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Inside The Bills

Bills offseason making the grade

Posted by Chris Brown on May 29, 2012 – 9:06 am

The Bills still have a long wait before they can prove how much better they are on the field, but as far as the media pundits are concerned Buffalo had a stellar offseason of acquisitions.

USA Today handed out offseason grades for every NFL club and Buffalo had one of the better marks.

Buffalo Bills (A-): Boldness is the byword of Buffalo’s offseason. GM Buddy Nix sprung for $100 million to lure DE Mario Williams, the best free agent defender available. By also adding DE Mark Anderson, the Bills now arguably own the AFC’s best defensive line with DTs Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams bracketed by the newcomers. Nix also invested in his own stars, securing WR Stevie Johnson and RB Fred Jackson with new deals. First-round CB Stephon Gilmore headlined the draft and should tighten up the air defense in conjunction with the beefed-up pass rush — beware, Tom Brady. The team is counting on enormous second-round T Cordy Glenn (6-6, 345 pounds) to lock down QB Ryan Fitzpatrick’s blind side. If it all jells — and that will require consistency from Fitzpatrick and a healthy Jackson — Buffalo could break its 12-season playoff drought, the league’s longest active streak.

Four other NFL clubs also received A- grades. They were Dallas, New England, St. Louis and San Francisco. The two teams with the best grades were the Giants and Tampa Bay. Both received A grades.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Why mock drafts don’t help prospects

Posted by Chris Brown on May 24, 2012 – 10:34 am

NFL draft prospects always are curious as to where they might be drafted. In making the decision to declare for the draft underclassmen often submit a request to the NFL Advisory Board, which assesses where a prospect might go in the draft. For seniors however, it’s a best guess situation and some look to mock drafts for answers.

That’s what third-round pick T.J. Graham did, but that didn’t work out so well.

“You don’t get very much feedback about where you might be picked,” said Graham while appearing on the FAN590 recently. “So all you have to rely on are the mock drafts. A lot of the mock drafts aren’t very accurate so you can’t get a real gauge on where you might be picked.”

What’s interesting is Graham, even though he knows mock drafts are hard to rely on, still based where he might go on what he had seen in mocks. That’s why he was fully planning to watch the first two days of the 2012 NFL draft, not be a part of it.

“I’m a big fan of football so just watching the draft and being a part of it was cool, but I got the chance to watch as a fan the first day and I figured I’d watch on the second day and figure out where I’d fall on day three,” Graham said. “But watching it and then getting your name called was pretty surreal. I guess all the hard work and being a good character guy paid off.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Exclusive Glenn 1-on-1

Posted by Chris Brown on May 18, 2012 – 12:09 pm

Our exclusive one-on-one interview with second-round pick Cordy Glenn just moments after he signed his rookie contract is ready for viewing.

Glenn heaved a sigh after he finished signing all his paperwork and talked about the relief of putting the business side of football behind him.


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Our 1-on-1 with Gilmore signing

Posted by Chris Brown on May 17, 2012 – 9:08 am

Here’s our exclusive 1-on-1 with Stephon Gilmore just moments after signing his contract at One Bills Drive this morning.

Gilmore is just the seventh first-round pick to sign in the league and the second top 10 selection joining Carolina’s Luke Kuechly.


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Parameters for Glenn

Posted by Chris Brown on May 16, 2012 – 9:04 am

As draft choices across the league continue to sign, the contract parameters, if they needed to be narrowed down anymore have been for second-round pick Cordy Glenn.

That’s because Chiefs second-round pick Jeff Allen has signed his four-year deal with Kansas City according to reports. Allen, an offensive tackle from Illinois went 44th overall, just three picks after Glenn. Add in the fact that Allen plays the same position (though he might play guard for KC) and his contract numbers can often aid other negotiations in the vicinity of Allen, like Glenn in round two.

Buffalo has just their top three draft choices left unsigned, as six were signed last week.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Where they’re lining up

Posted by Chris Brown on May 13, 2012 – 11:06 am

Here’s a look at where Buffalo’s draft choices have been lining up in rookie minicamp.

Top pick Stephon Gilmore has been lining up at RCB this weekend.

