointed in epic fashion.

Although Pacman Jones is in the midst of attempting to rejuvenate his career, he's had more run-ins with the law than Ryan Leaf, and his play suffered from a serious case of field rust. Tye Hill, meanwhile, is collecting dust on the proverbial free-agent shelf.

Many of the aforementioned cornerbacks have struggled a bit in their rookie season, while still averaging 61 tackles, three interceptions and just shy of 13 pass deflections.

That creates a realistic baseline of expectations for his rookie season, but looking forward, the signs of long-term promise far outweigh the warning signs.

Over half of the cornerbacks (six out of 11) taken in the top 15 since 2003 have been voted to the Pro Bowl (although Peterson made it as a return specialist), and almost all of the ones who didn't bottom out are currently starters for their team.

The most promising thing for Gilmore, though, is that he's surrounded by talent.

With a dominant front four and solid security blankets in safeties George Wilson and Jairus Byrd behind him, Gilmore could have a productive 2012 season and an even more productive career.

What's not so promising for him, however, is that he was drafted by the Bills.

Stats courtesy Pro Football Reference.
Their track record for drafting cornerbacks is pretty spotty and includes Leodis McKelvin, the 11th overall pick in 2008. Aaron Williams showed promise in his rookie season, and while Terrence McGee is on the hot seat, he has found a way to keep his job up to this point. 

It's worth noting, though, that the Bills have only invested higher than a fourth-round pick on a cornerback three times since 2003.

Gilmore is the fourth, and he looks to break the trend of the Bills secondary while carrying on the rich tradition of the draft's top-rated cornerbacks.

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