The Rams led off the third day of the NFL Draft with the first pick of the fourth round, and apparently the Rams war room was able to kick back with some mimosas, with little worry or debate over who they were going to take when the clock started.
Devaney says Gilyard was clearly highest rated guy on the board. Team knew last night he was going to be the guy.
The reception from fans? A collective hallelujah — finally, the Rams had drafted a playmaker.
#Rams draft another little, fast receiver in the same mold of Donnie Avery. Love his quickness and versatility, but not good fit for Rams.
While Gilyard doesn’t have the size I was hoping for at WR — like Arrelious Benn, who went mid-2nd after the Rams added Saffold, or Brandon LaFell and Damien Williams, who went back-to-back in the 3rd after the Rams looked at Jerome Murphy — his outstanding reach and vertical leap, and tenacity when fighting for the ball, should allow him to play bigger than he appears.
With his physical play and his razor-sharp cuts, I think he actually compares to another receiver on the Rams’ roster, more than Avery: Brandon Gibson. While Gilyard has a better pedigree than Gibson, Gibson has the advantage of spending (most of) a year in the system. These two could push each other quite a bit in practice, bringing the best out of each other and creating a new competitive spirit among the Rams’ receiver corps.
Gilyard also brings tremendous character to the Rams. While many playmakers available in the draft’s third day come with quote-unquote character concerns, Gilyard brings a forthrightness, maturity and self-knowledge that only comes through living through tough times with eyes wide open.
Gilyard is very honest about once losing his scholarship because of academics. He admits at the time he was “a real knuckle-head kid. Arrogant. Cocky. Immature.”
The result was about a six-month period when Gilyard was homeless. He lived out of his car — a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am — while working four jobs and trying to get back in school and on his feet.
Gilyard is not ashamed to share his story. “I speak it truthfully and as gracefully as I can,” Gilyard said. “I try not to sugarcoat anything. When you get caught up in sugarcoating you might slip in a lie here and there and that’s what not what I’m about.”
— ESPN, AFC North Blog: “Honesty Helping Mardy Gilyard“
Proof that you don’t have to be a saint to live up to Spagnuolo’s “four pillars.”