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Wannstedt on Gilmore

Bills defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt spoke with the media today following the team's first week of organized team activities.

Here's what he had to say when asked about his initial impressions of first-round pick Stephon Gilmore: "He doesn’t appear, and you watch him warm up in drills, to be as fast as he is but nobody runs by him. I think playing quarterback (in high school), he’s got a little bit more savvy than some corners might and obviously he’s a size guy. He’s got size and he can run and he’s got great feet. I used the word great, he’s got great hand-eye coordination. When the ball’s in the air, he’s going to go after it."

The Bills have been working with Gilmore on jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage, something he didn't do a lot of with South Carolina.

"That will all come in training camp when we really get the pads on. Right now we can't do one-on-one in press, you know all the one-on-one stuff we do you have to be off because of contact," Wannstedt said. "So we're kind of limited a little bit there. But he's getting enough of the work. ... He's learning the coverages, he's learning the techniques and he's learning the terminology. The physical part will come."

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Glenn latest draft pick to sign

The Buffalo Bills continue to knock off rookie contracts, with second-rounder Cordy Glenn the latest to sign this morning.

Glenn, the 41st overall pick in the draft out of Georgia, is expected to compete with Chris Hairston for the team's starting left tackle job.

His rookie deal, as they all do, covers four years. Terms have not been released, but last year's 41st pick, defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins of the Washington Redskins, signed a contract worth nearly $4.8 million. Glenn's contract should fall in line with that.

Glenn made 50 starts in 53 college games with the Bulldogs, matching the school record for most starts by an offensive lineman. The 6-foot-6, 345-pounder made the all-Southeastern Conference first team in 2011.

The Bills have now signed eight of their nine draft picks, with only third-round wide receiver T.J. Graham of North Carolina State still unsigned.

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Bills get deal done with Gilmore

The Buffalo Bills this morning announced that first-round draft pick Stephon Gilmore has signed. The South Carolina cornerback was the 10th overall pick in April's draft.

Gilmore's signing means seven of Buffalo's nine draft picks are now under contract. Second-round pick Cordy Glenn and third-round T.J. Graham remain unsigned.

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

 

Bills sign three, cut two

Rookie minicamp over the weekend was a success for fullback Dorin Dickerson and safety Nick Saenz, both of whom signed free agent contracts with the Buffalo Bills, the team announced today.

Buffalo also signed offensive tackle James Carmon, and released quarterback Aaron Corp and safety Ian Wild. 

Dickerson, 6-foot-1 and 226 pounds, played college football at Pitt under Bills defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt. He's a former seventh-round draft choice of the Houston Texans in 2010, appearing in seven games predominantly on special teams. He's also spent time on the practice squad for both New England and Pittsburgh.

Dickerson, 24, is an impressive athlete. He ran a 4.4 40 at the combine, with a 43.5-inch vertical jump. He lined up as an H-back during the team's minicamp.

Saenz, 6-0, 195, joins the Bills from Houston. He played in 52 career games with the Cougars, starting for three years. 

Carmon played last season at left tackle for Mississippi State after switching from the defensive line after the 2010 season. The 6-7, 320-pounder started 10 of 11 games in 2011. 

Corp's release leaves the Bills without a developmental quarterback on the roster behind starter Ryan Fitzpatrick and backups Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen. The team also had Alex Tanney in over the weekend on a tryout basis, but did not offer the Monmouth College product a contract.

Wild had an interesting back story. He's a former football and lacrosse player for Mercyhurst who gave up his final lacrosse season this spring to pursue an NFL career. In the 2011 Division-II lacrosse championship game, Wild scored four goals and was named the most outstanding player of the game in Mercyhurst's 9-8 win over Adelphi.

---Jay Skurski

@JaySkurski on Twitter

Cook happy to have a second chance

St. Joe’s graduate Domonic Cook was in camp on a tryout basis. The former University at Buffalo cornerback was grateful to have a second chance with the Bills.

