In running through the Bills’ needs in the NFL draft, Alper started with left tackle. Bills General Manager Buddy Nix agrees that that’s the position his team is most in need of upgrading, but he says it won’t necessarily happen in the draft.
Instead, the Bills may turn to last year’s fourth-round pick, Chris Hairston, to protect Ryan Fitzpatrick’s blind side.
“We need tackles,” Nix said, via the Buffalo News. “But I’m gonna make this clear. We think Chris Hairston can play left tackle for us and win. He did it. He went in there. Everybody says [Ryan Fitzpatrick] gets the ball out quick, and that’s true. But we run a lot of empty sets. There’s five blockers. If they bring six, he’d better get it out quick or he’s gonna get hit in the mouth. In this offense, he’s gotta get it out quick. Chris Hairston, he may not be the prettiest foot athlete, but he’s got so much length that he can protect the back side. We feel he can do that.”
OK, but if Nix is confident in Hairston’s ability to get the job done, why does he say they need tackles? Nix seems to be preemptively dismissing any draft report card that might ding the Bills for failing to acquire an offensive tackle.
“I don’t care how many draftniks think that’s where we’re going and that’s the best pick for us,” Nix said. “If that’s not the guy we’ve got rated there, we won’t take him.”
The Bills have the 10th pick in the draft, and the draftniks mostly agree that the one left tackle who’s worthy of a Top 10 pick, USC’s Matt Kalil, will be long gone before No. 10, while the other top offensive tackles, including Iowa’s Riley Reiff and Stanford’s Jonathan Martin don’t warrant being selected that high. So Nix will likely find himself waiting until the second or third day of the draft to address that need. If he addresses it at all.