So you think it's hard to get a speed receiver late in an NFL draft? Think again. I took a look at the top deep threats in the NFL last year and found that most of them were drafted after the first round. In fact, of the top 20 qualifying receivers in yards per reception, 60 percent of them were taken later than the 50th pick in the draft.
Two of the top three, Malcolm Floyd and Victor Cruz, weren't even drafted. Johnny Knox and Denarius Moore, who were second and fourth in yards per catch, were both fifth-round picks. Only five of the top 20 were drafted in the first round. Four of those -- Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, A.J. Green and Julio Jones -- were taken sixth overall or higher. Demaryius Thomas was taken 22nd overall.
So it seems that if you can't get a surefire stud near the top of the draft, you're better off waiting. Pittsburgh got Mike Wallace in the third round and Antonio Brown in the sixth. James Jones was the 78th pick, Steve Smith (of Carolina) was 74th, Victor Jackson 61st, Torrey Smith 58th.
This should bode well for the Bills, who didn't go for a speed receiver in the first round, presumably thinking they could get one later. Maybe it'll be the 41st overall selection when the draft resumes with Round 2 at 7 p.m. today.
There are some interesting options available, all big, fast wideouts who could step in and help take pressure off the Bills' top receiver, Stevie Johnson -- a seventh-round pick. The top candidates appear to be Stephen Hill of Georgia Tech, Rueben Randle of LSU, Alshon Jeffrey of South Carolina, and Brian Quick of Appalachian State.
OK, we'll never know how the Bills had the defensive players ranked. When I asked Buddy Nix if he would rank the four defensive players who were taken between 6 and 10, he simply smiled. Obviously, he wasn't going to tell us whether cornerback Stephon Gilmore was his fourth choice behind linebacker Luke Kuechly, corner Morris Claiborne and safety Mark Barron.
They got Gilmore at 10. It's a safe, solid pick. Gilmore was the second-ranked corner in the draft, behind Claiborne. He's 6-1, 190 and runs a 4.38 in the 40. He'll help and should compete for a starting job right away. If I had to guess, I'd say the Bills had the other three ranked higher on their board. But evidently, the difference wasn't great enough for Nix to trade up in the heat of the moment.
I would have preferred Kuechly, because he's supposed to be terrific at dropping into pass protection and would have allowed them to match up better with the Patriots tight ends. Nix said Kuechly would be a three-down 'backer. But Gilmore should be a good pick. He gives them needed depth in their secondary. Let's just hope he turns out better than Leodis McKelvin.
I'll be chatting at 2:30 this afternoon (Friday). The time has been pushed back because I have to address a men's social club at noon. Can't pass up that free lunch! Plans call for a video chat with Tim Graham for an hour, then a print session afterwards. A lot of the regulars tell me they like the chats to go later on Friday, so we'll see how the crowd is around 4. Talk to you then.
Unlike certain management types, I'm not afraid to show my face after the Sabres' unceremonious departure from the playoff race. In fact, I'll be doing my first video chat in two months at 1 p.m. today with Tim Graham. Tim and I were becoming quite the on-air tandem before I had to step away to get my shiny new hip. So don't miss the live chat today. We might even start on time for once. There's plenty to talk about: Sabres, NFL draft, the Red Sox poor start, the NBA, the Masters, the Mitt Romney juggernaut. Bring it.
I'll be chatting today from home at 1 p.m. Plenty of stuff to talk about, including the abrupt end of this year's heroic run to eighth place by the Sabres. What do you think? Were injuries a valid excuse for them missing the playoffs? After five years with a single playoff series victory, are Ruff and Regier safe? I'll talk to you at 1 o'clock. I'll bring my fastball, which is more than I can say for Michael Pineda.