1. Ed’s got the horses in the back
While it’s no secret that Bills first-round draft pick Ed Oliver has a passion for horseback riding, it’s interesting to note that the Houston product has four of his own: April, Sugar, Coffee and Caledonia. During his visit to One Bills Drive on Friday, April 26, Oliver was eager to talk about his off the field hobby. In fact, the topic came up several times including his Q&A segment with Bills Insider Chris Brown and during his introductory press conference with the Buffalo media.
“You know what’s crazy? I got on my horse the day of the draft,” said Oliver. “That morning, I wanted to go ride horses because it just eased my nerves. That whole day, I was relaxed. I wanted to go ride horses a little bit in the morning time, kind of get away a little bit. But when I came back to the Draft, I was fine. Got dressed, went out there. I wasn’t nervous one bit.”
2. Passing the torch
It was a question that developed before the news of Kyle Williams’ retirement was even official, who would replace the longtime defensive tackle? On the first night of the NFL Draft, not only did the team address the position, things came full circle.
During what was surely a whirlwind for Oliver, the rookie was greeted to a congratulatory text message from Williams himself.
“Actually, Kyle Williams hit me up last night and was basically letting me know that everything was going to be all right and if I needed anything, to hit him up,” said Oliver on Friday. “I told him that I wanted to pick his brain a little bit, see what kept him around for so long, see if he has anything he can teach me.”
In what was essentially a passing of the proverbial torch, Oliver was grateful but remained humble.
“What do I think when I hear that I’m Kyle Williams’ replacement? I think that Kyle Williams is a great player,” he said. “I think Kyle Williams will wear a gold jacket one day. I just want to come in and compete and help the team in any way possible. I don’t even think about that. Kyle Williams is in a league of his own that I haven’t even come close to touching. I just want to come in and compete.”
3. All the feels
Draft night is special for several reasons. Not only is it a memorable time for NFL hopefuls, it’s unforgettable for their family members and friends. For Cody Ford, there was one person he wished could attend his big moment – his grandfather, who passed away a few years ago. One of Ford’s best friends, his hero and a lifelong mentor, the Oklahoma product honored his grandfather the night he was drafted. Carrying with him a photo of his pal, Ford posed with it in Nashville.
4. Trendy in the trenches
Bills new offensive lineman Cody Ford has quite the beard. A topic he discussed a few times after being drafted by Buffalo in the second round, Ford has always taken fondly to his facial hair – especially in high school when it was against the rules to have one.
“We had rules against facial hair in high school,” I don’t know why, he explained during an interview with Chris Brown. “I remember one time, one of the teachers I asked her ‘Why can’t we have facial hair’ and she said it was distraction. I didn’t understand it.”
From then, Ford took great pride in his beard and in his hairdos. He once even sported a blonde mohawk. Inspired by Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Ford explained that he grew out his hair to fully develop the look and then cut it a few years ago when he was in college.
Now that he’s in the NFL, it’ll be interesting to see how Ford’s hairstyle evolves.
5. A jack of all trades
When the Bills selected Dawson Knox in the third round, they got a very versatile player. A former Ole Miss tight end, Knox started his football career as a signal caller. Switching to the tight end position during his redshirt year when he was a freshman, Knox took everyone by surprise, earning himself a starting role. An all-around athlete, Knox was also known for his track and field skills in high school – a sport that he was a three-year letterman. To top it all off, the Brentwood, Tennessee, native can also say that he won his high school’s dunk contest.
6. Brains and brawn
With a nickname like ‘Motor,’ Buffalo’s third-round draft choice Devin Singletary’s work ethic is well documented. Not only does the Florida Atlantic alumnus have an impressive football resume – one that includes earning Conference USA MVP Honors in 2017 – he also has a knack for academics. A Public Safety and Administration major, Singletary has plans to put his degree to good use after his football career. The running back even wants to open his own business.
7. Humble beginnings
For Bills linebacker Vosean Joseph, football is much more than a sport – it’s a way to pay tribute to the friends he has lost. Motivated by unfortunate circumstances, such as the untimely death of one of his longtime friends, Joseph vowed to put his athletic ability to good use in order to make something positive of his life. Determined to escape the dangers of his hometown, Joseph elected to attend Florida for college where his hard work culminated in success on and off the field.
8. A few degrees of separation
Bills newest safety Jaquan Johnson, is a Miami kid through and through. Born and raised in the Florida city, Johnson’s football career also bloomed there. Before his days as a Miami Hurricane, Johnson attended Miami Killian Senior High School – a place that is very familiar to another one of Buffalo’s players, Frank Gore. Signed by the Bills during free agency, Gore’s son, Frank Gore Jr., is currently a running back at Killian. When Johnson was selected, Gore took to Twitter to congratulate him.
9. A fitting nickname
Darryl Johnson, Buffalo’s first of two seventh-round draft picks this year, became just the third player from his alma mater to be drafted in three years. During his time playing college ball at North Carolina A&T, Johnson made quite a splash, making it all he more special that his nickname is “Bam.” A name that he uses on both his Twitter and Instagram accounts, “Bam” is excited to get to work for the Bills.
10. Earned his stripes
Bills’ final draft selection, Boston College tight end Tommy Sweeney, was not always viewed as an NFL caliber player. Even during his early days at Boston College, Sweeney struggled to establish himself as a mainstay in the offense. However, things changed dramatically for Sweeney before his college football days were over. Taking his game to the next level, he climbed the ranks and even received first team All-ACC honors in 2017. His contributions resulted in an invitation to the Senior Bowl and a draft day call from Bills General Manager Brandon Beane.
With the 2019 NFL Draft officially underway, follow along with the Buffalo Bills to find out which players the team selects. Bills draft coverage is presented by ECMC.