There were few questions Bills GM Buddy Nix refused to answer in his pre-draft media session with Buffalo media on Wednesday. Even when Nix didn't have a response -- he answered.
For example, on the topic of North Alabama CB Janoris Jenkins, a player some teams won't even include in their final draft board, Nix signaled the Bills are likely to avoid the smoke, fire and off-field worries that come with adding a player with Jenkins' history.
"You know I just would not get into that," Nix said. "But if you mean whether we'll take him or not ... ability-wise obviously you would. This is a political answer I'm fixing to give you, but otherwise you wouldn't. You get enough trouble without getting one that you know is a problem."
The Bills have a need at cornerback, Nix acknowledged, but said the depth at that position means they can find one in Rounds 2-4. He also praised South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore.
"Gilmore from South Carolina, we like him," Nix said. "We think he's a good strong sturdy corner that can press, can run in a hip pocket and he makes plays. We like his physical-ness in coming up in support. I do think this is a good year for cornerbacks. I really think the depth is good. You never know what we do early but from the second to the fourth we stack our board. We're going to take the best player available regardless of position, but we hope to get a few corners in the second or fourth too."
If the Bills are planning to draft an offensive tackle with the 10th overall pick after losing Demetress Bell in free agency, Nix disguised the team's interest well.
"We need tackles but I'm going to make this clear: we think Chris Hairston can play left tackle for us and win," he said. "He did it and he went in there and everybody say's Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) gets the ball out quick and that's true. We run our offense; we run a lot of empty sets with five blockers, if they bring six he better get it out quick or he's going to get hit in the mouth. In this offense he's got to get it out quick. But Chris Hairston, he may not be the prettiest foot athlete but he's got so much length that he can protect the back side. We feel like he can do that."
Assistant GM Doug Whaley, Nix's replacement in waiting, said great tackles aren't easy to find. Nix backed up that notion, saying the best tackles in the league were drafted in the top 10.
"You look at Jonathan Martin first of all coming from Stanford; he's going to be a highly intelligent guy. He's a competitive guy. I think he's a guy that has a chance to play both left and right tackle, so the versatility for him makes him very intriguing," said Whaley. "Reiff, you just look at the pedigree from guys coming from Iowa. They're well-schooled, well-coached. The head coach (Kirk Ferentz) there has coached in the league so he knows how to produce NFL linemen. You're going to get a guy that we believe, most people believe, and the pedigree from that school are going to come in and step in and compete right off the bat. Reiff I think he can play both, left and right. I think you start him out on the left and see how he goes from there. Those left tackles are hard to find like Buddy says. We believe that you start a guy there and if he fails it's easier to move him to right than right to left. With (Georgia's Cordy) Glenn for us a guy of that size and that type of foot athlete you'd try him out at left tackle. He's got a chance to play there and produce there at a high level."
Nix said it was important to know the depth at wide receiver was considerable in this draft. The Bills re-signed No. 1 receiver Stevie Johnson to a five-year deal, but have no other proven options outside. Michael Floyd of Notre Dame definitely made an impression on Buffalo's scouting department. But taking a receiver with the speed to stretch the field might be more realistic than snagging a big-pay, big-play type earlier.
So, Mr. Nix, do you owe it to coach Chan Gailey to land a vertical threat?
"I don't owe them nothing; they get paid once a month (jokingly)," he said. "But I'll tell you this, we do need one. We do need some speed outside. We got more than you think, too. (David) Clowney, he hadn't done it, again we don't have a proven one, but he runs in the 4.3s. So it's not just speed, but it would really help Steve Johnson if we had some speed outside and we know that. Hopefully we can fill that need."