As the NFL Draft draws near, both media and fans can’t get enough information from their favorite teams as we all try and decipher comments from General Manager’s and scouts in an effort to figure out who they’ll be selecting.
Bills G-M Buddy Nix was on the WGR morning show on Thursday with Joe Buscaglia and me and what I heard was a team that will not likely trade down from the tenth pick and will likely select a cornerback.
On the topic of trading down, we asked Nix if he was sure there will be a guy the Bills love when they are on the board. “100%”, Nix responded. “I’d say 100% that there’ll be one there we like. I think there’s at least 10 top players and with 9 picks before us, one of them will be there.
For those of you who believe the Bills will take a wide receiver with their first pick, you might feel differently based on Nix’s comments: “Look at the number of wide receivers that play great in the league and when they were drafted. Stevie Johnson was a 7th rounder, Victor Cruz was a free agent. Those guys come up every year. We think you can get a good sized, speed receiver in the 3rd or 4th round.”
What about offensive tackle? Nix was asked his opinion of the depth at that position in the 2012 draft class: “I think its better than a lot of people say it is and its better than it normally is. Normally you got 3 or 4 guys that can come in and play and we think there’s twice as many this year. So if we don’t get one at 10, we got a chance to get one after that.”
The full Buddy Nix interview:
That brings us to cornerback which might not be on your mind as much as wide receiver or left tackle but it is an area of need. Drayton Florence had an up and down 2011 season. Former first round pick Leodis Mckelvin is entering the final year of his contract and has not given the Bills any reason to believe he should be re-signed. Terrence McGee was re-signed but has been unable to stay healthy the last few years. Nix said you should draft a cornerback every year because it is the hardest position to play on the defensive side of the ball.
“Its guys going up against an elite athlete with great speed”, the G-M said on WGR. “He’s got to react to what the guy(receiver) does and he’s on an island out there. If he messes up everybody knows it. Its mental plus physical.”
If corner is the pick, and the Bills have taken a cornerback with their first round pick 6 times going back to the 1990 draft, there are 2 possibilities. Stephon Gillmore who is 6-1, 190 and played at South Carolina and 6 foot 2, 200 pound Dre Kirkpatrick from Alabama.
Nix on Gillmore: “Big, strong kid, great speed. This guy is a very good tackler, a very good run player which is unusual for a lot of them. He can play man and is strong enough and big enough to play bump and run.”
Nix on Kirkpatrick: “Tremendous ability. For a guy his size he’s a short armed guy and that might work against him a little bit but he makes up for it with his feet and tenacity.” Nix added Kirkpatrick is also good in run support.
There is a potential red flag on Kirkpatrick. In January he was arrested and charged with possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana. Kirkpatrick was a passenger in a truck driven by a former Alabama player who was pulled over for driving on the wrong side of the road. The marijuana was found on the floorboard of the passenger side at Kirkpatrick’s feet. But the decision was made not to prosecute.
Nix said the Bills researched the incident as much as you possibly can. When it comes to any player with a character question, Nix said it comes down to whether or not you feel you can trust that player. If you can’t then you probably don’t draft him.
We asked Nix if he feels he can trust Kirkpatrick. “Yes, I do”, he answered immediately. “I think he made a mistake, was at the wrong place at the wrong time but he’s a solid person and has been at Alabama.