STRENGTHS - The rare small school offensive lineman who looks like an NFL OL "on the hoof," Gilkey has the physical tools to make the huge jump up in competition. After playing at Chadron State, it was surprising how good his playing strength was during the week of practice at the Senior Bowl. He consistently got his hands on pass rusher quickly and was able to tie man up and keep him on the LOS, which was even more impressive considering he was playing guard after playing playing OT in college. Although he lacks OT athleticism, he moved well inside at guard. Able to bend knees and sink hips he pass blocked with base and could slide side to side to stay on block. His aggressiveness, size and strength made him a dominant run blocker at Chadron and he showed at the Senior Bowl that he has the physical talent to be a productive in-line run blocker in the NFL.
WEAKNESSES - An OT at Chadron, it was clear at the Senior Bowl that he lacks the foot quickness to protect the edge versus explosive NFL pass rusher. Then when you add in his shorter than ideal arms for an OT, there is no doubt in my mind that he will have to prove he can slide inside and handle playing guard in the NFL. While he was generally effective handling power moves in Mobile, his shorter arms and adjusting to blocking the much stronger DT's in the NFL could prove to be a challenge because occasionally in Mobile he was driven backwards when he was not aggressive with hands. He did not show the quickness and agility to adjust to blocking a moving target when he steps through to the second level during the week in Mobile, so he will need to improve his second level blocking to be effective playing guard in the NFL.
SUMMARY - A highly productive small school lineman, Gilkey has the size, strength, competes and athleticism to eventually carry over his production to the NFL as a guard. He is few from ready to contribute as a rookie, but within a few seasons I expect to see him challenging for a starting job. Overall, I would not draft Gilkey in the first three rounds, but come the fifth or sixth round he is worth a gamble. While he is nowhere near the athlete that Jared Veldheer is, Gilkey was a more consistent blocker at Chadron State than Veldheer was at Hillsdale.