Field Goals: Linebackers shaping up

Now that Bills training camp is truly up and running – it is closer to the end than the beginning, actually – it seems like a safe time to look into a few more position battles.

One of the most intriguing positions on the roster is linebacker. While the Bills re-vamped defensive line has fans and media drooling over the potential they may hold this season, the linebacking corps leave something to be desired.

Entering camp, the Bills base defense would start Kelvin Sheppard at mike with Nick Barnett on the weakside and Kirk Morrison on the strong side. However, as Joe Buscaglia reported today, it seems as if Arthur Moats has the inside track on the starting strong side position.

Moats, who also received some complimentary press last week, appears to have finally settled into a position that suits his skillset as a somewhat undersized pass rusher. After originally being slated as an inside backer in the 3-4 after his draft year, Moats floated to the outside and gained instant fandom for his hit on Brett Favre. However, he still struggled to see playing time since his 6’0” frame is not ideal for and outside linebacker position in a 3-4.

For than matter, his size isn’t ideal as a defensive end in a 4-3 either. Although he does have the pass rushing skillset that is desired from a rush linebacker in an even set.

However, Moats’ promotion shouldn’t be welcomed with sunshine and lollypops. It is not much different than if a late round pick or undrafted free agent managed to earn regular playing time. Simply put, it isn’t necessarily an ideal situation. 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