Buffalo Bills 2012 NFL Draft Picks: Grades, Results and Analysis

Erik Frenz@ErikFrenzSenior Writer IApril 26, 2012

Buffalo Bills 2012 NFL Draft Picks: Grades, Results and Analysis

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    The lucky number for the Buffalo Bills in the 2012 NFL Draft was 10. They entered the draft as one of the biggest chip holders, with the No. 10 overall pick and bearing 10 total selections to their name.

    It's no surprise, then, that they were able to make so many solid additions to their roster.

    In case you got lost in the shuffle, we were following along here with all the news on the Bills draft selections, trades and all the moves as they went down. 

    Click through for scouting reports, reactions and grades for all of the Bills moves in the draft.

First Round, Pick 10: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

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    With Luke Kuechly off the board, Gilmore was an obvious pick for some, although others would have considered Floyd the pick here.

    Scouting Report

    Gilmore's name hadn't been connected to the Bills much in the pre-draft run-up, even though I ranked him at No. 8 on the Bills top 15 big board.

    Gilmore is a cornerstone cornerback for a completely revamped defense. He is a ball hawk, with four interceptions last season and eight in his career. What's more, he's versatile, with the ability to play inside and outside.

    Wes Bunting of National Football Post has some nits to pick with Gilmore's game, but points out that he should be a starter:

    Is a "plus" sized corner with good quickness and fluidity. Needs to clean up his footwork in off/zone concepts, but has skill set to play near the line, check receivers and turn and run. Should be able to fight for a starting role during his rookie year in more of a zone scheme.

    B/R's resident draft guru Matt Miller compared Gilmore to Johnathan Joseph, pointing out that Gilmore "uses his hands and lower body to not only redirect the receiver, but to turn and keep up in coverage."

    For more scouting analysis on Gilmore, click here.

    Pick Grade: A-

    Cornerback was a huge position of need, with age and lack of talent creeping up on them. They also have to face Tom Brady twice a year, and really needed to add to the secondary.

    The Bills addressed that need with the second-best prospect at his position. If Gilmore is who they think he is, the Bills have completely revamped their defense for the next three to five years.

Second Round, Pick 41: Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia

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    The Bills went with a defensive back in the first round, leaving the two biggest needs at wide receiver and offensive tackle unfilled. They took care of one of those with the Cordy Glenn pick.

    Scouting Report

    Glenn is considered more of a right tackle than a left tackle, but he could play guard as well. Either way, the Bills add depth on the offensive line. After injuries crippled them up front, it was a pick that had to be made.

    Wes Bunting of National Football Post has him listed as a guard despite having played mostly tackle at Georgia. From Bunting:

    Had had some struggles in space as a tackle prospect, but in tighter areas where he can get his hands on linemen quickly as a guard he showcases the ability to dominate. Looks like a starting caliber OG early in his NFL career.

    His starting experience all over the offensive line, according to CBS Sports.

    Glenn went on to tie a school record with 50 total starts, including 28 at left guard, 18 at left tackle and four at right guard.

    For a more in-depth scouting report on Glenn, click here.

    Pick grade: A-

    The Bills address a big need for an offensive linemen with a big prospect at 346 pounds with almost 36" arms. Better than all of that, he has a wealth of quality experience under his belt playing, and starting in the SEC.

    Whether he's a fit or not at offensive tackle doesn't make much of a difference. The lack of depth on the offensive line was exposed last season, and could use a big body to rotate in and open things up for the running game.

Third Round, Pick 69: T.J. Graham, WR, North Carolina State

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    This is the first "who?" pick of the Bills draft.

    But wide receiver is an undeniable need for the team after failing to produce explosive plays in the passing game down the stretch in 2011; the Bills averaged the fifth-worst yards per catch total of 10.8 on average.

    Scouting Report

    At 6'0" and 180 pounds, T.J. Graham isn't exactly the big imposing threat outside the numbers Bills fans may have been hoping for.

    But this from Wes Bunting of National Football Post should have Bills fans a little bit happier about the pick: "Did a better job catching the football this year and has the straight-line speed to get a look as an inside vertical route runner. "

    In terms of the Bills' need for a dynamic threat in the passing game, his comparisons to 49ers receiver Ted Ginn, Jr. should help Bills' fans sleep tonight.

    NFL draft lead blogger Sigmund Bloom says Graham is "small, and defensive backs in the NFL will probably push him around" but adds that he can threaten defenses deep and "occasionally reel in the long touchdown."

    For further scouting analysis on Graham, click here.

    Pick grade: C+

    There's no reason not to buy into Graham as a fit for the Bills offense. They already have plenty of big threats in the passing game, with the 6'4" David Nelson and 6'5" Scott Chandler, and now they have a deep threat in Graham.

    He may take a little polish before he's ready to contribute heavily to an NFL team, but for now, he provides the big play threat the Bills sorely need.