Cook signed with the team as an undrafted free agent last year, but suffered a serious knee injury in the first week of training camp. He had surgery last August, and wasn’t cleared to work out until February.

“When [the Bills] called, I almost teared up for a chance to come back,” he said. “I’m just trying to get my knees back. My quickness was a big part of my game, so I’m trying to get my speed back up.”

Cook said he gained some unwanted weight being on the shelf for six months.

"I've lost most of it, but I still feel a little stiff," he said. "I'm trying to loosen up. Each day I've felt better."

Cook was one of 21 players in camp on tryouts, along with Niagara-Wheatfield graduate and former UB basketball player Byron Mulkey.

While not naming specific player, Gailey said he saw some good things from tryout group.

“We had a couple that impressed us well enough,” the coach said. “We’re going to go in and discuss exactly who we might need to bring onto the team.”

There’s not much room – the team has 89 players on their roster, which has a 90-player limit.

---Jay Skurski

@JaySkurski on Twitter

Gailey wraps up rookie camp weekend

The Bills finished up their fourth and final practice of rookie minicamp early this afternoon on the grass field outside the team's fieldhouse.

Coach Chan Gailey on what he took away from the the weekend: "We had great effort. We got to see some guys run around and try to retain what we had taught them for three days. It was very good work in my opinion. We were able to get outside all three days and we were able to get a lot accomplished."

Gailey's big focus was on seeing what the players could retain from day to day.

"Impressed with some and not impressed with others. But that’s the way it is. You’re trying to find that out. You can watch them run, jump and change direction but you don’t know their mental capacity," he said. "That’s the one thing you don’t know off film, so you’re trying to get a good gauge of that."

A total of 45 players took part in the four practices -- nine draft picks, 10 undrafted free agents, five first-year players and 21 tryout participants.

The next phase of the offseason program will be voluntary organized team activities. The first of those 10 sessions will be May 29. The team will hold a mandatory three-day minicamp from June 19-21.

---Jay Skurski

@JaySkurski on Twitter

Gailey goes Green on Graham

Bills coach Chan Gailey gave a Dennis Green-like answer when asked today about receiver T.J. Green.

"To be honest with you, he's exactly what we thought," Gailey said. "He's a raw runner and he can run fast and catch the football."

OK, so maybe not quite as passionate as the former Cardinals coach.

As for Graham, his speed was on display as the Bills opened their three-day rookie minicamp on the grass field next to the fieldhouse this afternoon. Graham easily got behind cornerback Domonic Cook early in practice on a deep route, but the ball was slightly overthrown.

Later, he caught the first two passes of a 7-on-7 drill from quarterback Aaron Corp.

"I had a lot of fun competing and putting on the uniform," Graham said. "The hardest thing today was kind of figuring out the concepts. It's a really different playbook. So to come out and try to learn on the fly was pretty tough, but pretty fun just getting out and finally playing football. The last couple months have been kind of tough just training and training."

You can read more about Graham and the first day of rookie camp in Saturday's print edition.

And for those who don't get the Green comparison, I refer you to one of the best clips ever: "They are who we thought they were!"

 

---Jay Skurski

@JaySkurski on Twitter

Gailey on goals for the weekend

A total of 45 rookies and first-year players took the field this afternoon for the Buffalo Bills' first rookie minicamp. The team will hold three more practices this weekend, two on Saturday and one on Sunday (all sessions are closed to the public).

Of those 45, 21 are with the team on a tryout basis, including Western New York natives Byron Mulkey and Domonic Cook. They face the longest odds of finding a spot on the team's 53-man roster at the end of training camp, but that's a long way off.

For now, coach Chan Gailey described his focus for the weekend as the following: "You try to see the effort that a guy gives. You try to see if a guy is a lazy guy or a worker. You're trying to figure that out. You're trying to figure out, does a guy retain what you teach him? Can he hold on from day one to day two what you taught in day one, and add on to day two? So you're looking at that. Those are the two main things. They're talented guys, or they wouldn't be here to start with."

