So a quick reminder of last year: Buffalo drafted pretty well. Dareus had a very nice rookie season, Aaron Williams did a very good job and can compete for an outside CB or at least slot job. Da’Norris Searcy was underrated and did fine. Kelvin Sheppard is the middle linebacker, and although I’m not sure that he’s totally ready for it, he wasn’t lost last year at least. Chris Hairston got hurt, but he still has the inside chance at that LT job.
Now for this year. Stephon Gilmore was a bit of a surprise for me, as I was expecting the Bills to focus on LT. I wasn’t happy with him at the time of selection (especially because McGee, Florence, and Williams were pretty decent last year), but thinking about it some more, I think it was a good choice, especially because the Bills were able to snag Cordy Glenn in the second round. There are some doubts about whether Glenn will ever be a left tackle, but at worst, he should be a solid right tackle, which Buffalo also needs. In the fifth round, they also picked up Zebrie Sanders, who should be a solid line upgrade as well, probably as a swingman.
TJ Graham is really, really fast. Buffalo needs a really, really fast wide receiver, but will he actually be any good? I don’t expect Lee Evans, but I would like to see a lot better than Roscoe Parrish.
The 4th round saw the Bills draft Nigel Bradham and Ron Brooks. Bradham sounds like a physical specimen but has awareness problems. Brooks, meanwhile, is pretty fast and although he was never a starter, that was just because he was playing behind guys like Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne. I’d give Brooks about a 40% chance of being the nickel cornerback within two years.
After that, meh. Tank Carder is a run-stopping linebacker. Michael Lombardi likes him a lot, but I don’t know if he’ll be fast enough to stick in the big leagues; on the other hand, Buffalo still needs some run stopping help, and at least he could be a short-yardage linebacker. Mark Asper is probably a run-blocking guard on a team with a bunch of decent to good guards. Finally, John Potter kicks the ball for a living, so nobody cares.
I’ll give Chris Brown credit: he nailed a bunch of the day 3 picks. He had Sanders, Bradham, and Carder dead to rights, and he picked Glenn the night before.
It’s absurd to grade a draft the day of, but I think they did pretty well overall. They don’t have any team-changers like Dareus, but they did improve at several positions of need and gained some important offensive line depth. I don’t see them as a playoff team, but 9-7 isn’t out of reach this year.