We have finally arrived at the end of the 2012 NFL Draft, and each year it seems to get more and more exhausting. The Lord of the Rings- type of saga that this weekend brings has the same social life deadening effect on the viewers each year. And now comes the highly scientific, not at all hyperbolic method of reviewing each and every player that will set up shop in Western New York this year. We won’t be using terms like “can’t miss” and “reach,” simply because after round 2 or 3, it becomes very difficult to predict how well the players will fit in. We start at number one…
Stephon Gilmore CB. What more can be said that hasn’t been by the BLD staff? Opinion is divided here, but my efforts are to observe the glass as half full, and thus you will get the best case scenario regarding the picks. Gilmore is not Darrelle Revis. The good news is, is that he does not have to be. I’m not the biggest Leodis McKelvin fan, and its likely that after this year, Gilmore or Aaron Williams will be the top rated CB on our team.
If Buffalo’s pass rush is what its cracked up to be, Gilmore just needs to stay with his man for the first 15 yards from scrimmage. He’s very physical and possesses incredible speed so I think he is a strong fit for this unit. Please keep in mind that even the best of Corners face a sharper learning curve when making the transition to the pro game. Expect growing pains in the early going.
Based on needs and value of the pick, this earns a solid B.
Cordy Glenn LT. Buffalo was shocked when Glenn fell to them at 41, and so were most analysts. When I was watching, I had a feeling that the pick would be either him or Jonathan Martin, and he went next to Miami. Glenn is a gigantic tackle who has excellent foot movement. What he lacks is seasoning at the position. He was a Guard for most of his college career and became the Left Tackle his senior year. It was rough going at first, but by the end of the year, he was simply dominant. Glenn is another player who will have growing pains, especially if he’s the starter from Day One, but he should be solid given a little time. Buffalo was one of the teams that his agent called at the beginning of the 2nd day to try and pursuade them to pick him, (why does that seem illegal?) and Buffalo responded. If you recall, Glenn was one of the players who was present the previous day, but left when his name wasn’t called after the conclusion of the Round.
Of course, its entirely possible he just didn’t want an awkward hug from Roger Goodell the following Day.
He has a major chip on his shoulder that he wasn’t a first round pick, and I expect that can only mean he’s going to be very hungry come time for the season. Note that he did not take to Twitter to whine about it, he kept it private. Cannot fault a guy for feeling disappointed and handling it professionally. I love it when players think they’ve been slighted and take it out in the weight room and on the field. Sounds cruel, but his pain will be our gain.
Based on needs and value of the pick, this earns a lusty A.
TJ Graham WR. This was my first “wait…what?” moment of the Bills Draft. Nothing delighted me more when teams like Seattle made hilariously bad selections in opening rounds, but Buddy Nix needs to do a little explaining after this one when much higher rated receivers were still on the Board.
Lets see if I can talk us all into this, because it has been a controversial pick. There is no Corner in football who will have an easy time keeping up with Graham. The dude can absolutely fly. He has above average agility, leap, and hands. He can turn on a dime, and will use his speed to take some Safety’s off of Stevie Johnson. I’ve heard that if he had 10 lbs of muscle on him, or was 3″ taller, he would be ranked much higher. Thankfully, we’re not asking him to go out and be Calvin Johnson. When I was watching his tape, he reminded me of another undersized burner with his superior agility and hands- one Wes Welker. Of course, he also looks like he’s one violent hit away from forced retirement.
Based on needs and value of the pick, this earns a puzzling D+. (If I’m wrong, I’ll be the happiest to admit it.)
Nigel Bradham LB. As it turns out, Americans can have the name of Nigel too. Nigel’s size, speed, and measureables remind me a lot of Buffalo’s Third Round pick from last year- Kelvin Sheppard. Bradham is a solid tackler who has better pass rush abilities than Sheppard, and Buffalo is sneakily rebuilding it’s linebacking unit with young, tough-tackling talent. Bradham could have snuck into the end of Round Two, and his ceiling is still pretty high. I’m predicting Bradham will start in week 3, once Shawne Merriman’s leg falls off completely.
