After starting out the offseason as the surprise of the NFL with the additions of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, the Buffalo Bills continued into the 2012 NFL draft.
General Manager Buddy Nix went into the draft with teams baffled. The Bills liked everybody, which meant no team or fan could guess what the Bills would do with their first pick.
The Bills needed to fill a few holes with offensive line, cornerback, wide receiver, linebacker and quarterback. They did just that.
The Bills' first pick, Stephon Gilmore, from the University of South Carolina, will be a legitimate factor for the starting job when training camp rolls around. With Drayton Florence and Terrence McGee getting older, the Bills need somebody who can take over to solidify the cornerback position.
The Bills' biggest problem last year was injuries and many of those injuries came from the offensive line. The Bills made it their top priority to draft linemen. The Bills drafted two potential starters. Buffalo used its next pick on Cordy Glenn, a mammoth tackle from the University of Georgia who should be a contender for either guard or tackle.
Zebrie Sanders from Florida State, a prospect who can play either right or left tackle, was the 144th pick. Mark Asper, the 178th pick from the University of Oregon, will add depth at the guard or center position. With these additions, the Bills shouldn't have to run a quick pass attack; they can give quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick more time to find a receiver down field.
I cannot get my head around the Bills' third-round pick. The Bills traded up two spots to get T.J. Graham; many sources had him being drafted in the fifth to seventh rounds. Graham, a track star at N.C. State, ran a stunning 4.41 at the combine. He is a dangerous deep threat and a kick returner -- something Buffalo hasn't had in a while.
In the fourth and fifth rounds, the Bills went after linebackers. Nigel Bradham, selected 105th from Florida State, is an explosive outside linebacker and should be able to compete right away for playing time. Tank Carder, from TCU, was taken as the 147th pick. Carder was one of my favorite prospects coming into the draft; he is a very good leader on the field and has great instincts for the game, which should give him a role on the Bills defense this season.
In addition to Gilmore, the Bills selected LSU corner Ron Brooks 124th overall. He lacks the size of a starting corner but can flat out fly. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds. He can be plugged in as a slot corner and possibly become a returner. With Graham and Brooks, other teams will have trouble coping with their speed.
For their final selection, the Bills chose kicker John Potter from Western Michigan.
"This guy is a kickoff guy. He kicked through the uprights kicking off and if you can make or kick the ball in the end zone and make them start on the 20 it gives you a much better chance defensively," Nix said during a news conference.
The Bills did not select a quarterback in the draft, but on Sunday signed Aaron Corp from Richmond University. Corp is a fast quarterback and might be Buffalo's development quarterback under Fitzpatrick.
All in all, the Bills filled all of their needs. With more defensive prospects to add to their new front four, the Bills should be a contender in the AFC East next season.
Keith Latta is a sophomore at Newfane High School.