Share this article

print logo

Bills wrap up NFL draft by adding QB depth, defense

After two nights of trading, the Buffalo Bills were left with three low-round picks -- two in the fifth and one in the sixth -- in the NFL Draft Saturday.

They still managed to make some noise, however, by using one of them for (what else?) a quarterback: fifth-rounder and 171st overall choice Nathan Peterman from the University of Pittsburgh.

At the very least, Peterman will compete with last year's fourth-rounder, Cardale Jones, for the No. 3 spot behind Tyrod Taylor and newly acquired veteran backup T.J. Yates. At the very most, Peterman could challenge Yates for the No. 2 job ... or even eventually emerge as the starter, possibly as early as this season.

After all, Taylor is under what amounts to a one-year, prove-it contract.

"They’re going to come in and compete just like the rest of them," coach Sean McDermott said of Peterman and Jones. "Nothing’s promised to anyone and this is where it starts, with this guy right here (pointing to himself). We’re going to compete every day. I’ve got to earn my spot and you guys have heard me say that before, and I’m sticking with that."

"I don’t really know what to expect," Peterman said in a conference call with reporters. "I am going to try and help the team as much as I can. I know in college I learned quickly that you just take your opportunities when they come and you never know when it will be. I am going to go and try and just help the room out as much as I can and just be part of a great organization."

In 37 career games of a college career that began at Tennessee, Peterman completed 398 of 663 passes for 5,236 yards and 47 touchdowns, with 17 interceptions.

He was a two-year starter for the Panthers after failing to beat out Josh Dobbs as the Volunteers' starter. His best season came in 2016 when, in 13 starts, he completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 2,855 yards and 27 touchdowns to seven interceptions.

"His success speaks for itself at the position in terms of what he’s gone through," McDermott said. "Facing adversity early on in his career at Tennessee and showed a tremendous amount of grit and turned that into a positive in terms of his career at Pitt."

"I mean, right now I am going through transition, where I get to go to a new team," Peterman said. "... Obviously, it is a lot different from college to the NFL. To already have gone through something like that I think it is going to help me with the lessons I learned there and then just to go in and help as much as I can."

The Bills stuck with the need-based approach they took from the beginning of the draft Thursday night by using their other two picks Saturday on linebackers: Boston College's Matt Milano with their first choice in the fifth round (163rd overall) and Boise State's Tanner Vallejo with their final pick, in the sixth round (195th).

That gave them an even split of three defensive players and three offensive players since the draft began Thursday night, including LSU cornerback Tre'Davious White late in the first round (27th), and East Carolina wide receiver Zay Jones (37th) and Temple offensive lineman Dion Dawkins (63rd) in the second.

The 6-foot, 225-pound Milano started 24 games the past two seasons. He was credited with 28 tackles for loss as a junior and senior. Milano's best chance for making an impact as a rookie will be on special teams, something he embraces.

"Absolutely," he said during a conference call with reporters. "I’ve been playing special teams all of college. It’s something I love doing. I love running down on a kickoff, I love kickoff returns, I love all the aspects of special teams – everything. So I’m definitely looking forward to getting started there on special teams."

"Looking for speed on the field, smart, tough football player, productive, show’s an ability to blitz and effect the quarterback, so we felt good about Matt," McDermott said.

The 6-foot-1, 228-pound Vallejo appeared in 46 career games. He was credited with 275 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 35 tackles, and one interception.

In 14 games as a sophomore, he accumulated a team-leading 99 tackles, including 15.5 for loss. He received defensive MVP honors for registering 14 tackles (10 solo) and 1.5 sacks in the Broncos' 2014 Fiesta Bowl victory against Arizona.

"Similar to Matt in terms of the vision and speed at the position and tremendous production around the football," McDermott said. "Relentless, and let’s not forget the value of special teams ..."

There are no comments - be the first to comment