The Buffalo Bills have a matching set of kicking specialists
after drafting Florida
State kicker Dustin
Hopkins with their sixth-round pick.
Bills punter Shawn Powell was Hopkins'
holder at Florida
State. Long snapper
Garrison Sanborn is a former Seminole.
addition doesn't bode well for incumbent kicker Rian Lindell, who former head
coach Chan Gailey didn't feel comfortable with on field-goal attempts over 50 yards. Lindell is the Bills' longest-tenured player.
Starks, a sixth-round pick in 2010, helped the Packers win the Super Bowl that year. He played only three regular-season games as a rookie but started all four of their postseason games, rushing for 315 yards and a touchdown.
The Packers drafted a pair of running backs this week.
They took Alabama
star Eddie Lacy in the second round and UCLA's Jonathan Franklin in the fourth
It's been a good day for Western New York football. Buffalo native and UB product Steven Means became the second local player drafted this afternoon when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected him in the fifth round, at No. 147 overall, in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Means, a two-time All-Western New York selection at Grover Cleveland, played in 12 games last season for the Bulls, making 77 tackles, 11 for loss, 6.5 sacks, and three blocked kicks. He started 43 games for the Bulls and finished fourth in school history with 18.5 career sacks.
The Buffalo Bills took safeties with their first two draft
picks today, adding Clemson captain Jonathan Meeks in the fifth round.
The Bills took Nevada
safety Duke Williams in the fourth round.
Meeks was not invited to the NFL scouting combine but is considered
an underrated safety with enough size (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) and speed. Bills scout Darrell Moody said Meeks was forced to play
deep coverage on Clemson's defense because of personnel issues.
Akron’s J.C. Tretter has found
a pretty good landing spot in the NFL.
Tretter was drafted in the
fourth round this afternoon, 122nd overall, by the Green Bay
Packers. The Cornell product gets to block for Aaron Rodgers and another local
product in Niagara Falls native James Starks, a running back.
Tretter, 6-foot-4 and 307
pounds, likely projects as a guard or center at the NFL level after playing his
last two college seasons at left tackle. He’s a former high school quarterback
who started his college career playing two years at tight end. With his Ivy
League background, as you might expect, he’s also a smart player.
Tretter was also an all-state
basketball player in high school, and is light on his feet. While he did 29
repetitions on the 225-pound bench press in college, he’s got to improve his
functional strength at the NFL level. Here’s a profile on Tretter as part of
The News ‘Road to the Draft’ series. Here is his nfl.com draft profile.
The Buffalo Bills enter Day Three of the NFL Draft with needs at cornerback, tight end and guard. That doesn't mean those will be their top picks ... but they need bodies there.
It would be nice to get a cornerback with the 105th pick -- the eighth in the fourth round.
There are two we like a lot: B.W. Webb of William and Mary and Jordan Poyer of Oregon State. The Bills are looking for a guy who can play press-man coverage. So smaller guys who are zone coverage players don't figure into the picture, we don't think. Poyer is a tad bigger than Webb, but both can return kicks. Webb had three interceptions in his first game, against Virginia, as a freshman.
One of the biggest storylines through the first two nights of the NFL Draft is the fact Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib remains an undrafted player.
Nassib was widely considered to be a first- or second-round talent by several experts coming into the draft, and was a popular mock pick to the Buffalo Bills with the eighth overall selection in the first round, including here at The News.
"I'm extremely surprised," said Nassib's former coach at Syracuse, current Bills coach Doug Marrone. "I think the world of Ryan. He has a strong work ethic. He's a tough kid. He has a very good arm and I think he'll be a great addition to whatever team selects him. He has the skillset to be successful. I wish him the best of luck. I think he'll be successful in this league."
Marrone wore the look of a pained man in discussing Nassib, correctly pointing out that if it weren't for the quarterback's accomplishments at Syracuse, the coach very likely would not have made it to the NFL.
Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.
Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.