Projecting the 53-man roster

With the deadline to trim the roster to 75 looming (the Bills already dropped to 76), the remaining roster moves will come quickly once this week’s preseason game has passed.

The primary focus of this year’s camp has centered around the quarterback competition as EJ Manuel attempts to earn the role of starter as a rookie. However, both Manuel and Kevin Kolb are all but guaranteed to be in uniform and on the opening day roster when the Bills open against the Pats.

Positions like receiver, defensive line, corner and linebacker will be far different as the Bills 53-man roster shakes out and I’m hopeful that my projected 53-man roster is close to that of Doug Marrone’s. Continue reading

Bills 2012 Draft recap

Stephon Gilmore was a safe, but wise decision.

With the 2012 Draft wrapped up and rookie minicamp beginning in ten days, the Bills have rounded out their 90-man roster with nine draft picks and ten undrafted free agents.

Looking at the entire rookie class, it would appear as if the Bills took another step forward in solidifying the deficiencies they have had over the past few seasons. Buddy Nix has taken a clear path towards shoring up a porous defense and has been doing a fine job. A vast majority of his three draft classes have been defensive players and 2012 was no exception. Considering the 2010 draftees haven’t even reached full potential, it is difficult to say whether this is truly an adequate draft class or not. On the surface, it would seem like a win for the Bills.

While the Stephon Gilmore pick appears to have been made out of necessity rather than choice, Gilmore should be a fine starter for the Bills in no time. There is some fear surrounding him because he rose on many draft boards late in the process – all things being equal, there is probably just as much mystery surrounding late risers as there is for those who drop to later rounds. Regardless, the Bills were approaching critical mass with some of their corners, Gilmore immediately wipes cornerback out as a position with questionable depth.

The later rounds were far more friendly in terms of manageable depth and talent at multiple positions. Cordy Glenn meets the immediate need of a solid left tackle and is likely penciled in as the week one starter at this point. A one-time first round prospect, Glenn will have a battle with Chris Hairston on the left side, but should provide the Bills stability at tackle that has been lacking since Jason Peters departed.

Nix further solidified his tackle depth in the fifth round by taking Zebrie Sanders out of Florida State. This may turn out to be a better value pick than Glenn simply because of where the Bills got Sanders. Most draftniks pegged him as a right tackle who would go between the second or third rounds, but Buffalo managed to steal him in the fifth. Obviously there is some questions as to why he fell, but Buddy Nix answered those with Chris Brown recently.

Looking at Glenn as a left tackle and Sanders as a swing guy, the Bills tackle depth was immediately bolstered between Friday and Saturday. The two rookies join Hairston, Erik Pears and Sam Young as Buffalo’s bookends. Continue reading

Was the safe pick the right pick?

I’m going out on a limb and saying that the reports that Buffalo wanted to trade up to the third spot in the draft had some legs. I think it is also safe to assume that the Bills draft board probably had Matt Kalil, Mark Barron and Luke Kuechly all in the top three.

Of course, by the time the Bills ended up on the clock, all three of those players were gone. Buffalo chose cornerback, Stephon Gilmore with the tenth overall selection. Gilmore was described as a “clean pick” by The Buffalo News. As for if he was the right pick? That remains to be seen.

Based on Buffalo’s needs, I would think that Gilmore was little more than a safety blanket for the Bills in the event that their two most coveted picks had been taken. In this event, both Barron and Kuechly were off the board and the Browns likely offered more for the third pick than the Bills were willing to give up.

I’m ok with the idea that Gilmore makes the Bills a better team. Terrence McGee continues to struggle to stay healthy, Leodis McKelvin continues to prove his IQ is lower than that of most players coming out of Miami and securing another cornerstone for the defensive backfield is a beneficial choice.

Yet, when you consider the positions the Bills desperately need help at, I wonder how they feel about sticking with their guns and taking “the best player available”. Perhaps there wasn’t an offensive tackle worthy of the tenth pick, same with linebacker. However, Michael Floyd would have been a fine fit as would have a player like Melvin Ingram. The Giants have proven that you can never have enough elite pass rushers and I do fee that Ingram could stand up in the right scheme. Plus, he would’ve been wearing a Bills hat while doing this.

There is no shame in sticking to your guns. This is particularly true when not wanting to reach for a certain player in the top-10 ahemDolphinsahem. However, the Bills took a corner in the second round last season after having few options at other positions and they seem to have taken the same course of action this season. Continue reading