Their target? North Carolina State wide receiver T.J. Graham.
Clearly, GM Buddy Nix and the Bills had a guy in mind they truly coveted, since Nix hates giving up draft picks to move up and rarely does so. For whatever reason, they didn’t feel comfortable waiting two more slots for the speedster Graham, so they made a move to secure him.
On the surface, the selection is the first head-scratcher of the draft for Buffalo, who had, up until this pick, really nailed Rounds 1 and 2. But to move up for someone like Graham doesn’t scream good value. If anything, it seems like they could have sat back and grabbed him with their original pick.
At 5’11” and 188 pounds, Graham doesn’t appear to fit the mold of what the Bills were supposedly looking for in a complement to Steve Johnson, which was a big, physical deep threat. At first glance, he seems a little small and that he could possibly be reserved to the slot.
However, according to Bills lead journalist Chris Brown on Twitter, head coach Chan Gailey disagrees.
Gailey said that he views Graham as an outside receiver. Per Brown, he believes “Graham’s frame can handle the physical corners in the NFL.”
ESPN’s Todd McShay also praised the former track star during live coverage of the draft, calling him one of the most underrated wideouts in this class.
Graham ran a 4.36 40-yard dash at the combine, showing off the blazing speed which enables him to stretch the field vertically both outside and out of the slot. He can help take the top off of the defense, and he’ll push for a starting job returning punts and kicks from Week 1.
WGR 550 Buffalo’s Joe Buscaglia calls him “a very shifty route runner” who not only has straight line speed but also plays extremely fast on the field.
Maybe Buffalo is right on Graham. Bills fans certainly hope so.
He fits the need for a downfield playmaker, though he doesn’t have the size to go up and grab balls over defensive backs. Also, it’s unclear as of now exactly why the Bills traded up for him. Granted, they only gave up a seventh-rounder, but it’s a pick nonetheless.
For those reasons, Round 3 receives an optimistic B-.
Looking ahead to the third and final day of the draft, Buffalo still has some holes to fill.
Unfortunately, the team missed out on a few quarterbacks already, including Brock Osweiler, Russell Wilson and Nick Foles. Will they go after small-school prospect B.J. Coleman?
The Bills also need to establish depth at linebacker, and Round 4 seems like a logical place to start.
Finally, Nix has stated throughout the offseason that the team plans to add two corners and two offensive tackles in the draft. So far they’ve taken one of each.
Troy’s offensive tackle James Brown is still on the board, as is Mississippi’s Bobby Massie, UAB’s Matt McCants and Auburn’s Brandon Mosley.
At corner, there are a lot of quality players still available. One late-round prospect to monitor is West Virginia’s Keith Tandy who, like Stephon Gilmore, used to play quarterback in high school.
Buffalo could also target a center at some point to back up starter Eric Wood.
With just one more day to round out the draft, the Buffalo Bills are getting back to work in preparation for a successful day three.