Overview: This gentle giant was once considered a first-round talent, but fell all way to Buffalo in the fifth round. Is he another Buffalo late-round gem?
Strengths: Incredibly experienced – a four-year starter at Florida State. Excellent size at 6’6, 320 pounds. Was a strong run-blocker with the Seminoles. Really good blocking on the move – will get to the next level and hit people. Quick off the ball. Looked athletic in college when you watched him on film. Played a lot at both right and left tackle. Super, super intangibles – smart with excellent character. He’ll fit right into Buffalo’s great locker room atmosphere.
Weaknesses: Had a shot to be a first-round pick before a terrible pre-draft process. He attempted to bulk up but just got slower, not stronger. Looked really bad at the Senior Bowl. Struggles with speed rushers. Needs to get stronger. A lot of concern that he is simply not “mean” enough to play in the NFL. Bends at the waist too much and gets off balance. Probably strictly a right tackle prospect at this point.
How He Will Fit in Buffalo: It’s unfortunate for Sanders that he fell so far in the draft, but he is in a good position for him right now: the Bills have Erik Pears at right tackle, so Sanders won’t be asked to play right away. Sanders should spend this season in the weight room and learning. He’ll likely make the team, but won’t see the field a ton in 2012. He’s an intriguing prospect down the line though – he has the physical and mental tools to be great.
The Bottom Line: The Bills might not have been looking to get another tackle in a draft in which they already nabbed Cordy Glenn, but Sanders is an incredible value in Round 5. We’ll see if the Buffalo coaches (and strength & conditioning experts) can develop Sanders’ considerable talent.