Football is a sport that can relate to war where there are men going into battle to win and protect one or another at all costs. In battle, you must have a captain and soldiers; these roles are essential due to the fact that somebody must lead and somebody must complete the task. Well who better to go to war with other than the LA Chargers new safety Alohi Gilman.
The LA Chargers selected Alohi Gilman in the 6th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. If you knew the journey Gilman had to endure, you’d understand this is a milestone. Coming from Navy, Alohi was told to sit out after his waiver application was denied; however once his redshirt year concluded, Gilman was a valorous defender for Notre Dame where he physically and vocally left a resounding impact on the program. Usually anybody who’s drafted in the later rounds are likely to fill some of the last roster spots of a 53 man team. The Chargers may have found someone who will contribute early and lead as well.
Playing the safety position, you are known as help over the top, last line of the defense, or in some cases an enforcer. Gilman met those expectations while he was at Notre Dame where he was able to show his ability to come down hill & play in the box which may allow him to flourish in a Mark Barron-like fashion at the “money” linebacker position. Regarding his 2020 NFL Scouting Combine numbers: he had 17 bench press reps, 4.08 in his 20 yard shuttle, and 6.81 in the three cone drill. These numbers were solid and displayed his intermediate quickness in tight spaces which was perfected while playing for Notre Dame.
The physicality in Alohi Gilman game will grab someone’s attention but his weaknesses may stick out like a sore thumb. There’s been too many instances where he may be athletically challenged against agile opponents; his combine numbers may be the details to that aspect of his game. His 40 was only 4.60, 119” broad jump, and 32” vertical, which was one of the worst among the safety group at the combine. On the field, he has looked uncomfortable while covering deep thirds. Gilman is someone that needs to be close to the line of scrimmage to get the most value out of his game.
Probably the biggest trait that makes Alohi valuable is his leadership. This is someone who would lead morning workouts while being a redshirt. Throughout his time at Notre Dame, his speeches to his team instilled a mentality that Notre Dame would carry on and off the field. “Y’all are my family right here so I need each and every one of y’all to put that in your head. Something that you protect, and I promise you, you will be way stronger than you think you are”. This was one of his speeches during his off season workouts. His leadership style has been applied in the mist of battle and after it concludes. Accountability is something he holds high and he’s willing to take criticism from his teammates, coaches, and even walk-ons
Alohi Gilman will most likely be used on special teams this year for the Chargers. At best, he will serve as a nickel linebacker on defense and backup Derwin James. The opportunity to team up with former Irishmen Drue Tranquill who Gilman has considered a mentor since playing together in 2018 may help make an easier transition. At one point, Drue was just a special teams guy but when his opportunity came he seized it. Alohi Gilman will be looked upon to be a special teams ace and display his leadership every given moment he can.