Stephon Gilmore’s skill and size could make a big difference for Patriots

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 11:   Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers can't make a catch as  Stephon Gilmore #24 of the Buffalo Bills defends during the first half at New Era Field on December 11, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Former Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore blankets Steelers star wideout Antonio Brown on this incompletion during a Week 14 game last season. –Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The Patriots jumped into free agency with both feet this offseason, quickly locking up Stephon Gilmore with the hope that he’ll be a lockdown corner opposite Malcolm Butler.

Gilmore’s exceptional size for the position (6 feet 1 inch, 190 pounds) likely was chief among the many reasons New England was willing to dole out $65 million over five years to secure his services.

Receivers keep getting bigger and stronger in this league and having a corner with Gilmore’s skill set (size, strength, and quickness) is a must to try to neutralize them. Gilmore’s length makes it difficult for quarterbacks to throw over him and his long arms make it hard for passers to sneak it by him.