"I was undersized and I was actually bullied and ostracized by my entire school and I was booed a few times in front of the entire school. Going into my freshman year, I had a heart operation -- very simple, but it prevented me from playing in any sports and doing anything," Gilkey said. "So, I excelled academically. With that, some of the guys -- especially on the football team and the upper cliques -- distanced (themselves) from me because I wasn't able to do the running in the summer and the workouts. I was booed twice in school. I was constantly bullied, constantly picked on. It was a very hard year.
"Really, I like to tell people that I was just the little redheaded, gingery, skinny-looking (kid). I was pear-shaped. I had these wide hips and this skinny-looking upper body. I was just a prime target for many of the cruel kids in Sandwich." - Howard Balzer, The Sports Xchange
He redshirted in 2008 and slowly worked his way up the depth chart a year later, seeing action in six contests and starting the final two games. He began to show the form which would lead him to earn all-conference honors throughout the rest of his career as a sophomore, starting all 11 games at left tackle for the football team and electing to play basketball for Chadron State, scoring a total of four points and securing four rebounds in six games. His most notable "contribution," according to his official bio, may have been committing eight fouls in his 16 minutes of action.
While a dominant left tackle in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Gilkey lacks the athleticism necessary to remain outside against NFL speed. Given the opportunity to play inside at guard against elite competition at the Senior Bowl, however, Gilkey proved up to the challenge, likely securing a day three selection as a developmental prospect.
WEAKNESSES: Obvious level of competition concerns, though these are minimized somewhat by his successful week of practice at the Senior Bowl. Viewed by some as a bit of 'tweener due to his height and lack of elite foot quickness. Considered by some teams to be too tall to play guard and might have to be a developmental strong-side tackle prospect. Has a tendency to play high, making him vulnerable to powerful defenders who can bull rush him into the pocket. Described as having a "goofy" personality and as potentially lacking the "fire in his belly" some teams look for in offensive linemen.
COMPARES TO: Jeff Linkenbach, OG, Indianapolis Colts -- Just as Linkenbach, 6-6, 323, was asked to make the transition from left tackle to the interior coming out of Cincinnati three years ago, Gilkey's best chance at NFL success likely will be on the inside where he can be better protected. Big, surprisingly athletic and willing to put in the work, he could emerge as a developmental starter just as Linkenbach has in starting 28 games for the Colts since signing with the team as an undrafted free agent following the 2010 draft.