ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley has closed the NFL draft much like he began it, by capping a series of trades to transform the team's roster.
The Bills opened the draft on Saturday by selecting Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell in the fourth round, and Baylor guard Cyril Richardson in the fifth. And they closed it with two seventh-round picks: Florida Atlantic linebacker Randell Johnson and Miami offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson.
In between, Buffalo acquired running back Bryce Brown in a trade with Philadelphia.
The moves followed a busy two days for the first-year GM. Whaley said after the draft that all the moves are a function of trying to make the Bills a better team.
I wouldn't say I anticipated it, but I did anticipate doing everything in our power to make this team better and make this team a playoff team. I think it's going to be a year-by-year basis. I think where we are and where we're trying to go and trying to maintain, I can't say it's always going to be like this, but I will say I will not be afraid to be aggressive and be bold. There will be times when you don't have to and you can sit back and let things fall to you or you can trade down. I don't want to be a hard line and say this is exactly what I'm going to do. I want to keep all our options open.
Some thought the Bills might draft a quarterback in the later rounds but Whaley said the Bills do not expect to add one. "We do not anticipate bringing in another arm. I'll never say never, you never know what is going to happen. Someone could get hurt… But at this time we're very confident with the guys we have on campus. Like I've said before, our philosophy should keep you .500 and Thad came in and got us close to the three, two and three. So we're excited about that and then Jeff Tuel came in and played against Kansas City, did some good things but also had some mistakes. But we were conscious of the fact that he was an undrafted college free agent rookie so we expected him to make some mistakes. And Dennis Dixon has been in the league for a while and he brings a skillset that will compliment what we're trying to do offensively. We have some competition. We do have some young guys, but they're experienced in our system. And that was another thought process: if you bring someone else in, they're just as young or younger and less experienced in the system so we're very confident where we are right now."
The Bills opened the draft on Thursday by trading up five spots to select Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins with the No. 4 pick. Buffalo then traded receiver Stevie Johnson to San Francisco on Friday. Bills President & CEO Russ Brandon said that late Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson would have loved this draft. " It will be on my mind every day. As you guys know, he loved the Draft. We thought about him a lot as we led up to it. About the trades, he would have loved the last three days. He loved to wheel and deal. He would have really enjoyed it. It's tough to get up every day and not think about him. He is the leader of this organization and we will honor him every day."