Fourth Round, Pick 105: Nigel Bradham, LB, Florida State

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    With this pick, the Bills officially hit on all of their biggest needs as I wrote about earlier this offseason.

    And they did it with a guy who fits their system, at the very least.

    Scouting Report

    Bradham has been compared to linebacker Ernie Sims by B/R NFL editor Michael Schottey because, "like Sims, Bradham has an intriguing skill set and prototypical athleticism for a linebacker; however, his slight frame and lack of linebacker instincts and high football intelligence projects him as a fringe starter at the next level."

    Here's what ESPN's scouting report said of Bradham's physical attributes:

    Has prototypical WLB build and extremely long arms for the position (33 3/4') and massive hands (10 1/2'). Top-end speed is good for that position, as well.

    We get even more insight from Wes Bunting of National Football Post:

    Is a physically built backer who can run and play in pursuit. However, he's tighter in the hips and isn't real instinctive. Needs to play OLB only in the NFL in more of a run and hit scheme as he won't be able to handle much volume. Has the talent to start, but might not ever live up to his skill set because of awareness problems. 

    Click here for more scouting analysis on Bradham.

    Pick Grade: B-

    Bradham has the sideline-to-sideline speed that the Bills are looking for at linebacker, and though they have a solid trio of starters in Kirk Morrison, Nick Barnett and Kelvin Sheppard, depth and youth could both be used at the spot.

    He'll need to be coached up, though, and with marginal football intelligence, the question is whether or not that's in his future.

Fourth Round, Pick 124: Ron Brooks, CB, LSU

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    More depth for a big-time position of need; this is the area where you are looking for players who can find a way onto the roster, and Brooks has the type of versatility that will help him be on the right side of the bubble.

    What's more, his competition for roster spots shouldn't be too difficult.

    Scouting Report

    Brooks may be a little short for the part at 5'10", but he has the physical traits to hang with the best of them, running a 4.4-second 40-yard dash at the combine and logging a 38" vertical jump.

    Brooks has been compared to Dolphins defensive back Richard Marshall by Sigmund Bloom, who says Brooks is, "very athletic with great hands and an aggressive hitting mentality; he can play all over the secondary, but coaches still aren't sure if he has a natural position."

    This from Pro Football Weekly:

    Talented, versatile cornerback who was overshadowed in college football’s deepest secondary full of NFL draft picks, but was productive on special teams and has ample translatable physical traits. Sub-package player and standout “gunner” who could be a value selection.

    Pick grade: A-

    He contributed to the SEC champion LSU Tigers, but without starting experience, there wasn't enough tape on him to get him drafted higher. That will happen, though, when you're behind top-10 selections Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne on the depth chart.

    His versatility will prove to be a great tool for a secondary in need of talent anywhere on the back end.

    The Bills add a great deal of athleticism to a position they sorely needed to find long-term solutions. Look for Brooks to push the likes of Leodis McKelvin and Terrence McGee for playing time as a rookie. Facing Tom Brady twice a year, you can never have enough capable cornerbacks.

Fifth Round, Pick 144: Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State

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    Depth at offensive tackle was a huge need for the Bills entering the draft, and they've now double-dipped on the position in 2012.

    Scouting Report

    Zebrie Sanders is described by Wes Bunting as, "A natural athlete who can bend and is athletic. However, struggles with power and makes too many lineman look like good pass rushers toward the edge because of it. Needs to get stronger to have a chance."

    Matt Miller compares Sanders to Titans right tackle David Steward, saying that his size and strength should help him play that spot a bit better than at the left tackle spot, where he was forced to play due to injuries along Florida State's offensive line. 

    For more scouting analysis on Sanders, click here.

    Pick grade: A-

    With some work in the weight room, the Bills could develop Sanders into solid depth. With the addition of Cordy Glenn and the return of Chris Hairston and others, there won't be much pressure on Sanders from the start. Low-risk, high-reward pick.

Fifth Round, Pick 147: Tank Carder, ILB, TCU

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    The Bills clearly know what their positions of need are, and are borrowing a page from the Patriots book by grabbing multiple prospects at each spot to improve their chances of finding fits.

    Scouting Report

    Sigmund Bloom compares Carder to Pat Angerer—not a glowing comparison, but an accurate one. Sigmund says he's a "quarterback of the defense," and adds, "he's aggressive with great instincts, and he moves very well. He is a bit small, and he can get caught up in the wash."

    He's also been a leader for the Horned Frogs as they've risen to prominence over the years, and was the two-time Mountain West defensive player of the year.

    This from FFToolBox.com:

    Carder plays well in short zone assignments and can seal the edge. If he is running in a straight line, he can keep up with most receivers. When asked to change directions though, he loses a step. Overall, he deserves a shot and could end up a special teams standout.

    For more scouting analysis on Carder, click here.

