In the first part of my analysis I shall be looking at the Bills 2012 draft and giving my opinions on what the Bills did. Heading into the draft, I pegged the Bills biggest needs as being at left offensive tackle, wide receiver, strong-side linebacker and cornerback. All in all the Bills had quite a successful draft securing players in all the need areas, thereby adding depth across the roster. Coupled with their outstanding acquisitions in free agency [next post] the Bills are perhaps at their strongest point on paper in over a decade.
In the draft the Bills draft 2 cornerbacks, 2 tackles, 2 linebackers, a wide receiver, an offensive lineman and a kicker. While I may have taken different players in some of the rounds, the Bills not only took players that were the best available, but also filled positional needs. Coupled with their outstanding acquisitions in free agency [next post] the Bills are perhaps at their strongest point on paper in over a decade.
1. CB Stephon Gilmore - South Carolina A-
Cornerback was not the biggest for the Bills, but with teams committing to the passing game more than ever in the passing game, the move was understandable. While Gilmore was not as big of a shutdown cornerback as Dre Kirkpatrick, Gilmore had none of Kirkpatrick’s baggage and as seen in the combines, has more physical upside. Gilmore has speed, size and has displayed as ability to break up passes.
Next Best Alternatives on the Board: WR Michael Floyd, OT Riley Reiff
2. OT Cordy Glenn - Georgia A+
One of the biggest needs for the team was to secure a left tackle. There were some concerns that Glenn would be better suited at guard in the NFL given his size and earlier inconsistencies. However, as the year wore on, Glenn showed great improvement at left tackle. Additionally Glenn had a solid showing at the combines with good speed (for his size), 31 bench press reps to compliment his more than 35” arms, both of which are good signs for tools of a left tackle. Glenn just needs to work on his footwork and given that he should’ve been a first round pick, is a second round steal for the Bills.
Next Best Alternative on the Board: OT Jonathan Martin, LB Bobby Wagner
3. WR T.J. Graham - North Carolina State D-
Nix said they would bring in speed and that they did. With Jenkins, Broyles and Hill off the boards, the Bills reached on Graham who while is fast, was slated to be a Day 3 pick. Graham still has a lot of fine tuning to do so it will be interesting to see if he can push towards the #2 slot or just be a depth option for specific plays. I feel that people may have liked the Graham pick more had the Bills not sacrificed a seventh round pick to move up two spots to get him.
Next Best Alternative on the Board: WR Mohamed Sanu, QB Kirk Cousins
4. LB Nigel Bradham - Florida State B+
The Bills needed a fast and hard hitting linebacker to swap downs with Morrison. Bradham had a good year, particularly with pass defense and as seen in the combine, has the speed to make plays. As an added bonus Bradham is a solid special teams player.
Next Best Alternative on the Board: TE Orson Charles, WR Nick Toon
4. CB Ron Brooks - Louisiana State A
With the Bills all but deciding to overhaul their cornerback corps over the last two seasons, they jumped the opportunity to acquire a great depth player in Ron Brooks. Brooks has great speed and has been a solid special teamer and nickel-back for the Tigers. Brooks could also serve as a gunner for the Bills.
Next Best Alternative on the Board: LB Ronnell Lewis, DE Jared Crick
5. OT Zerbie Sanders - Florida State A
Sanders was perhaps the BPA and is a solid backup tackle particularly on the right side. Sanders also has experience at the left tackle position and although he is better suited for duty on the right side, it is good to know the Bills have more than a few options to man the blind side.
Next Best Alternative on the Board: LB Terrell Manning, OG Ryan Miller
5. LB Tank Carder - Texas Christian A-
With the Bills lacking depth in linebackers, they doubled up with Tank Carder. Carder can create plays and has experience both outside and in. Also you have to love his conviction being the first Bills rookie draft pick to sign.
Next Best Alternative on the Board: WR Juron Criner, DE Jonathan Massaquoi
6. OL Mike Asper - Oregon B-
Asper has played all over the line throughout his career, but the Bills drafted him with the idea of making Asper a backup center. Asper has the size that Gailey seems to favor in his linemen, and Asper has reportedly looked good in the minicamp at center too.
Next Best Alternative on the Board: WR Marvin McNutt, FS Markelle Martin
7. K John Potter - Western Michigan D
Potter is not as accurate of a kicker as Lindell is, but Potter has a really strong leg well suited for kicking touchbacks in the NFL. The move is a bit peculiar though in the sense that they just re-signed Rian Lindell to a new contract, but it wouldn’t be the first time a team had two separate kickers on their roster.
Next Best Alternative on the Board: OG James Brown, QB Jacoby Harris