There was little question heading into round one of the 2012 NFL draft that one of Buffalo's most pressing needs was offensive tackle. Bills GM Buddy Nix even indicated they needed to add two before the draft was over. Wide receiver is also a need position, but in round one the value was at cornerback and Buffalo selected . Fortunately for the Bills a lot of quality prospects were left on the board at the two positions of greatest need entering day 2.
No one would've guessed that the running back position would have more players come off the board in round one than offensive tackles, but that was the case Thursday night. Three running backs were taken in the first stanza while just two offensive tackles were selected. There was also one more quarterback taken than expected in Brandon Weeden, who went 22nd.
What it did was push a lot of the projected first round tackle talent down the board and into the second round, which gets underway at 7 pm today.
"There is some depth at some positions we need," said Bills GM Buddy Nix. "We think from the second round on that there are some pretty good players."
Among the more notable offensive tackles still on the board are Ohio State's Mike Adams, Troy's James Brown, Georgia's Cordy Glenn and Stanford's Jonathan Martin.
The Bills appeared to be intrigued with Glenn's length and range for a prospect that goes 345 pounds.
"I don't see any reason he can't play left tackle in this league because he's got size, he's got length and he's got pretty good foot quickness," said Bills National Scout Darrell Moody. "It's hard to get around somebody that big and with that length. Most of them, the real good left tackles in this league, everybody talks about their feet but they all have length and size, too, and I think he can play left tackle in this league."
With almost 36-inch arms Glenn improved as his 2011 season went along and logged 18 starts for the Bulldogs against top flight SEC competition.
Adams has some off the field concerns in his past, but he's got prototype physical tools for the left tackle position.
"Very talented," said Bills Coordinator of College Scouting Doug Majeski. "He's a big man, 6'7" 325 and obviously missed some games this year because of the NCAA suspension, but when he played he played well. He's got a lot of ability. He still has room to get better in terms of strength and should improve with experience. He's got a good future."
Meanwhile Stanford's Jonathan Martin has an impressive resume as a three-year starter in a pro-style offense.
"Jonathan Martin is a highly intelligent guy," said Bills Assistant GM Doug Whaley. "I think 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."
James Brown has 37 career starts at left tackle and though he may need to get stronger has good feet and powerful hands.
"James Brown I think has left tackle athletic ability," said Moody. "He's big enough and has got enough length, but I think his athletic ability is excellent. I thought he had an excellent senior year."
All four of those offensive tackles made pre-draft visits to One Bills Drive.
Wide receiver meanwhile might be the deepest position in the draft.
"I think so," said Nix. "I think they'll be one there in the third round. You've just got so many of them."
Among some of the more highly touted receiver still on the board are Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill, Appalachian State's Brian Quick and LSU's Rueben Randle.
Hill might not make it to Buffalo's pick at 41. His rare combination of size (6'4") and speed (4.36 40-time) figures to make him an early target on day two even though he doesn't have the college production.
"At the workout and at the combine it was very impressive," said Whaley. "A guy with that height and speed and to be able to do what he does physically, it's rare. The thing you have to balance is because of the offense he played in you don't see him doing that on the football field. So it's one of those things where it's going to be a balancing act and it's a little roll of the dice because you would like to see him in an offense where he would be running the route tree for a receiver. You don't see that, but you see he has the ability to do it from the workout. He's very intriguing."
Meanwhile Quick is an example of the many big-bodied receivers in the draft. At 6'4" 220 pounds with an 80-inch wingspan and a 34-inch vertical, there aren't many passes Quick can't reach. Playing in a smaller FCS conference is one of the few drawbacks.
"His upside is very good," said Bills scout Tom Roth. "For a big kid he can get in and out of his breaks and shows acceleration. He showed excellent hands on the 2011 film. The arrow is going up with him and a very talented player for a 6'4" receiver."
LSU's Rueben Randle had production that appeared to belie his skill set, but that had a bit more to do with the team's quarterback rotation in 2011.
"With the numbers he has they're on par with the amount of chances he had to be productive," said Bills scout Shawn Heinlen. "LSU is a run-first team. They had a little difficulty this year with the two quarterbacks getting the ball out there. But you see games like the Florida game where they tried to get him the ball early and he was highly productive in that game scoring a couple of different ways and having big numbers that way."
Randle still finished the 2011 season with 53 catches for 917 yards and eight touchdowns.
For what it's worth Quick was the only one of those three receivers to make a pre-draft visit to Buffalo.
Picking ninth in round two Buffalo has a few teams ahead of them that have positional needs at offensive tackle and wide receiver.
The St. Louis Rams took a defensive tackle in round one and could very well be interested in a receiver in round two with picks at 33 and 39. The Colts with the 34th overall pick could look at receiver as well.
Cleveland at 37 may look to add a receiving weapon after selecting a running back and quarterback in round one. Carolina is still another team that could target receiver.