Cordy Glenn has been lining up exclusively at LT.

T.J. Graham has been lining up mostly at flanker on the right side of the formation.

Nigel Bradham has lined up at both outside linebacker positions as had fifth-round pick Tank Carder.

Ron Brooks has played LCB for the majority of the weekend.

Zebrie Sanders has lined up at right tackle through the course of the practices.

Mark Asper has lined up primarily at center.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Tank was first to sign

Posted by Chris Brown on May 12, 2012 – 2:19 pm

Bills fifth-round pick Tank Carder was the first to sign on the dotted line after six of the nine draft choices agreed to terms late in the week. Buffalobills.com was there.

Here’s our one-on-one interview with Tank, and a shot of him signing his rookie contract.


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Rookie minicamp participants

Posted by Chris Brown on May 11, 2012 – 9:12 am

Here’s a rundown of who is participating in this weekend’s rookie minicamp.

We’ll have you covered on the happenings this weekend on Buffalobills.com. First-year players are listed at the top, followed by the rookies (draft picks and undrafted signings). The players with red jerseys (R) are tryout players here for the weekend as they make an effort to earn a spot on the offseason roster.

1st year players
87 – Kevin Brock – TE – 2011 practice squad
93 - Jay Ross – DT – 2011 practice squad
62 – Jake Vermiglio – G – 2011 practice squad
68 – Keith Williams – G – 2011 practice squad
69 – Mike Jasper – G – 2011 practice squad

Draft choices and undrafteds
3 - John Potter - K - Western Michigan 
6 - Shawn Powell - P - Florida State 
7 - Aaron Corp - QB - Richmond 
11 - T.J. Graham - WR - NC State 
27 - Stephon Gilmore - CB - South Carolina 
33 - Ron Brooks - CB - LSU
35 - Chris Douglas - RB - Missouri State 
36 - Delano Howell - DB - Stanford 
39 - Cris Hill - DB - Virginia Tech 
40 - Garrick Williams – LB - Texas A&M 
41 - Nick Sukay - DB - Penn State 
42 - Ian Wild - DB - Mercyhurst 
45 - Tank Carder - LB - TCU 
53 - Nigel Bradham - LB - Florida State 
61 - David Snow - C - Texas
63 - Mark Asper - OL - Oregon 
66 - Zebrie Sanders - OT - Florida State 
73 - Paul Madsen - OL - Colorado State 
77 - Cordy Glenn - OT - Georgia 

Tryout players (wearing red jerseys – R)
1R Taylor Boggs - C - Humboldt State 
2R Zach Brown - RB - Pittsburgh 
3R Vince Browne - DE - Northwestern 
4R Derek Buttles - TE - Maine 
5R Roddell Carter - WR - Alabama-Birmingham 
6R Nick Clark – LB - Alfred
7R Dominic Cook - DB - Buffalo 
8R Gino Crump - WR - Arizona 
9R Dorin Dickerson - FB - Pittsburgh 
10R Sean Ferguson - DE - Mississippi State 
11R Kevin Fitzpatrick – WR - Marist 
12R Corey Hart - DE - Alabama A&M 
13R Johnny Hollins - DT - Texas Southern 
14R Brian Smith – LB – Notre Dame 
15R Byron Mulkey - DB - Buffalo 
16R Nick Saenz - S - Houston 
17R Derek Session - WR - Maine 
18R Bernard Smith - DE - Louisiana-Lafayette 
19R Alex Tanney - QB - Monmouth College 
20R Jeff Thomas - LB - Indiana
21R Logan Walls - DT - Georgia Tech


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Draft choice jersey numbers

Posted by Chris Brown on May 10, 2012 – 12:30 pm

Here is the list of jersey numbers to be worn by Buffalo’s 2012 draft class this weekend at rookie minicamp.

CB Stephon Gilmore – 27
OT Cordy Glenn - 77
WR T.J. Graham - 11
LB Nigel Bradham - 53
CB Ron Brooks - 33
OT Zebrie Sanders - 66
LB Tank Carder - 45
C/G Mark Asper - 63
K John Potter - 3

Here also is the list of jersey numbers to be worn by the undrafted rookies that were signed by the club.

