clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Steelers select Akron ILB Ulysees Gilbert III 207th overall

Akron’s first draft pick since 2016 and second of the decade.

NCAA Football: Akron at Northwestern Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

The first Akron Zip of the 2019 Draft will move a little more than 100 miles southeast to Pittsburgh.

Inside linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III was selected by the Steelers as the 207th pick of the sixth round in the 2019 NFL Draft. Gilbert is the first Akron player selected since Gilbert’s former teammate, outside linebacker Jatavis Brown, was drafted by the Chargers in 2016. The two linebackers are the only Zips drafted since the 2008 NFL Draft.

With the Gilbert selection, the Steelers continue their trend of picking from the MAC. Since 2014, Pittsburgh has selected eight players from the conference, including three in 2019 (Diontae Johnson, Sutton Smith). Gilbert is the third linebacker selected by the Steelers this weekend, joining 10th overall pick Devin Bush and Smith from Northern Illinois. Overall, Gilbert is the 11th inside linebacker to go this draft.

At Akron, Gilbert was a force in all areas on the field. He recorded 357 total tackles in four seasons of action, including a 2017 campaign where he ranked sixth in the country with 140. That same 2017 season, Gilbert returned three interceptions for 69 yards and a touchdown. He also recovered a fumble for a score in that season, one of his two First Team All-MAC years. His most notable touchdown of his career was a scoop-and-score in a defensive-led upset over 2018 Big Ten West champion Northwestern — Akron’s first Big Ten win since the 19th century.

In his three seasons as a starter for the Zips, Gilbert notched 8.5 sacks and dominated backfields with 28.5 tackles for loss. The 6’1”, 230 pound linebacker has three career fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. He built up plenty of on-field experience, playing every game at Akron in his four-year career. Gilbert will join Bush, Jon Bostic, Mark Barron, Vince Williams, and others on a crowded inside linebacker depth chart in the Steelers’ 3-4 defense.

Gilbert was selected on Saturday, April 27, which ironically happens to be the birthday of former US president Ulysses S. Grant — the most famous person of his name, albeit a different spelling.