The Buffalo Bills filled their biggest need Friday night with a massive, 6-foot-5, 345-pound cornerstone for their offensive line.
The Bills made University of Georgia tackle Cordy Glenn their pick at No. 41 overall in the second round of the NFL Draft. Glenn is a huge physical specimen who projects to start right away at left tackle, protecting the blind side of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
"The thing that stands out right off the bat is size," Bills coach Chan Gailey said. "His wingspan is so huge. I think he has just tapped his potential at left tackle. In our evaluation we think he can go a long way at left tackle."
The Bills then addressed their need for a speed receiver in the third round. They traded up two spots, from 71 to 69, to get North Carolina State's T.J. Graham. He's a 5-11 1/2 , 189-pounder who ran a 4.41-second time in the 40-yard dash in February and who qualified for the NCAA track and field championships in the 100-meter dash.
The Bills have six more picks over the final four rounds of the draft, which starts at noon today.
While it has become a cliche to say the draft board fell just right whenever a team makes a pick, it truly happened for the Bills in the second round.
Eight teams picked ahead of Buffalo to start the second round, and there were two left tackles who surely would have been acceptable to the Bills when the round began. They were Glenn and Stanford's Jonathan Martin.
Sure enough, both of them still were available when the Bills picked, as were two other very attractive players for Buffalo -- big, fast receiver Stephen Hill of Georgia Tech and Marshall pass rusher Vinny Curry.
The Bills might have been happy with any of those four. Glenn was the one they coveted most because he has the attribute Bills scouts covet so much in a tackle -- length.
Glenn's arms measure 35 1/8 inches and his wingspan is 84 5/8 inches, both second longest of any player at any position in the 2012 draft.
"I think he's got good feet," said Bills national scout Darrell Moody. "I don't know that he's got great feet, but he's got good feet. And you don't have to have great feet if you've got great length and you've got great size. It's hard to get around big people."
Some draft analysts, as well as some NFL teams, made the projection that guard would be Glenn's best position in the NFL. Two ESPN analysts, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, rated Glenn as a first-round pick but both view him as a right tackle, at best. The Bills scoffed at those views.
"Hell no, the guy's not a guard," Bills General Manager Buddy Nix said. "He started 50 games, the last 16 as a left tackle.
"As you watched the season progress he got better and better at left tackle," Moody said. "He struggled against Boise State [in the 2011 opener], and the whole Georgia offensive line did. But you could see a tremendous amount of improvement every week."
Glenn was especially impressive in Georgia's game against Louisiana State in the SEC Championship Game, even though the Bulldogs lost, 42-10. Glenn held up well against LSU's excellent sophomore edge rusher, Sam Montgomery. He was superb in the Bulldogs' bowl game against Michigan State.
Not many teams have a 340-plus pound left tackle with arms of more than 35 inches. If Glenn pans out, he could make an already strong Bills offensive line great. Glenn will have to beat out second-year man Chris Hairston in training camp for the left-tackle spot. Hairston, a fourth-round pick last season, started seven games at left tackle as a rookie in 2011.
The Bills don't view Glenn's weight as any problem either.
"He's had two different strength coaches," Nix said. "One wanted him at 330. He played at 330. The new guy comes in, he wanted him at 345, and that's where he is, which tells us something else about the guy. He wants to do what you ask him to do."
Graham is an outside receiver who ideally will stretch defenses and create more space for receiver Stevie Johnson and the other Bills weapons. They don't necessarily need him to start, and Gailey acknowledged he is raw. He started just one full year in college.
"He's not polished," Gailey said. "But with that speed and the ability and attitude he carries on the field, if he'd have been a three-year guy he'd have been higher up the board."
Graham caught 46 passes for 757 yards (a 16.5-yard average) and seven touchdowns as a senior in 2011. He's also the Atlantic Coast Conference all-time leader in kickoff return yards, with 3,153. Gailey, however, said he would have Graham focus on receiving, not returns, early on. Graham's catch totals were 25, 12 and 16 the three previous years, respectively.
There were many other wideouts who had more receiving statistics than Graham. But the Bills were intent on getting a speedster who might strike fear into defenses.
Graham was under the radar of many draftniks. Kiper and McShay had him as a seventh-round prospect. The NFL Network's Mike Mayock did not have him in his top 100. But Scouts Inc. in February rated him 80th overall and the 10th best receiver.
The Bills were concerned receiver-needy Jacksonville might want him, so gave up a seventh-round pick to Washington to move up two spots.
"We liked his speed, and he can catch the football," Nix said. "He can return. They'll have to cover deep."
The Glenn file
Weight: 345 pounds
Hometown: Riverdale, Ga.
Fast facts: Associated Press All-America Third Team selection was a projected first-round pick who fell into Bills' lap in second round. Very powerful tackle with long arms measuring 35.6 inches. Tied school record with 50 total starts, including 18 at left tackle and 28 at left guard.