QB Aaron Corp - 7
RB Chris Douglas - 35
CB Cris Hill - 39
S Delano Howell - 36
OT Paul Madsen - 73W
P Shawn Powell - 6
C David Snow - 61
S Nick Sukay - 41
S Ian Wild - 42
LB Garrick Williams - 40


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills chose not to move up in Rd 2

Posted by Chris Brown on May 10, 2012 – 11:30 am

In our exclusive interview with Bills GM Buddy Nix and head coach Chan Gailey about what unfolded in the Bills draft room on the first two days of the draft there were a few items that wound up on the cutting room floor. Here’s one of them.

I asked Buddy if there were more trade offers on day two of the draft than day one, and he said there were. More offers were to have Buffalo move up the board. Ultimately, the Bills decided not to move up in round 2 feeling they stood a good chance to get the guy they wanted staying where they were.

“There was only one team that called for us to move back that wanted to move up to our spot,” said Nix. “And it was way back and we wouldn’t consider it. It was too far back. We wouldn’t  have probably considered it anyway because we felt like we were going to get one of the targeted guys. The other people were the same people wanting to move back and have you move up. Again we didn’t panic and move up and give up some spots and it worked out good.”

Buffalo sat right where they were and still got Cordy Glenn, an offensive tackle they considered taking in round one.


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The trade up for Graham

Posted by Chris Brown on May 10, 2012 – 10:36 am

Here’s a peek at what went down in Buffalo’s draft room on draft weekend when they decided to trade up for WR T.J. Graham in round 3.

In an exclusive interview with Buffalobills.com, head coach Chan Gailey explains what went down and why the decision was made to move up to secure the speed receiver.

“For what you gained at that point in time for what you had to give up it wasn’t that big of a decision for us,” said Gailey. “To me I think Buddy said, ‘Hey we’re this close, why not guarantee ourselves the pick, just to give up a seventh rounder in this draft.’ We already had another seventh rounder so it wasn’t like that was a huge leap of faith or anything. It was just trying to insure that we got one of those fast guys.”

Nix said that Buffalo liked four of the speed receivers that they felt were worthy of coming off the board at that time in round 3, but three of them were already gone and it was still a few picks away from when the Bills would be on the clock.

Be sure to watch the Inside the Draft Room special as there are many other behind the scenes events that went down in assembling this year’s draft class.


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Nix on how Glenn pick came to be

Posted by Chris Brown on May 10, 2012 – 10:19 am

As part of our Inside the draft room special on Buffalobills.com, GM Buddy Nix and head coach Chan Gailey walk us through what happened in the draft room through the course of the team’s first three choices, and what teams were interested in making possible moves with Buffalo.

After taking Stephon Gilmore in round one, the Bills zeroed in on Cordy Glenn with their second-round pick. But with only two offensive tackles coming off the board in round one there was concern that the run on tackles could start before Buffalo’s ninth pick in round 2.

“We were concerned,” said Nix. “The thing we felt good about was we had four guys at that pick (that we liked) and we thought one of the four would be there. We didn’t know if it would be a tackle or not. As it turned out it was, but one of the four would’ve been there.”

Knowing there were eight picks before Buffalo’s and they had four players they liked at 41, I followed up by asking Buddy if they were sweating just a bit.

“Obviously you sweat it. You can’t help but have your favorites,” he said. “We kind of knew what five of the picks were going to be and we knew our guys were going to be there.”

Be sure to watch our exclusive Inside the Draft Room piece in its entirety. It’s stuff you won’t find anywhere else.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Inside the Bills draft room

Posted by Chris Brown on May 10, 2012 – 10:04 am

Just wanted to make everyone aware that our much anticipated Inside the Bills Draft room special is now available at the media center of Buffalobills.com. Here’s a small snippet of what Bills GM Buddy Nix revealed to us regarding trade talk and their top pick at 10th overall.

There were a couple of teams in frequent contact with the Bills and it wasn’t to have the Bills move down, but rather up higher in the top 10.

They were both in the top 10,” said Nix. “They both made calls before the draft and then made them before their pick. Same two to move to the same spots. Again we usually let it come to us and that’s what we did again.”

When I asked if the price to move up was too steep Nix said it wasn’t.

