Bills go big on defence

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:22 PM ET

ORCHARD PARK — When it came right down to it, Buddy Nix was more interested in upgrading his defence today than his offence for tomorrow.

With a high second round pick and still plenty of options out there for a quarterback of the future, the Bills general manager ignored the headline grabber and shored up his secondary with cornerback Aaron Williams of Texas.

Thirty four picks after that with Ryan Mallett still on the board, the Bills again stayed with defence grabbing inside linebacker Kelvin Sheppard of LSU with their third round pick.

The two picks that followed Buffalo in the second round were both quarterbacks, Cincinnati grabbing TCU’s Andy Dalton. San Francisco then traded up into Denver’s spot to grab Nevada gunslinger Colin Kaepernick.

Nix didn’t count out grabbing a quarterback later in the draft but when it came right down to it Nix and his staff stuck to their original guns and that was a franchise QB at the top of the draft if available and if not hit the defence hard.

“Obviously there were some shockers Thursday night,” Nix said of the first round (presumably talking about Christian Ponder who the Bills were high on and might have selected with the second pick going 12th overall to Minnesota).

“But we’re to the point, and I think I’ve said this a lot of times, but with the first pick we wanted a franchise guy,” Nix said. “If he wasn’t there then we were going to get better on defence and work on needs if the right guy was there. We are still going to go to camp with probably four quarterbacks, so that’s not to say we won’t take one in the draft, but it’s also not to say we wouldn’t go after a veteran to be a back-up for us and then take another arm to camp. He might be a college free agent.”

And let’s face it, upgrading the defence, as good as the Bills first pick is in Marcell Dareus, was not going to get done in the first round alone.

There is a lot to fix on both sides of the ball, but more on the defensive side and Nix is content to focus on that, at least in the early rounds.

“I think it’s obvious that we’re not where we want to be defensively and we’re trying to fix that,” Nix said. “Right now, the draft’s the only way we’ve got at doing it and that’s how we’re going to do it. We’re not through either. We’ve got seven more picks and I hope every one of them count.”

Nix admitted there was plenty of interest in Buffalo’s pick at No. 34 and admitted the temptation to move down and pick up some extra selections was very real, but also risky.

“We had numerous calls today and even seconds before the pick. I think you have to decide if you want to go down and take a chance on maybe getting more guys, but lesser quality, or if you want to go ahead and take that pick that you think is going to help you.”

Nix felt Williams, a hair under six feet and a very physical cornerback, is a good answer to the way the league is going.

“Everything goes in cycles in football and it’s gotten now to where you’ve got big receivers and you need big corners and they’re hard to find,” Nix said. “This guy is talented. He’s a really good athlete and he’s got some versatility. He can play corner, he can play in the slot in the nickel and we think he can play safety.”

Williams though will start outside and if need be, and if he proves capable, the Bills will eventually move him inside.

With Donte Whitner and Drayton Florence set to become free agents, Williams NFL tutelage will start sooner rather than later.

mike.ganter@sunmedia.ca


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