Along with Cook and Mulkey, the other 19 tryout players are: C Taylor Boggs, RB Zach Brown, DE Vince Browne, TE Derek Buttles, WR Roddell Carter, LB Nick Clark, WR Gino Crump, FB Dorin Dickerson, DE Sean Ferguson, WR Kevin Fitzpatrick, DE Corey Hart, DT Johnny Hollins, LB Brian Smith, S Nick Saenz, WR Derek Session, DE Bernard Smith, QB Alex Tanney, LB Jeff Thomas and DT Logan Walls.

---Jay Skurski

@JaySkurski on Twitter

Johnson to have minor surgery

Bills receiver Stevie Johnson will wake up Monday in Philadelphia, where he's scheduled to have surgery on his groin.

Johnson tweeted that news himself tonight. His agent, C.J. Laboy, said in a text message to The News that it's "not a serious surgery" and has a "very brief" recovery time.

Johnson was nagged nearly all of last season by the injury, but battled through it to become the team's first-ever receiver to post back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He did not miss a game.

Johnson finished with 76 catches for 1,004 yards and has 17 touchdown catches over the past two years.

The Bills rewarded him this offseason with a five-year, $36.25 million contract extension.

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

Scout's take: Majeski on Kuechly and Adams

In the days leading up to the draft, the Bills are making their scouts available to the media. On Monday, Doug Majeski, Brad Forsyth and Shawn Heinlen took their turn. Majeski, the team’s coordinator of college scouting, covers the Midwest and East Coast. Forsyth has the Rocky Mountain and West Coast parts of the country, while Heinlen oversees Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Over the next couple days, I’ll pass along some of their takes on players who the Bills could potentially be targeting heading into the draft, starting with Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly.

Here’s what Majeski had to say when asked whether Kuechly could transition to either the strongside or weakside linebacker spot in Buffalo’s new 4-3 scheme: “He’s played weak and inside middle linebacker at BC and he’s actually played all three spots in games over his career. Mentally, obviously, he’s very sharp. He’ll be able to handle it. Athletically he can handle a lot of the attributes of each position and he’s probably best as a ‘mike,’ but he gives you flexibility to play ‘will’ or ‘sam.’

Majeski then elaborated on Kuechly’s ability to play the pass.

“He’s really a good coverage guy. He’s got a good feel for it, got good awareness. He can run with tight ends in man, he can carry receivers down the field. He does a good job of getting in throwing lanes. … He’s good in coverage.”

Majeski also shared some thoughts on Ohio State left tackle Mike Adams, who reportedly tested positive for marijuana use at the scouting combine.

"Very talented. He’s a big man, 6-foot-7, 325 [pounds]. Obviously missed some games this year because of the NCAA suspension, but when he played, he played well," Majeski said. "He’s got a lot of ability. Still has room to get better as far as strength and [his] experience, but he should have a good future.

Majeski said the positive test would factor into the Bills' thinking about any prospect.

"With all these kids it’s a concern. It’s things we talk about," he said. "That [and] with other character concerns, whether it’s mental or other issues, you know it’s all part of our discussion when we talk about a player. It affects how you look at a player."

...

Join The Buffalo News for extensive live coverage during the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night.

Watch a live broadcast beginning at 7:30 p.m., follow a ticker with draft selections and join a live chat.

The News' deep roster of sports reporters and columnists will be situated in the newsroom and at One Bills Drive to bring you the latest developments.

Myself and Tim Graham are anchoring the draft webcast from One News Plaza, with additional insight from Mike Harrington and Bucky Gleason.

Mark Gaughan, Jerry Sullivan, Bob DiCesare and Lauren Mariacher will be at One Bills Drive to get reaction from the Bills' front office.

---Jay Skurski

http://twitter.com/jayskurski

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