“It wasn’t a high price,” he said. “It was very reasonable. We could’ve moved easily, but I look at the guy we got and the pick they wanted for us to move up and it wouldn’t have been worth it.”

Check out what else Nix and head coach Chan Gailey had to say about how each of the team’s first three picks came down.


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Fan Friday 5-4

Posted by Chris Brown on May 4, 2012 – 11:56 am

In the wake of the NFL draft here is the latest edition of your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net.  Let’s get to it.

1 – Hi Chris

I enjoy reading your articles and blog -thanks for the insight into 1 Bills Drive. 

After listening to Buddy & the guys discuss the draft, I had a question on how the Bills categorize players and stack their board.  Typically, most draft websites or mock drafters grade and rack players based on their position – for example, CB or WR. 

But NFL teams really use players in specialist roles – X,Y, and Z receiver; slot DB vs boundary CB; dime OLB vs rush OLB; etc.

I’m wondering if Buffalo categorizes and stacks their draft board based on these specialist roles or if they stack them based on the position? How does this impact how they run their draft – I assume if they need a dime DB, they are going to look at the highest rated one left on their board, as opposed to a higher rated boundary CB to fill that need? 

Thanks
Tim from Syracuse

CB: No, the Bills rank players with an overall board regardless of position by round. They also have a board that ranks all the players by position, but where they might fit within that position, ‘X’ receiver for example or slot CB is taking into account with their evaluation.
I think it’s fair to assume that a cornerback that can play on the boundary is going to have a higher grade than a CB that can only play in the slot. So the player evaluation of strengths, weaknesses and versatility and limitations properly rank the players and remove the need to further categorize rankings into specialty roles.

 

2 – Hi Chris,

I was wondering why the Bills have not kicked the tires on Marcus McNeill. He has the size that Buddy Nix covets, he was at one point considered an elite LT in this league, there is that San Diego connection, he is only 28, and I wouldn’t think the price would be too high at this point in the free agency game. So why not? Injuries? I know he had a neck issue but we could at least give him a physical. Was there a drop-off in his skill set that I am not aware of? I would think it would be worth it to bring him in for a visit/workout and see what he could bring to the table, and it would allow us to look at other positions early in the draft if he is healthy.

Thanks for your time!

Rich
CB: It is an injury issue with the neck problem as you point out. I believe knowing that Nix was directly responsible in drafting McNeill for the Chargers, that if there’s a chance for McNeill to be medically cleared for football again that Nix will be one of the first to know. In fact it wouldn’t shock me if Nix checks in with McNeill’s agent periodically for updates on the OT’s status. That’s not to say that they want to sign him, but you always monitor potential options that you believe can be a fit for your team.

 

3 – Hey Chris,

Last year you guys had cameras in the draft room during the first several rounds and posted a video chronicling the thought process of Buddy and the scouts as the pics/rounds developed. I thought this was incredibly insightful and interesting to watch so is there any chance of this happening again this year?

Thanks,
Andrew in Tonawanda.

CB: I’m happy to tell you that we will again have a video presentation of how Buffalo came to make their first three picks. It will air next week on Buffalobills.com. We’ll be sure to give you a heads up as to when it’s posted in the media center. I’m looking forward to it because I believe you fans will really enjoy it. Good behind the scenes material.

 

4 – Chris,

GM Nix & Company did a great job in free Agency landing two (2) pass rushing DE in Mario & Mark

Like the draft adding +2 Corners, +2 OTs and +2 LBs

Had on my draft wish list

CB- Stephon Gilmore
OT – Cordy Glenn
LB – Nigel Bradham
LB – Tank Carder
I know TJ Graham is a speed burner, but is he going to be durable to play an O/S WR for 16 games ?  If you’re on IR doesn’t matter how fast you are.

In the 6th round I would have loved to have seen the Bills draft QB BJ Coleman as a developmental QB, perhaps challenging Thigpen for # 2, Bills waited to long on that move and the Packers took him in the 7th.  Not sold on Thigpen to come in and move this team if needed.
CB: I think that is something we’re just going to have to wait and see. We all know that cornerbacks in the NFL are far more physical than in college. The Bills believe in Graham’s ability to handle an outside role, so I think everyone needs to wait and see what he can do when we get to training camp and the bodies start banging. 

