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Buffalo Bills 2012 Draft Preview

With the signings of defensive ends Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, two of the top pass rushers of this year's free-agent class, the Bills turned last season's most troubling weakness into a possible strength. Questions still remain on the offensive line, however, after the team allowed starting left tackle Demetress Bell to depart in the offseason. Though 2011 fourth-round pick Chris Hairston has upside, the jury's still out as to whether he's quick and skilled enough to handle the left side, making it likely that general manager Buddy Nix will use one of Buffalo's first two selections to bring in some competition. An outside wide receiver with size and deep speed that can prevent opponents from focusing on top target Stevie Johnson also ranks high on the Bills' to-do list, as is injecting some more youth and ability to a secondary that contains four key members over the age of 30 and adding further depth at linebacker. With extra choices in the fourth, fifth and seventh rounds, the opportunity to augment the overall talent base is there. Nix has shown a preference for major conference players from the Southeastern region (i.e. SEC, ACC) during the last two drafts, something to keep an eye on.

2011 Record: 6-10

Top Needs: OT, WR, CB

First Three Picks: No. 10, No. 41, No. 71

Number of Selections: 10 (1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7, 7)

RECENT FIRST ROUND HISTORY: 2011 - Marcell Dareus (DT, Alabama); 2010 - C.J. Spiller (RB, Clemson); 2009 - Aaron Maybin (DE, Penn State), Eric Wood (OL, Louisville); 2008 - Leodis McKelvin (CB, Troy); 2007 - Marshawn Lynch (RB, California); 2006 - Donte Whitner (S, Ohio State), John McCargo (DT, North Carolina State); 2005 - None; 2004 - Lee Evans (WR, Wisconsin), J.P. Losman (QB, Tulane); 2003 - Willis McGahee (RB, Miami-Florida).