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Bills won't be cornered by need at 10

Posted Apr 18, 2012

Across the NFL this time of year the misinformation runs rampant. Bills GM Buddy Nix however, isn’t one who likes to participate in the art of deception. That’s why he along with his key personnel men weren’t shy in outlining some of Buffalo’s more pressing needs entering the 2012 NFL draft at the club’s draft luncheon Wednesday.

At the same time Nix maintained that the Bills won’t necessarily succumb solely to positional need with their top pick at 10th overall.

“Don’t get pinned down by connecting the dots,” Nix warned of the omnipresent mock drafts in cyberspace. “It’s fun and I enjoy reading it, but it’s fantasy football. It has nothing to do with what we might do. If a guy… I don’t care how many draftniks think that’s where we’re going and that’s the best pick for us. If that’s not the guy we have graded there we won’t take him. Don’t get yourself in a spot where it sounds like you know and it doesn’t work out that way.”

The general consensus is the Bills will take an offensive tackle at 10 and address other positional needs like cornerback, wide receiver and linebacker as the draft unfolds. Nix doesn’t deny that the team needs to make additions at offensive tackle, but won’t take one if the player grades don’t fit their draft position.

“We need tackles, but I want to make this clear,” said Nix. “We think Chris Hairston can play left tackle for us and win. He did it. He went in there and everybody says Fitz gets the ball out quick, and that’s true, but we run our offense with a lot of empty sets with five blockers, and if they bring six he better get it out quick or he’s going to get hit in the mouth. In this offense he has to get it out quick.

“Chris Hairston might not be the prettiest foot athlete, but he’s got so much length he can protect the back side. We’ve got (Erik) Pears and Sam Young is coming off of knee surgery. So that’s three tackles in the house and that’s not enough. We’d like to have two more.”

Buffalo’s personnel executives were asked about Stanford’s Jonathan Martin, Georgia’s Cordy Glenn and Iowa’s Riley Reiff as all three have been forecast as first round prospects.

“Jonathan Martin coming from Stanford is a highly intelligent guy,” said Bills Assistant GM Doug Whaley. “He’s a competitive guy. I think he’s a guy that has a chance to play both left and right tackle. So the versatility for him makes him very intriguing. Reiff is a competitor like most guys coming from Iowa. He’s well coached and most people believe in the pedigree at that school that those players can come in and be competitive right off the bat. Reiff can play both. You start him on the left and see how he goes from there.”

With respect to Glenn, Whaley was asked if the prospect’s could play left tackle since he played guard and tackle in college.

“For us a guy with that size and that type of foot athlete you try him out at tackle,” said Whaley. “We believe that he’s got a chance to play there and produce there at a high level.”

Nix and company also mentioned cornerback and wide receiver as positions they’d like to address with the talent capable of stepping in and competing right away.

“I will tell you this we do need (a receiver) and some speed outside,” Nix said. “We’ve got more than you think, but, it really would help Johnson outside and we know that.  Hopefully we can fill that need.

“We also need some depth in some places in the secondary and you’d always like to have a shut down corner that you can get and put over there to start with and not worry about that side. We will try to add some secondary guys.”

Regardless of the direction they take at 10 the ultimate aim is to land a player that helps the team sooner rather than later.

“You’d think at 10 you’d get a starter,” said Nix. “With us what we’d like to get is a difference maker or a playmaker or an impact guy. You should get a starter.”