As for a developmental QB, you’re not alone. There are a lot of Bills fans that wanted a project QB to be drafted. But they’ve got Aaron Corp coming in and they’re pursuing free agent options, though there doesn’t appear to be anything imminent coming down the pike on Vince Young.

But I think the Bills will live up to what they always say they do, which is they’ll always look to make an upgrade at any position and if they can they do it.

 

5 – Hey Chris , I’m happy with the draft this year, we filled the needs that we needed at LT,LB , DB,  LT was a big need for us and we did get Huge LT that are going to improve by working with Mario  and Mark Anderson,,,,One question for you round four if the Redskins didn’t take Kurt Cousins do you think the Bills had him in their sights,,?                                                                   

Thanks Chris   
Doug

CB: I know they did like Kirk Cousins, but when you consider what they landed in the fourth and fifth rounds it’s hard to argue with the talent they accumulated. Cousins I think can be a nice player, but they need players that are going to help their depth on the field early. Cousins would not be that, so I think that’s why they grabbed players like Bradham, Brooks and Sanders and Carder. Players that will line up on special teams, possible subpackage roles on defense (Brooks) and challenge for a swing tackle role (Sanders).


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Mayock on Bills draft

Posted by Chris Brown on May 4, 2012 – 9:54 am

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock is still wrapping up his reviews of each NFL club’s draft haul last week. He just gave the following synopsis on Buffalo’s draft class.

Appearing on the Rich Eisen podcast, Mayock was encouraged by the talent the Bills collected with their nine picks, and is apparently a big fan of Tank Carder.

“Buffalo takes [Stephon] Gilmore and I thought they might go [Luke] Kuechly or Mark Barron, but they were both gone at that point,” he said. “They take the longest corner in the draft who might end up having to cover tight ends going forward in New England. I really like the two offensive linemen, a position of need. Cordy Glenn can play right tackle or inside, Zebrie Sanders is a left tackle that slid a little bit just because of a lack of consistency, not because of a lack talent. Tank Carder, he is one of the more instinctive inside linebackers in the draft; Dave Wannstedt will love him. Even though he is only a fifth-round pick, he’ll get everybody lined up, he’ll be the first guy in the building, he’ll play all four special teams. He’s just a good guy to have around.”

A lot of the so called draft experts don’t believe Glenn can be a left tackle, but after starting 18 games at left tackle in the SEC Buffalo’s personnel department is convinced.

“Hell no he’s not a guard,” said Bills GM Buddy Nix of Glenn. “He started 50 games and the last 16 were at left tackle. We put it out there and tried to spread the rumor that he was a guard to hope somebody wouldn’t take him.”


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More kudos for Bills draft

Posted by Chris Brown on May 1, 2012 – 8:38 am

The Bills have been given a good deal of credit for their 2012 draft haul of nine new players. Most liked Buffalo’s top two choices, but as the dust settles further on the draft, draft analysts are liking what they see beyond round 2.

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay pointed out a pair of choices that he liked a lot that came after Stephon Gilmore and Cordy Glenn when assessing the Bills rundown of selections.

Impact pick: WR T.J. Graham (third) — There won’t be huge expectations for Graham as a third-rounder, but the Bills like to spread teams out in the shotgun and he can contribute working from the slot. He brings the speed Buffalo needs, both as a vertical route-runner and after the catch, and that big-play ability makes up for his lack of ideal size. And with his 4.38-second speed in the 40-yard dash, Graham was a big-time return man in college and will contribute in that role in the NFL as well.

Intriguing pick: OT Zebrie Sanders (fifth) — Bills general manager Buddy Nix has done a great job finding starters in the third round or later in recent drafts, and Sanders is the most intriguing pick in that area from the 2012 class. He’s an experienced starter who has played on both the right and left sides and will make an easy transition from Florida State’s scheme to Buffalo’s zone-blocking system. He needs to get stronger overall, but he’s a smart, efficient tackle with long arms and good mobility, and going from a college system that emphasized cutting weight and gaining mobility to an NFL training program will help him immensely. Considering Buffalo’s struggles when it comes to finding tackles, getting one with a third-round grade in the fifth could prove to be a steal.


