|National Football League|
Bills add size and speed with OL Glenn, WR Graham
By JOHN WAWROW
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Snubbed in the first-round of the NFL draft, Cordy Glenn went home to Georgia rather than stick around another day in New York City waiting to be selected.
Turns out, the hulking Georgia offensive lineman will be heading back to New York State in the very near future. And Glenn couldn't be happier after being picked in the second round, 41st overall, by the Buffalo Bills on Friday.
He was hoping the Bills would select him because he was impressed with his pre-draft visit to Buffalo. Best off all, the Bills also provide Glenn a chance to play left tackle - the position he favors.
"I am happy," Glenn said by phone. "One, I get to play left tackle. And two, Buffalo is one of my favorite teams. ... I know where I'm playing now. It is a big relief."
The Bills are counting on the 6-foot-5, 348-pound Glenn spelling relief at a position where they had an immediate need after losing former starter Demetress Bell to free agency this offseason.
In four seasons, Glenn had 50 starts, including 18 at left tackle, in 53 career games.
After targeting size in the second round, the Bills then focused on speed in addressing yet another need by selecting North Carolina State receiver T.J. Graham with the 69th pick. Buffalo was so interested in Graham's raw potential that they swung a deal with Washington to move up two spots in the third round.
In exchange, Buffalo gave up 71st pick and 217th - the first of its two seventh-round selections - to the Redskins.
"Well, the worry was, he wouldn't be there," general manager Buddy Nix said of why he made the trade. "You just don't want to get that close and not get him."
The 6-foot and 180-pound Graham, who also doubles as a track and field sprinter, has the potential to provide a speed element to the Bills passing that it lacked for much of last season.
A starter in only his senior season at South Carolina, Graham finished with 99 catches for 1,606 yards and 12 touchdowns in 46 career games. He also played a key role as a return threat for the Wolfpack.
The Bills finally turned their attention to offense on Friday after spending much of the offseason addressing defensive needs. Aside from signing defensive ends Mario Williams and Mark Anderson in free agency last month, Buffalo opened the draft selecting South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore with the 10th pick.
The Bills now have six picks left through the final four rounds on Saturday. And Nix is pleased with how he was able to address the team's most immediate needs with his first three selections.
"I'll sleep better tonight than I did last night," Nix said. "I think we all feel better about it. ... We've got a chance for these guys to really help us."
Nix is particularly pleased with landing Glenn, a player he had considered targeting in the first round.
Though some scouts project Glenn to be best suited to play guard at the NFL level, he worked at left tackle at this past year's Senior Bowl. There's no doubt among the Bills that Glenn can excel at tackle.
"He's not a guard," Nix said, noting how Glenn showed progress in starting the past 16 games at left tackle. "The Senior Bowl really capped it off for us. ... He was able to hold his own against the best at the Senior Bowl at left tackle. It convinced us."
Nix also believes Glenn will be additionally motivated by how he slid out of the first round of the draft.
"He was embarrassed by it," Nix said.
Glenn was part of a Bulldogs offense that averaged 244.5 yards passing and 408.5 yards offense last season. For his career, he was credited with registering 63 blocks that resulted in touchdowns.
"I still do not think I have played my best game out there," Glenn said.
Despite his big size, Glenn is both quick and agile. He also has a long reach, which is something the Bills front office previously said it prefers in left tackles because of their ability to push pass rushers further outside and away from the pocket.
"We think he can go a long way at left tackle," coach Chan Gailey said. "His wingspan is so huge, and the guy has very good feet for a guy his size. I think he's just tapped the potential at left tackle."
The Bills were among the least-sacked teams in allowing just 22 last season. But they entered this draft with only three tackles on their roster. That included Chris Hairston, a fourth-round pick last year, who had seven starts at left tackle last season.
Graham will be a project, but the Bills see plenty of potential.
"He can run by most everybody, the guy can fly," Gailey said.
Graham was also a return threat at NC State. He finished with a 3,153 career yards in kickoff returns to set an ACC record. He also returned two kickoffs and two punts for touchdowns.
Updated April 27, 2012