Inside The Bills

Kiper: Hairston key to class

Posted by Chris Brown on May 2, 2011 – 10:53 am

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, who gave the Bills an overall grade of ‘B’ in this year’s draft, called fourth-round pick OT Chris Hairston the most critical piece of Buffalo’s draft class.

“With the offensive line you can only do so much,” said Kiper. “With the offensive line there was a big drop off after the top group. That’s why I think the key guy is going to be Chris Hairston. Chris Hairston has a lot of ability and potential. I think he’s not yet where he needs to be. Any time you get a kid that’s 6’6 ¼” and 326 pounds and is very, very strong in the upper body, he’s got incredibly long arms. The kid is a talent.

“(The question is) outside pass rushers, how much trouble will they give him? He’s got to get quicker out of his stance and do a better job of maintaining his frame between the defense and the quarterback, but that will come with coaching. Offensive line coaching will be critical for Hairston because he needs some coaching and the offensive line coach has to develop this kid. If they do it could be a very good pick there.”

With Bills offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris, Hairston will be in good hands. Head coach Chan Gailey said over the weekend he envisions Hairston as a right tackle, even though he played left at Clemson. And Kiper apparently doesn’t put a whole lot of stock in Erik Pears, who is the Bills odds on favorite to be the starting right tackle in 2011, after a couple of strong starts last season as a late year pickup.

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