Georgia Tech DT Logan Walls hopes to catch on with the Bills.
NFL rookie minicamps are such a tease. Fans get to see their teams’ newest players for the first time and daydream about how good the 2012 season is going to be.
After the strong draft the Buffalo Bills had, it’s safe to say that excitement is boiling in Buffalo.
Of course, the Bills’ actual draft choices will highlight their rookie minicamp, which is scheduled May 11th to May 13th. Players like Stephon Gilmore, Cordy Glenn, T.J. Graham, Ron Brooks and Tank Carder all figure to garner a lot of attention.
The minicamp will also feature undrafted rookie free agents that the Bills have signed. Some noteworthy names include quarterback Aaron Corp, cornerback Cris Hill, safety Delano Howell and running back Chris Douglas.
Even further down the list, though, are undrafted free agents that the Bills have invited to try out. The headliner name in this group of players is certainly the trick-shot quarterback Alex Tanney. (You can check out my take on him here in one of my previous articles.)
But there are intriguing players other than Tanney who will attend Buffalo’s rookie minicamp this weekend. Here are five of those players.
One advantage for Walls is that he’s played for a great program at Georgia Tech. And one person who knows all about that is head coach Chan Gailey.
Gailey will also like Walls’ character and attitude.
The former Yellow Jacket is similar in stature to Pro Bowler Kyle Williams at 6’2” and just about 300 pounds. He also plays with just as much heart.
Walls overcame heart surgery in 2008, an unfortunate yet fitting metaphor for how he plays the game. According to the Official Home of Georgia Tech Athletics, he became “a solid contributor as a redshirt freshman” after the incident, showing his fight and determination.
A scrappy 4-3 tackle, Walls also made the ACC All-Academic Team multiple times at Georgia Tech, which is certainly something the Bills’ front office will appreciate.
Highly effective at stopping the run, Walls will hope to impress at camp.
It’s not a good thing that Maine tight end Derek Buttles is coming off a shortened senior season due to a torn ACL , but it may have kept him off of other teams’ radars.
Buttles was expected to have a breakout season in 2011 before the injury, according to Pete Warner of the Bangor Daily News. The 6’5”, 240-pound pass-catching tight end finished his collegiate career with 62 catches for 796 yards and four touchdowns in 37 contests, per Warner. He was also named to the Consensus Draft Services Preseason All-American Second Team.
Though his total production came in scattered increments, Buttles had a lot of momentum going into his senior year. Had he remained healthy and capitalized on his final season, he may have been more heavily involved in draft talk.
Nonetheless, the Bills will try him out to give him that opportunity. Buttles has 4.8 speed with good hands and decent athleticism. Take a look at this beautiful touchdown grab in the back of the end zone (above video), which comes in at No. 9 of the 2010 CAA Football Top 10 Plays of the Year.
Another player out of Maine, wide receiver Derek Session has good size at 6’1”, 225 pounds. After running a 4.49 40-yard dash at his pro day and putting up 19 reps on the bench, he grabbed the Bills’ attention.
Session’s best season came in 2010 when he recorded 50 catches for 580 yards and a touchdown. That season earned him an All-CAA Football Third-Team selection, voted by the 10 CAA Football head coaches.
It’s also worth noting that Session is experienced running the ball, as he was initially listed as a fullback/H-back in college. In 2008, he rushed 74 times for 328 yards and five touchdowns. Then in 2009, he rushed 119 times for 479 yards and three touchdowns.
Buffalo may be intrigued with Session’s offensive versatility. With career averages of 10.3 yards per catch and 4.3 yards per rush attempt, he has a lot to offer.
Former Kansas State standout Emmanuel Lamur is listed as a linebacker with the Bills, but he also played quite a bit of defensive back in college.
A bit of a tweener, Lamur is 6’4” and 232 pounds. He’s pretty tall for a safety but a bit undersized for a linebacker at the next level. If he can add a little bulk and retain his speed, he could be a nice project, though, on the outside in the 4-3.
Lamur ran a 4.63 40-time at the Wildcats’ pro day. He was voted team captain by his teammates and offers versatility where the Bills like to utilize it (that safety-linebacker range).
In 2009, he led the team in tackles with 68 and also recorded three interceptions in Big 12 play, which was good enough to tie for fifth in the conference. As a versatile player with leadership qualities, Buffalo will give him a good look.
Gino Crump transferred from West Virginia to Arizona and was a walk-on for the Wildcats in 2009. He showed enough potential to earn a spot at a pretty deep position. At 6’2”, 210 pounds, he offers good size as a potential outside receiver.
According to Ryan Finley of the Arizona Daily Star, Crump has always shown flashes but never really put it all together. The receiver admitted he matured a lot at Arizona, working to “get the little things right,” both on and off the field as he dedicated himself to improving not only his technique, but also his grades.
Finley calls Crump a “physical” and “aggressive” receiver who was “one of the Wildcats’ toughest competitors.” In addition, "Crump spent the offseason working on strengthening his hands, a drill that should help him hang on to passes thrown his way," according to Finley.
The Bills hope that with his new-found sense of dedication, Crump can finally begin to reach his full potential.
Just as he did at Arizona, Crump enters a similarly deep wide receiver battle with the Bills, so it will be interesting to see if he’s up to the challenge.