Bills Training Camp
Bills’ rookies Gilmore, Graham turning heads
ROCHESTER — Buffalo Bills first-round pick Stephon Gilmore has impressed everyone early.
“He’s very consistent,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “There is no up and down in the guy. What you see every day is what you get every day. That has been a pleasant surprise. A lot of the time, with rookies, something bad will happen to them and they go in the tank.”
Gilmore, the 10th overall pick out of South Carolina, has already spent the majority of camp practicing with the first team. Not only that, he is lining up against number one wide receiver Stevie Johnson.
“It’s good for both of those guys to fight each other every day like that. It’s good for Stevie and it’s good for Stephon,” said Gailey. “If he can cover Stevie, he’ll be a great player for us. So, it’s a good battle.”
Gilmore agreed that covering a wide receiver who posted 1,004 yards and seven TD’s last season is no walk in the park.
“He’s a hard person to guard,” said Gilmore. “I just try to stay with him as much as I can. Some plays, you got to give him the short plays and try to take away the deep ball.”
With cornerback still not a deep position for Buffalo, Gilmore is almost a lock to start Week 1, especially given his early impressions on the coaching staff.
But he knows there is still a long way to go before that dream can become a reality.
“I feel like I am getting better,” Gilmore said. “I’ve gotten better at my technique and how to mirror receivers. I could get my hands on a few more balls. I still have a lot to learn.”
Also looking to make a immediate contribution for the Bills is former NC State alum and third-round pick TJ Graham.
Graham, a wide receiver, is looking to compete for a spot on the starting core.
But for now, he knows what his role is.
“To run fast and catch the ball,” said Graham. “I’ve been trying to do that the best I can.”
Graham admits that it’s taken him a while to get up to speed on the NFL playing lifestyle.
“I’m 23-years-old with a lot of free time,” he says. “In order for me to play well, I have to learn the plays. You go back to OTA’s, rookie mini-camp and not knowing the plays, it leads to me not running as fast as I could. I needed to learn the plays so I could be comfortable and run them a lot smoother.”
Comfort is a big deal for Graham, who relies on his speed to make things happen on the field.
He’s also is playing it smart in this his first training camp.
“There are a lot of temptations that make you want to go out at night and have fun, but I stay in and study,” Graham says. “I want to come in and contribute early.”
Gailey also had a lot of great things to say about his new offensive weapon.
“He’s getting better as a receiver,” he said. “I think he has a long way to go, but I think he is getting better every day he steps out there. That’s what he has to do and if you don’t look at it that way, you are going to get left behind.”
If Graham does want to start right away, it won’t be an easy feat. He’ll have to beat out some promising wide receiver candidates, like Donald Jones and Marcus Easley, both who have played very well during the first few days at camp.
But Gailey is confident that Graham will be able to contribute come fall.
“That speed, if he gets open, is hard to catch,” said Gailey. “He still has a lot to learn, but he is doing some good things out there. He is catching the ball very well right now.”