ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - After focusing on offense in the early rounds of the NFL draft, the Buffalo Bills turned to a glaring need on defense on the draft's third and final day.
Buffalo selected safeties with back-to-back picks on Saturday, selecting Nevada's Michael `Duke' Williams 105th overall and Clemson's Jonathan Meeks 143rd overall. The Bills had a need for help on the back end due to the departure of veteran safety George Wilson, who joined the Tennessee Titans, and the uncertain future of standout Jairus Byrd. Byrd, one of Buffalo's top defenders, is unsigned after receiving the franchise tag on March 1.
Listed at 5-foot-11, 201 pounds, Williams is considered a playmaker in the secondary and is known for his speed and physicality. Williams played mostly at strong safety at Nevada and finished with 292 tackles, 18 pass breakups and four interceptions.
Williams is the second Bills draft pick to have encountered off-field problems. He was arrested in 2009 for underage possession of alcohol and in 2011 for driving with a suspended license and without insurance after being involved in a car accident. On Friday, the Bills selected Oregon linebacker Kristian `Kiko' Alonso, who was suspended for the entire 2010 season due to separate alcohol-related offenses.
Meeks, who is listed at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, had 157 tackles, seven interceptions and 13 pass breakups in 50 career games, including 24 starts. Meeks is a versatile prospect who could play at strong or free safety in the pros and has good size and range.
The additions of Williams and Meeks give new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine more options to work with as he attempts to overhaul Buffalo's defense. The Bills are switching to a hybrid 3-4 scheme under Pettine, the former New York Jets defensive coordinator. Pettine plans on installing a pressure defense that attacks opposing offenses, which the Bills hope will lead to more opportunities for turnovers.
Buffalo finished in the bottom third of the league in most defensive categories in 2012. The Bills were 22nd in yards allowed and 26th in points allowed last season.