Based on needs and value of the pick, this earns an impressive A-.
Ron Brooks CB. The “other” corner at LSU, Brooks is kind of short, but is a strong, physical tackler who can bring a corner blitz and was well coached by Les Miles. He’ll never be asked to match up to anything more than a team’s #3 receiver, and might eventually move to Safety down the road, but bear in mind that you don’t play at LSU for four years for nothing. He was a top 80 player, so getting him at the end of the Fourth Round signifies a quality selection. Brooks is good insurance for the aging Bills’ secondary.
Based on needs and value of the pick, this earns another A-.
Zebrie Sanders OT. Sanders was nother top 80 pick who fell because he is a bit of a project. He is basically a better version of
Demetrius Demetress Bell. If he gets stronger, and theres no reason to think he won’t in an NFL workout program, he could become a very good Right Tackle in the future. He has ideal measureables, but isn’t physically overpowering, thus his tumble in the Draft. He was squeaky clean off the field; Buffalo seems to only take upstanding citizens. That’s fine with this blogger.
Sanders is a cerebral player who was an excellent student in the classroom. He graduated a semester early with a 4 year degree in retail merchandising, and is also an accomplished classical violinist. That is a small fact that you can throw out during a game that will cause the room to acknowledge your impressive knowledge gleened from reading lots of BLD.
Based on needs and value of the pick, this earns an unquestionable A+.
Tank Carder LB. If Whitney Merciless get the top grade for Names of Defensive Players, then Tank gets the Silver Medal. Tank (I’m not calling him Carder!) is a great name for a linebacker who was a former BMX champion at age 9 ( ! ) and broke his back in a car crash later in life. Carder didn’t play football till his junior year of high school, but made the TCU team and was a fine tackler at the college level.
Tank and Sanders (sounds like a buddy-cop show) need to become best friends in the weight room together. Tank obviously has residual health issues that could really hinder him from having a long, productive career, and getting stronger is an absolute must if he’s going to make the team. There were some receivers I was hoping Buffalo would jump on, but if his injured past is behind him and he puts on 15 lbs of muscle, then he could be a steal. He needs to work on fundamentals, but he won’t be expected to contribute immediately.
Based on needs and value of the pick, this earns a hard-working B-.
Mark Asper G. Mark Asper is as old as I am, and has two kids, but he will be a fun guy to root for to make the team come Training Camp. Asper saved the life of a man dining next his booth at a restaurant by performing the Heimlich Manuever on him. He is a tough-nosed lineman who projects to Guard, but if he works on his snaps and moves to Center, might make the team out of necessity as Eric Woods’ only backup. He is not particularly strong or even average in a lot of areas, so making the team would be a victory for this Sixth Rd pick.
Based on needs and value of the pick, this earns an always hopeful C-.
John Potter K. Brother to Harry, Hogwarts Class of 2008. Just kidding, but that was still more information that ESPN could gather on him. A four year kicker from W. Michigan, Potter missed every single FG attempt from beyond 50 yds, but he can be effective on kickoffs. He had 36 touch backs in his career. Good luck young man, the fact that he’s a kicker could mean we might actually see some of him. The worst he can do if he’s competent is make the Practice Squad.
Based on needs and value of the pick, this earns a who-the-heck-knows C.
Well there you have it, the complete 2012 Draft class of the Buffalo Bills. I liked it a lot, and even though I wish Ryan Broyles had fallen to us in the Third, after last year’s astounding Draft, I’ll give Nix and Gailey the benefit of the doubt and trust them to get the maximum out of TJ Graham. I like the way they continue to focus on defensive playmakers, and the trenches on offense.
If I had to pick a nit, I would have liked a dynamic offensive player. Can TJ Graham become that player? Maybe, but if not then its not coming from anything we did this year. Did you like the Draft? Leave us a comment below!
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