In a very similar way to former Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner, injuries represent Ulysees Gilbert III's greatest obstacle.
After a promising preseason in 2019, which included standout performances against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers, Gilbert III played in 150 snaps on special teams that season, before going on season-ending injured reserve. This past season saw Gilbert III play just 33 defensive snaps and 46 special teams snaps, before again finding himself on injured reserve in November 2020.
During his absence, linebacker Robert Spillane and safety-turned linebacker Marcus Allen, each evolved into staples of the Steelers defense unit. Add the fact that they traded for Avery Williamson on November 1, 2020, one can see there is not much room remaining for Gilbert III.
If anything, Gilbert III's potential is unquestioned. Coming out of Akron, he impressed at the 2019 East-West Shrine Game. At his pro day, he turned heads by running a sub 4.5 in 40-yard dash, and posting a vertical jump of 39.5 inches. This past season, many had projected him to have a breakout season, and perhaps on route to becoming a future starter. Instead, Gilbert III has had to watch others move ahead of him.
With the team bringing back veteran linebacker Vince Williams, Spillane re-signed, the inevitable return of former first rounder Devin Bush Jr., and the possibility of taking a linebacker in the upcoming NFL Draft; Gilbert III may end up on the outside yet again. For him, staying healthy should be a much a priority as earning more snaps. If this is not the case, his days with the Steelers could be numbered.