In Round 5, the Buffalo Bills once again had two early picks to work with: No. 144 and No. 147. GM Buddy Nix continued to stay true to his word regarding his draft plans, taking a second offensive tackle in Florida State’s Zebrie Sanders.
Sanders is a big-framed left tackle prospect who could be tried on either side, depending on what Buffalo wants to do with second-rounder Cordy Glenn. The former Seminole is 6’6” and 320 pounds with 35” arms, further reinforcing the fact that the Bills want big, lengthy players on the outside.
ESPN’s Todd McShay said during the draft that Sanders is a very intelligent offensive lineman who is yet another great value pick for the Bills. He had a third-round value on Sanders, and the Bills were able to land him in Round 5.
Having played both left tackle and right tackle at Florida State, Sanders offers versatility and a lot of upside. He can still add some more weight and strength to his large frame, but technique-wise he is a high-quality blocker with agile footwork.
Buffalo has now added Cordy Glenn and Zebrie Sanders to an offensive line that features left tackle Chris Hairston, left guard Andy Levitre, center Eric Wood, right guards Chad Rinehart and Kraig Urbik and right tackle Erik Pears. They needed depth, and they definitely went out and got it.
Just three picks later at No. 147, the Bills once again found great value in TCU inside linebacker Tank Carder, who is an animal on the field with good, controlled intensity.
Carder is 6’2” and 236 pounds with exceptional agility. His change-of-direction skills are terrific on tape, and he diagnoses plays very well. While he may not be the strongest or fastest athlete, Carder has natural football instincts and is a tough, high-motor player.
In 2011, he started all 13 games for the TCU Horned Frogs and tallied 70 tackles, including 4.5 for loss. He added two interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns.
He’ll work his way up with the Bills, though it’s most likely he’ll start out on special teams. Buffalo’s linebacker unit now features a solid group of players, starting with Nick Barnett, Kelvin Sheppard and Kirk Morrison.
Behind those guys, the Bills have developing talent in Arthur Moats, Chris White, this year’s fourth-rounder Nigel Bradham and now Tank Carder. Danny Batten may also get time at linebacker depending on the team’s plan for him in the new 4-3.
Carder will probably battle with Chris White for playing time, but he has a good chance to contribute on special teams from the get-go. He has all the intangibles Chan Gailey loves, and Dave Wannstedt will likely work to teach Carder both the middle and weak-side spots.
With two rounds to go, and two picks as of now, Buffalo could still take a developmental quarterback and a backup center. Buddy Nix likes taking quarterbacks whenever he can, and an insurance player behind Eric Wood at center would be a good idea.
Another round, another high grade for the Bills, who continue to find great value with each selection in the draft.