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King tips hat to Nix

Posted by Chris Brown on April 30, 2012 – 9:30 am

SI.com’s Peter King in his Monday Morning QB Column offered a tip of the hat to Bills GM Buddy Nix for his work over the weekend in the 2012 NFL draft.

King handed he and San Francisco GM Trent Baalke the GM of the weekend award. Here’s what he wrote.

GM of the weekend (tie): Trent Baalke, San Francisco; Buddy Nix, Buffalo. I detailed Baalke’s multiple moves to set up the Niners as a power player in the 2013 draft. And getting LaMichael James late in the second round gives Jim Harbaugh the home-run back he hasn’t had in an offense that needs a threat like that. As for Nix, who rebuilt his defensive end position in free agency (Mario Williams, Mark Anderson), he bought a new secondary over the weekend, with first- and fourth-round corners (Stephon Gilmore and Ron Brooks) who will become starting and nickel corners, respectively.

The key to Buffalo’s draft could end up being offensive tackle Zebrie Sanders, a fifth-round tackle from Florida State who started at age 18 in the ACC, and started 50 games in college. Cordy Glenn and Sanders one day could make this a great draft.


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Potter’s big leg

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2012 – 10:57 am

Bills seventh-round pick K John Potter is seen by Buffalo as a kickoff specialist. After having so many of their own opponents blast it through the end zone to neutralize kick returner Brad Smith last season, Buffalo would like to return the favor.

“That’s mostly what people did to us,” said Bills GM Buddy Nix.

So Buffalo used their last pick on Potter, who was shocked but has a big leg. In college he fared well in racking up touchbacks.

“This past season I had 36 touchbacks, which was about 43 or 44 percent,” he said.

Touchbacks are not only valuable from the standpoint of forcing the opponent to start at their own 20, but it also takes hits off your coverage unit and over the course of a 16-game season that can prove valuable.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Kiper’s grade for Bills

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2012 – 9:55 am

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper has put out his draft grades. Here’s what he had for the Bills.

Kiper gave Buffalo a B- overall grade and a B grade for value. This is what he wrote.

Summary: I had the Bills selecting Stephon Gilmore in my final mock draft, and they ended up taking him. I didn’t see CB as the top need, but it’s a solid pick. Gilmore is ready to start immediately for a secondary that allowed 7.3 yards per pass attempt in 2011. The Bills pass defense should be better in 2012 when you put together an improved pass rush and the draft help in the secondary. Ron Brooks, a burner out of LSU, could stick as a slot cornerback. He lacks size, but can fly. I don’t share the opinion that Cordy Glenn can be a left tackle, but he was a total steal at No. 41. He was on my final Big Board at No. 14. If the Bills move him inside (or to right tackle), he’ll succeed. Zebrie Sanders was a steal in the sixth round. They got a wideout with T.J. Graham, as well as a pair of linebackers to bring in and battle for a spot. Pretty good weekend for Buddy Nix and the Bills.

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/draft2012/story/_/id/7823750/mel-kiper-gives-grades-every-nfl-team-draft


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Nix on why OT Sanders slid

Posted by Chris Brown on April 29, 2012 – 8:54 am

By many accounts Florida State OT Zebrie Sanders was a third-round prospect, but the Bills landed him in the middle of round five. What happened? Bills GM Buddy Nix had a theory.

“I’ll tell you why he was there I think, he had a bad Senior Bowl,” said Nix. “He goes to the Senior Bowl. He had tried to lose some weight. They worked him in there at guard and that kind of threw him off. But he didn’t have a good week. I think he scared everybody. He scared us some.

“You couldn’t get it out of your mind. We say all-star games never move a guy up or down, but once you see it it’s hard not to remember that. You go back to his body of work and he played good and he’s got some of that strength back.”

Buffalo sees Sanders as a swing tackle that can play on the left or right side. The Bills really fortified their offensive tackle depth as they now have five true offensive tackles on the roster in Chris Hairston, Erik Pears, Sam Young, Cordy Glenn and Sanders.


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Posted in Inside the Bills