This is Marcus Gilchrist’s fourth NFL stop and his third in three seasons. But over the past five seasons, he has managed to find himself in the starting lineup every season. First for the Chargers, then the Jets, then last season for the Texans.
Helping him greatly has been his versatility. He has played and started at every defensive back spot. He started at corner and strong safety for the Chargers, free safety and strong safety for the Jets, and strong safety for the Texans. And in each instance, he was also looked upon as a nickel back.
To play so many positions, you must be smart. How smart? Well, Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther thinks Gilchrist is so smart he should be a coach for him once his playing career is done.
“He’s been tremendous,” Guenther said of Gilchrist. ““I’ll tell you, I told Marcus ‘when you’re done playing, I’m going to hire you as a coach’ because he’s smart. He understands the big picture. He can play nickel, safety, corner. So when you have a guy like that, you can utilize him against tight ends or receivers or backs coming out of the backfield. He’s been a great asset for us.”
Nickel is where Gilchrist was lining up on day three, the first in pads. With Gareon Conley out, the secondary has had to move around a bit, with Daryl Worley playing the boundary and Gilchrist taking the slot. It’s times like this that Gilchrist’s ability to play wherever the team needs him to comes in handy.
“Honestly, I’ve been doing it my whole career so it’s just natural,” Gilchrist said of bouncing around to different positions. “It’s like second nature to me.”
As for Guenther’s proposal about becoming a coach, the 29-year-old says he’s not quite there yet. He hoping to have a lot more playing days left before having that discussion.
“I don’t know, it may be one day, but right now I’m trying to focus on making this team and trying to do whatever I can to compete. . . It’s definitely flattering. It’s something you want to hear. It’s one of those things where I kind of try to keep my head down and just work.”