With the team's rookie minicamp about to get underway, more than half of Buffalo's 2012 draft class has agreed to terms. The Bills reached agreements with fourth-round picks Nigel Bradham and Ron Brooks, fifth-round picks Zebrie Sanders and Tank Carder, sixth-round selection Mark Asper and seventh-round pick John Potter as all arrived in town for rookie minicamp this weekend.
Carder, a linebacker from TCU, was the first to come to terms with the team Thursday afternoon not long after arriving in Buffalo.
"It feels good," Carder told Buffalobills.com. "Now I can focus on football and going to rookie camp knowing I've got that done and don't have to worry about it and get to know my teammates."
Carder was part of a defense that was ranked first in the nation three straight seasons. The two-time Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year is expected to line up at outside linebacker for Buffalo this weekend, and be a fixture on special teams. He's looking forward to working with defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt
"He's a great coach and I know he'll teach us all what he can," said Carder. "So it's going to be fun to see how it plays out and I'm eager to get started."
Bradham was a three-year starter for Florida State and defensive captain playing both outside linebacker and middle linebacker for the Seminoles. He projects to an outside linebacker spot in Buffalo's defense.
Brooks, a cornerback out of LSU, was part of one of the nation's top defensive units. Despite not being a full-time starter, Brooks appeared in 53 games and returned all three of his career interceptions for touchdowns.
Sanders was also a veteran of 50-plus games for the Seminoles and saw most of his time at right tackle. He did play a good deal on the left side as a senior after former teammate Andrew Datko went down with an injury. Buffalo sees him as a potential swing tackle option.
Asper played mostly guard and tackle at Oregon, but projects to a center/guard prospect for Buffalo. Over the last three seasons of his college career he lined up at right tackle or right guard.
Potter, a kicker from Western Michigan, has a big leg and is viewed by the club as a kickoff specialist, though he'll be given an opportunity to kick field goals as well. He's the Broncos' record holder for career points by a kicker with 333. He's also the program's leader in tackles by a kicker with 36 in his collegiate career.
For Carder and the other rookies it's a new chapter of their careers where they'll have to earn their stripes all over again.
"It's still football, but going in you are back at the bottom of the totem pole," Carder said. "You're trying to impress who you can and play good football."
Buffalo now has just their top three draft choices to negotiate with as rookie minicamp begins Friday.