Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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April 28, 2013

MEILER: Bills draft a step in the right direction


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — What the team did well, though, was putting itself in a position to draft targeted players. Obviously, Manuel was Buffalo’s guy. But by trading down and picking up an additional second-round pick, management was able to fill three needs.

At No. 41, the Bills took USC wide receiver Robert Woods, who moves a lot like Stevie Johnson, only with higher top-end speed. Buffalo knew there would be receivers available at the top of the second, and while we’ll never really know if Nix and co. preferred Woods to guys like Justin Hunter and DeAndre Hopkins, they took a guy who can step in and contribute right away at a position of need.

We’ll also never know if the brain trust preferred Kevin Minter or Manti Te’o to Kiko Alonso at inside linebacker, but in taking Alonso at No. 46, they picked a guy who -- like Manuel -- was generally thought to have the highest potential in the draft at his position. The Bills had a shot at Minter at 41, but chose to take Woods instead, likely knowing they liked Alonso as well.

It’s been widely reported that Alonso has potential character issues stemming from two alcohol-related arrests in college, but if there’s one thing we should be able to trust Buddy Nix with, it’s judging character. Nix has gone to great lengths to build a high-character locker room. Given that and his penchant for preferring players from southern power schools (like Minter at LSU), Alonso had to have convinced Nix that his alcohol issues were a thing of the past.

If he pans out, Buffalo fans will probably fall in love with Alonso’s intensity. He’s a physically gifted linebacker, and if he can stay on the field, he should be a staple of the Bills’ defense for the foreseeable future.

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