Time to grade out this year’s draft by summarizing each pick… Did the Bills draft wisely or did they take a step back by going with Nix’s “best player available” approach. Let’s take a look!
Round 1 – Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina. For 3 years, Buddy has been clear to all of us that his intentions with the first pick are the best player available that can come in and contribute right away. In this year’s draft, Gilmore was that guy. With the WR and TE talent inside the AFC East, in my opinion, Gilmore was a no brainer. Mike Mayock’s take, “This is one of my favorite players in the draft.” Gilmore will turn into our #1 cover guy more sooner than later. Grade A
Round 2 – Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia. Nix got “his” guy in the second round when many mocks had him pulling the trigger with the 10th pick. The prognosticators all see Glenn as a massive guard with excellent potential. Mayock states, “I don’t think he’s got left tackle feet, and he could be a Pro Bowl guard if the Bills ever decide to move him inside.” Nix and Gailey will start him out at left tackle. The best choice in my opinion. Grade A-
Round 3 – T.J. Graham, WR, N.C. State. The first surprise of this year’s draft. Nix made it clear he believed this year’s draft was deep in WR talent. By this time, WR’s were coming off the board at a fast rate. Nix traded a 7th rounder to move up two spots to grab Graham. He is “lightning quick” in the same mold as Roscoe Parrish. Roscoe could never stay healthy and Gailey loves a fast slot receiver to create mismatches. Mayock says, “I had him going in the 7th Round. He can fly though.” Grade B-
Round 4 – Nigel Bradham, OLB, Florida State. Desperate for linebacker depth, Nix and the Bills drafted Bradham. At 6’2″, 241 lbs., he gives the Bills the opportunity to groom a player behind Morrison. Just like the Bills did last year with Kelvin Sheppard. Bradham led Florida State in tackles for 3 years and with 4.64 speed, could very well keep up with the likes of Gronkowski, Hernandez, and Keller. Good value with this pick. Bucky Brooks’ thoughts, “Bradham will compete for playing time. He brings speed and explosiveness as an outside linebacker.” Grade B
Round 4 – Ron Brooks, CB, LSU. With the immense amount of CB talent at LSU, Brooks had a difficult time getting on the field until his senior year. Fortunately for the Bills, even with a small body of work, Nix saw enough to make him the second pick in the 4th round. He may only be 5’10″, but with 4.37 speed, Brooks could be a “diamond in the rough” in the Justin Rogers mold. Bucky Brooks says, “Brooks is an underrated cover corner. He possesses movement skills to handle slot receivers.” Grade B-
Round 5 – Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State. Nix stays consistent with large offensive linemen in the 5th round. At 6’5″ and 320 lbs., Sanders has a good chance to unseat Sam Young as the Bills swing tackle. Bucky Brooks’ thoughts, “He has the experience on both sides of the line and that could enable him to get a jersey each week as an active player.” Grade C+
Round 5 – Tank Carder, ILB, TCU. Buddy and Chan liked Tank so much that they brought him to 1 Bills Drive in April as one of their allotted 30 pre draft visits. They obviously liked what they saw. Versatile player that can play all three linebacker positions. I really like this pick. He will bring his passion to the field every day in practice and on Sundays. Bucky Brooks’ take, “He actively hunts runners between the tackles and his fantastic feel for the game could give him a chance to find a role in Buffalo’s defense.” Grade B-
Round 6 – Mark Asper, OG, Oregon. Did I mention earlier about Nix’s love for large offensive lineman? At 6’6″ and 319 lbs., Nix is attempting to create the largest pound for pound offensive line in the NFL. With his advanced age (27 years old) and experience at 4 positions on the offensive line, this pick was an easy choice. Nix loves offensive linemen who can step in at several positions. Bucky states, “Asper flashes the ability to move defenders off the ball, but he is at his best when working at angles.” Grade C
Round 7 – John Potter, K, Western Michigan. I completely understand that Buddy likes to create competition at all positions in training camp, but we just resigned Rian Lindell to a lengthy and expensive contract. If Potter has a strong leg and we have a spot on the roster for a kickoff specialist in the December winds at the Ralph, I’m content with this compensatory pick. Bucky says, “If he outshines the competition, Potter could earn a role as a specialist.” Grade C-
Overall, I graded the Bills draft at a B. Nix and Gailey made a point this year to work on depth at weak positions. After a 5-2 start last year, injuries proved to be costly with a 1-8 finish. I appreciate that we have a management group that acknowledged that and made strides to fill the backup holes we had last season.
What do you think Bills Fans? What grade would you grade the draft this year?