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Bills draft safeties in numbers, take Jonathan Meeks in fifth round

By Tim Graham

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.

"I feel like it will work well for me," Meeks said of Buffalo's defense. He made a pre-draft visit and met with defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. "We had a chance to go over some plays, where he drew up some plays.

"I just fell in love with the defense within one day and the coach as well. The things they were showing me that I would be able to do, I know as a player that I could perform really well for the Bills and I want to do that."

Asked to elaborate about how the Bills' defense would suit him, Meeks replied, "It's just a smart, aggressive defense, and as a player that's what you love."

In a "Road to the Draft" capsule, Buffalo News reporter Jay Skurski wrote of Meeks:

Meeks served as a co-captain for the Tigers as a senior, starting all 13 games and playing 835 snaps, the most of any defensive player. ... He projects as an NFL strong safety. He returned one of his two touchdowns for an interception. ... Was named the national FBS player of the week in October of this past season after making two interceptions against Virginia Tech in a 38-17 win. ... Selected to the Atlantic Coast Conference honorable mention list … Made 24 career starts and appeared in 50 games in his college career. … Ran a reported 4.55-second 40-yard dash at Clemson’s pro day in March and put up 23 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press. ... He also had a broad jump of 9 feet, 7 inches, a vertical of 33.5 inches and a 20-yard shuttle time of 4.72 seconds. … Considered a raw prospect who has a tendency to make too many mental errors.

Meeks had 62 tackles, one for a loss and two interceptions last season.

He is from Rock Hill, S.C., also the hometown of Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore. They have known each other and competed since middle school.


2013 draft | Duke Williams | Jonathan Meeks | Stephon Gilmore
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

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.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

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.

@JaySkurski |