2008 Draft Class Top Heavy in D Talent


CB Cason one of six first-round CB talents (The Wildcat Online)

For months, fans of the Buffalo Bills have deliberated about the top prospects available in this year's NFL Draft. The arguments have been intense and constructive (especially those in this community), and they've boiled down to two main arguments: the Buffalo Bills need a wide receiver and should take one with their top draft choice, or the Buffalo Bills need a wide receiver and shouldn't take one with their top draft choice.

With the draft just over a week away, the latter argument - that the Bills should wait to take a wide receiver - is quickly picking up support. Why? Well, the vast majority of this year's best prospects play defense. And the top draft prospects on the offensive side of the ball play positions that the Bills don't have a dire need at, namely quarterback, running back and offensive line.

The Top 32 31 Prospects
I recently put the finishing touches on a draft board plotting all of the draft prospects that received grades within the first three rounds from me. Of those 31 names, a whopping 18 of them play defense. Those names are (in no particular order):

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB Mike Jenkins, CB Antoine Cason, CB Leodis McKelvin, CB Brandon Flowers, CB Aqib Talib, LB Jerod Mayo, LB Keith Rivers, DE Chris Long, DE Vernon Gholston, DE Phillip Merling, DE Derrick Harvey, DE Quentin Groves, DT Glenn Dorsey, DT Sedrick Ellis, DT Kentwan Balmer, DT Trevor Laws, LB Dan Connor

That leaves 13 offensive players with first-round grades from me. Of those 13, eleven of them play positions that are not widely considered to be Day One targets for the Bills. Those names:

OG Branden Albert, OT Jake Long, OT Ryan Clady, OT Chris Williams, OT Gosder Cherilus, RB Rashard Mendenhall, RB Darren McFadden, RB Jonathan Stewart, QB Brian Brohm, QB Matt Ryan, QB Joe Flacco

We've got two names left. WR Devin Thomas and TE Martellus Bennett both receive first-round grades from me. That's how thin the Bills' first-round options are - and I'm not talking strictly about #11, either.

The Same Old Argument Remains
Obviously, this information is completely subjective on my part, but it serves the purpose of putting a number to the idea that this defense's best prospects are defenders. Two offensive players got a first-round grade from me, and only Thomas should be given consideration at number eleven. So, once again, we're back into the same old argument:

Side One: With only one receiver getting a first-round grade, the Bills should instead draft a defender with their top pick, ensure they get the best value in the first round, and concentrate on their receiver problem in the second round (where, for your information, I have six receivers with Round Two grades).

Side Two: With only one receiver getting a first-round grade, the Bills should take that player with their top pick, ensuring they get the top player on their board at their biggest positional need. The draft has solid depth in round two at several defensive positions, so while it may not measure up in value with side one's argument, it has a chance to have a much bigger impact on the Bills' roster.

If you feel like making the same arguments you've made over and over, feel free. You know I'm a Side Two guy. I know which side most of y'all reside on as well. To be honest, I'm sick of making the same arguments. Let's just get this draft over with already. But I'm here to say right now - even though I'm still a proponent of drafting a WR in round one, there's no arguing that this is a draft class top-heavy with defensive talent.

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