A Review of the Bills 2012 Draft Class

Editor’s note: Brian Quinlan returns to the Bills Mafia blog with his analysis of this past weekend’s draft class for the Bills. A highly regarded fantasy pundit on Twitter and avid Bills fan, Brian brings a passion for the team and great mind for statistics analysis.

Trying to predict who professional football evaluators are going to pick in the NFL draft is a useless exercise. Well maybe not useless as there is entertainment value in the mock drafts that lead up to the real thing. Now that it’s been a few days since the spectacle that is the real NFL draft is over and perhaps some of the post draft high has worn off I think its time to review. For the record I’m not into giving grades without these guys actually playing a game yet so I’ll stick to a Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down system. Remind me to give out grades in 3 years when everything shakes out.

Gilmore was a solid pick and if he doesn’t begin the season as a starter the chances are good he ends it as one. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Gilmore was a solid pick and if he doesn’t begin the season as a starter the chances are good he ends it as one.
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

First Round
Pick 1.10 (10) CB Stephon Gilmore 6’1” 190Lbs – Going into the draft I felt that the offensive line was the biggest need for the Bills, so naturally I had mocked an OT to the Bills with this pick. Buffalo also had needs at WR and in the secondary. The Bills gave up 30 TDs through the air last year only the Vikings and Raiders gave up more. Buddy Nix has already said Gilmore has the ability to start as a rookie and having started 40 games for the Gamecocks. Gilmore is a very good cover corner and is aggressive against the run. He needs to improve in man coverage and get more accustomed to pressing, but that will come with next level coaching. This was a solid pick and if he doesn’t begin the season as a starter I’d bet he ends it as one.
Grade – Thumbs up

Second Round
Pick 2.09 (41) OT/OG Cordy Glenn 6’5” 350Lbs – I was surprised Glenn made it to Buffalo in the 2nd round. This guy has all the measurables the Bills were looking for in an offensive lineman. He’s got size, speed (5th fastest OL at the combine), and having started 50 games in the SEC he has experience. He’s also versatile having played both guard and tackle. While I have often made fun of the arm length argument it is worth noting Glenn has a 36-inch wingspan. If he didn’t weight 350LBs he might actually be able to fly. He still needs work, but is a steal for Buffalo in the 2nd round.
Grade – 2 Thumbs Up

The Bills are hoping T.J. Graham can stretch the field and give them the deep threat they’ve been missing. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
The Bills are hoping T.J. Graham can stretch the field and give them the deep threat they’ve been missing.
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Third Round
Pick 3.06 (69) WR T.J. Graham 5’11” 190LBs – The Bills gave away the 7.10 pick to move for 71 to 69 to grab Graham. Buddy Nix said they were “riverboat gamblers” with that move alluding to the possibility that the Jags were going to take Graham. My being critical here is not because I don’t think Graham can be a valuable contributor to the team, I’m critical because moving up to get him made no sense. Graham needs to work on running routes and he could stand to gain 10-12 pounds to help withstand the rigors of life in the NFL, but the one thing he has is speed. Clocking in at 4.4 seconds for the 40 the Bills are hoping he can stretch the field and give the Bills the deep threat they’ve been missing.
Grade – Thumbs Down

Fourth Round
Pick 4.10 (105) LB Nigel Bradham 6’2” 240LBs – The Bills add LB depth in the 4th round with a guy some scouts had ranked as 3rd round talent. Bradham stayed healthy through college leading the FSU Seminoles in tackles for 3 straight years, 305 total, and added 21.5 tackles for loss and 9 sacks. Bradham turned in a solid Senior Bowl and combine performance, which really helped his stock. I expect he will contribute more as a rookie on special teams than defense, but he could be the eventual replacement for Kirk Morrison.
Grade – Thumbs Up

Pick 4.29 (124) CB Ron Brooks 5’10” 190LBs – Brooks is an intriguing pick. He only started 3 games in college playing behind Patrick Peterson then Morris Claiborne. While he may have only started 3 games he played in 53 during his time at LSU. Yet another rookie the Bills brought in that have played a lot of ball in college. With McGee and Florence on the wrong side of young the Bills added more depth at CB with a guy who will also contribute on special teams.
Grade – Thumbs Up

Fifth Round
Pick 5.09 (144) OT Zebrie Sanders 6’6” 320LBs – Played both right and left tackle at FSU. Started 50 games in college. That alone makes him an attractive pick in the 5th round. He needs to improve in pass protection, but in the Bills system that may not be as big an issue as would be in other offenses. Sanders is an intelligent, athletic player that can grow into being a productive pro.
Grade – Thumbs Up

Tank Carder is a smart player with a no quit attitude. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Tank Carder is a smart player with a no quit attitude. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Pick 5.12 (147) LB Tank Carder 6’2” 235LBs – As a 7th grader Tank was involved is a serious car accident that resulted in a punctured diaphragm, broken ribs, and such extensive internal injuries that he was placed on blood thinners for a year. Carder eventually overcame his injuries and became a 7 time national BMX champion before turning back to football and earning a scholarship at TCU.

While there are some injury concerns after breaking his back in college among various other nagging issues he still managed to play in 50 games at TCU starting 39 of them. He is a smart player with a no quit attitude and while he may never earn a starting job, he will never stop trying.
Grade – Thumbs Up

Sixth Round
Pick 6.08 (178) OG Mark Asper 6’6” 320LBs – If nothing else Asper brings maturity to the 2012 Bills draft class. He spent 2 years on a religious mission before college and now enters the NFL as a 26 year old father of two. Played both right guard and right tackle in 47 games at Oregon. His size and versatility add much needed depth to the offensive line.
Grade – Thumbs Up

Seventh Round
Pick 7.44 (251) K John Potter 6’1” 220LBs – Well he’s a kicker with a big leg. He had 36 touchbacks in college as a senior at Western Kentucky. In the battle of field position Potter may turn out to be the Bills’ secret weapon.
Grade – Thumbs Up

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