Gillespie is very aggressive as a playmaker in both the passing and running game. He has great short-area explosiveness and does not hesitate when pulling the trigger to make a play. Despite his average frame, he can come down hill and fill holes as well as most linebackers. His ability to fit in the run game is his most redeeming quality and he takes great angles to the ball. He was able to close the gap on projected first-round speedster Jaylen Waddle on a jet sweep against Alabama. Gillespie is no slouch in the pass game either. His ability to read the QB and play well in zone coverage will be intriguing to NFL scouts. What he lacks in speed, he makes up for with his reactive coverage skills.
Gillespie’s biggest concern at the next level will be his lack of speed. He’s quick and reactive but he will struggle to run with speedy receivers in the secondary. He will struggle to cover deep routes in the single high look and even his reactive coverage skills will not compensate for his lack of pure speed. Like most defensive backs coming out of college, Gillespie is an inconsistent tackler. This should not be a concern at the NFL level as he will have to wrap up in order to play on the big stage. Gillespie does not have the speed or quickness to play in man coverage and will have to be extremely physical in man coverage if he plans to stick with possession receivers off the line.
Gillepsie will be limited in the NFL to play in two high looks, unless he can somehow improve his long speed as a single high safety. Because of this, his draft stock will drop despite his above average ability to play in the run game. Gillespie could succeed in two high looks, but his ceiling will be limited. His best bet would be to play as a cover linebacker in passing situations or to bulk up and move down if his speed proves to be an issue at the next level. He could fit in a role like star safety Jamal Adams as a run stuffing, TE cover safety. He has the lateral quickness to side step blocks and stay engaged in the run game. He would make an excellent specials teams player and could find a team through that role. Gillespie’s draft stock is lower than it should be because he has been overshadowed by other defensive stars at his time at Mizzou. Gillespie is most likely going to be a day three draftee. I'm predicting he will get drafted in round six.
Big Play Ability