    Pick grade: B+

    As the Bills transition to the 4-3 defense, adding more of the small linebackers who can cover and tackle is an important issue to address. Age is creeping up on their linebacking corps, and while Carder may not be a three-down solution, he can provide youth and depth, and could potentially contribute in sub package defense.

    He's a heady, instinctive player that adds those qualities to an athletically revamped front seven.

Sixth Round, Pick 178: Mark Asper, G, Oregon

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    The selection of Mark Asper marks three offensive linemen in this draft for the Bills. I think they knew it was a position of need, and after the way their 2011 season ended, they also understand that you can never have too much depth at the position.

    Scouting Report

    Asper is already 27 years old, going on 28, and was excluded from the scouting combine with a hip injury according to Pro Football Weekly.

    From Wes Bunting:

    Displays decent short area quickness on the move when asked to step and seal. Uses his long arms to get into defenders and when he gets his hands on you he works hard to stick through contact. But he struggles with leverage, gets upright on contact and isn't a guy who creates much of a snap at the point of attack.

    And from NFL.com:

    Asper shifted between the guard and tackle positions at Oregon as team needs dictated, playing as a guard in his senior year. All teams will love his athletic ability and experience playing in space in the Oregon spread-option attack. But he missed school for two years while on a religious mission, and potential employers will be split about his relatively advanced age (27). Some will see it as a sign of maturity, while others will fear he is already well into his prime.

    Pick grade: B+

    There are worse ways to miss two seasons, to be sure, but in the fifth round, Asper's value is just about right.

    He has quality starting experience at Oregon, with a Week 1 start at right tackle and then 13 consecutive starts at right guard. He may not get to start in the NFL, but he will bring his high character to the locker room as a backup at a position of need. 

Seventh Round, Pick 251: John Potter, K, Western Michigan

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    What is there to say about a seventh-round kicker?

    Scouting Report

    Well...scouting reports on kickers, for whatever strange reason, are pretty hard to come by. In fact, most of the scouting websites I check didn't have anything but name, height, weight and school on Potter.

    But his stat sheet tells some of the story. He's made 26 of 34 kicks (74.7 percent) in the past two seasons, and hasn't missed a single PAT.

    Pick grade: A

    At 35 years old, Rian Lindell's career may or may not be closer to the end than the beginning. Taking a flier on a kicker in the seventh round is a no-risk high-reward move if they have found their guy to take his spot in time. That clearly isn't going to be Dave Rayner.

Buffalo Bills 2012 NFL Draft Report Card

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    Bills pre-draft needs: WR, CB, OT, LB

    First Round, Pick 10: Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

    Grade: A-

    Facing Tom Brady twice a year is getting aggravating. With a revamped pass rush, the next logical step was to revamp the secondary. Gilmore has shutdown cornerback upside and will immediately contribute in zone schemes.

    Second Round, Pick 41: Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia

    Grade: A-

    Glenn came into the draft as a projected first to second round talent, and the Bills didn't want to miss the opportunity to add a potential starter at a position of need. Their lack of depth at offensive tackle was exposed last year. 

    Third Round, Pick 69: T.J. Graham, WR, North Carolina State

    Grade: C+

    A lack of explosive targets in the passing game was another reason for the downfall of the 2011 Bills, and Graham averaged 16.5 yards per reception and ran a blazing 4.35-second 40-yard dash at the combine. Shot of adrenaline for the Bills offense. Many thought he'd be available in the seventh round or as a UDFA.

    Fourth Round, Pick 105: Nigel Bradham, LB, Florida State

    Grade: B-

    The Bills have their starting linebacker trio for next year, but the long term future at linebacker is uncertain. Bradham has experience in their defense and is every bit the athlete that new defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt looks for at linebacker.

    Fourth Round, Pick 124: Ron Brooks, CB, LSU

    Grade: A-

    Getting buried by Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne on LSU's depth chart was enough to push Brooks into the fourth round, but wasn't enough to make people forget just how talented he is.

    Fifth Round, Pick 144: Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State

    Grade: A-

    Double-dipping at a position of need is a wise move, and Sanders comes with starting experience for a big time football program.

    Fifth Round, Pick 147: Tank Carder, ILB, TCU

    Grade: B+

    Carder will immediately contribute on special teams, and could eventually fight for a role in the sub package defense or maybe even in the base if he can bulk up a little bit.

    Sixth Round, Pick 178: Mark Asper, G, Oregon

    Grade: B+

    He started at Oregon, but he won't be starting in the NFL anytime soon. That's no matter, because the Bills need depth on the inside of their offensive line one way or the other; better to get someone with experience.

    Seventh Round, Pick 251: John Potter, K, Western Michigan

    Grade: A

    A flier pick at a position where the Bills need a long term answer behind the 35-year-old Rian Lindell.

    Overall Draft Grade: A

    Positions of need were addressed multiple times over. The Bills didn't make any real head-scratching picks aside from T.J. Graham. No major gripes with their draft overall. 


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