Buffalo came into the draft with glaring needs and wasn’t able to truly address any of them other than some nice linebacker depth.
We’ll go pick-by-pick here and grade out Buffalo for the job that they did.
1st Round, Pick 10: CB Stephon Gilmore (Grade: C-)
Going into the draft process, Stephon Gilmore looked like a solid top-fifteen player who was a little bit overrated due to the lack of talent at cornerback in the class.
Maybe this South Carolina corner would have been a fit on the Cowboys or Bengals, but the Bills went ahead and made the former SEC standout a first rounder.
I have an issue here on many levels.
First of all, the Bills don’t upgrade at all with this pick. I don’t see Gilmore cracking the starting lineup with Terrence McGee, Leodis McKelvin and Drayton Florence all on the roster. Don’t forget Aaron Williams, whom the Bills drafted last year.
Second of all, Buffalo chose to ignore some major needs at tackle (I’ll get to the Glenn pick in a minute) and wide receiver. With Riley Reiff and Michael Floyd still on the board, as well as Matt Kalil available in a trade up, where do the Bills even think of drafting Gilmore from?
For a team trying to compete right now, adding a third or fourth corner while two division rivals add starters at linebacker (Quinton Coples to the Jets, Dont’a Hightower to the Patriots) makes no sense. Do the Bills really want to compete in 2012?
2nd Round, Pick 41: OT Cordy Glenn (Grade: B)
This pick was not that terrible, though it’s upsetting to think about all of the other, better players still on the board with this pick.
The Bills could have gotten a traditional tackle with Jonathan Martin here. If one wants to make an argument that the Bills didn’t take Riley Reiff because he’s more of a guard, the same argument can be made about Glenn. Martin is more fundamentally sound and is good in both facets of his game (pass and run blocking).
As for the wide receiver talent left, the Bills chose to conveniently ignore the fact that Rueben Randle was still on the board as well as Alshon Jeffery and Stephen Hill. Where was Buddy Nix when this pick was made?
3rd Round, Pick 69: WR T.J. Graham (Grade: D)
The only reason that this pick isn’t an “F” is because the Bills at least acknowledged a need at wide receiver.
With Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones, Juron Criner and Marvin McNutt all still on the board, how do the Bills elect to go with T.J. Graham out of N.C. State? Clearly, better players were on the board here and the team just whiffed.
Graham is not a starting-caliber NFL receiver and the team would have been much better suited to go with another player here. I don’t understand why Nix was so infatuated with this receiver’s speed when he clearly lacks the ability to run good routes, catch the ball consistently and beat the press coverage.
The Bills already have a player with shaky hands on the other side with Stevie Johnson and I can’t see this being a good fit. The Bills could have used a big, physically-imposing receiver and they were unable to bring one in.
4th Round-7th Round: LB Nigel Bradham, CB Ron Brooks, OT Zebrie Sanders, LB Tank Carder, OG Mark Asper, K Josh Potter (Collective Grade: C)
Though I applaud the Tank Carder pick and don’t wholeheartedly disagree with bringing in Bradham and Sanders, the Day Three haul for the Bills wasn’t much to write home about.
Ron Brooks, the corner out of LSU, looked a lot better on tape than he should have because he was covering No. 3 receivers while Tyrann Mathieu and Morris Claiborne locked down the two best pass catchers on the other side.
As for Asper, he was the third offensive lineman that the team picked and I just don’t agree with taking another guard when both Cordy Glenn and Zebrie Sanders are flex-type guys who can play either position.
I don’t mind the Josh Potter pick in the seventh round, but I’m sure the Bills could have picked up a kicker in undrafted free agency instead of going for this kickoff specialist.
Bradham is a good player in his own right and should contribute in Buffalo, but I don’t love the pick when considering the players still on the board. When the Bills selected Bradham, the team missed on Ronnell Lewis, Jared Crick, Jarius Wright, and Brandon Boykin.
In the case of Sanders, the team gets good value but I wonder whether or not they truly needed another tackle. It’s not a bad pick there, but it’s somewhat questionable.
After a mediocre draft class, I don’t know how far the Bills will go in the 2012 season. With the Jets and Dolphins falling by the wayside, maybe the team competes for a playoff spot. It remains to be seen, but I’m a doubter of this draft class.