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April 28, 2013

MEILER: Bills draft a step in the right direction

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The Bills other picks -- WR Marquise Goodwin, DBs Duke Williams and Jonathan Meeks, K Dustin Hopkins and TE Chris Gragg -- are mostly depth and special teams picks, though Goodwin and Hopkins create interesting roster decisions.

Goodwin, like fellow third-round pick T.J. Graham, is a track star turned football players (Goodwin placed 10th in the long jump at the London Olympics). While still raw when it comes to football, he has speed and athletic ability -- like Graham -- but comes with higher ratings. It will be interesting to see if Marrone and new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett are as high on Graham as Chan Gailey, and if they’re not, Graham may have to work just to make the roster this season.

Hopkins is the FBS career points leader and has shown a big leg and the ability to kick in less-than-perfect conditions, despite playing at Florida State. Gailey seemed to sour on Ryan Lindell as the season went on last year, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Hopkins taking Lindell’s job as early as this season.

The Bills failed to address needs on the offensive line and at cornerback, which could hold the team back, especially if injuries hit. But the team may have come out of this draft with four opening-day starters, and while that doesn’t inspire hope for this season, it could mean good things for the future.

2013 Buffalo Bills Schedule 9/8 NEW ENGLAND 1 p.m. 9/15 CAROLINA 1 p.m. 9/22 @ N.Y. Jets 4:25 p.m. 9/29 BALTIMORE 1 p.m. 10/3 @ Cleveland Browns 8:25 p.m. 10/13 CINCINNATI 1 p.m. 10/20 @ Miami 1 p.m. 10/27 @ New Orleans 1 p.m. 11/3 KANSAS CITY 1 p.m. 11/10 @ Pittsburgh 1 p.m. 11/17 N.Y. JETS 1 p.m. 12/1 Atlanta (@ Toronto) 4 p.m. 12/8 @ Tampa Bay 1 p.m. 12/15 @ Jacksonville 1 p.m. 12/22 MIAMI 1 p.m. 12/29 @ New England 1 p.m.

Respond to Gazette sports reporter Mike Meiler on Twitter @mikemeiler or by email at mike.meiler@niagara-gazette.com.

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