After unveiling our first and second round picks over the last two days, the authors of Buffalo Rumblings are now ready to unveil the ultra-important third round of our Authors Mock Draft. Through two rounds (eight selections total), the four of us have predicted a whopping seven players will be the newest Buffalo Bills come this weekend (Oklahoma WR Malcolm Kelly is the only repeat pick). Here's how we chose in round three:
3-72: Tyvon Branch, CB, Connecticut
- I have Branch rated as the #8 corner on my board, which leaves out players who would struggle in Buffalo's preferred style of defense. Branch has outstanding straight-line speed (4.31), is tough and competitive, has excellent leadership qualities and works his tail off. He's talented enough to start in a Cover 2 defense in this league, plus he can return kicks. He'd be a great fit as a dime back to start (while upgrading the team's special teams units), and has enough talent and potential to start in Year Two. That will give Jabari Greer and William James a chance to earn their keep beyond the next year or two.
3-72: Andre Caldwell, WR, Florida
- I think that at pick #72 Andre Caldwell will be the best receiver left on the board. After taking the two highest rated players on their board in the first 2 rounds, the Bills now have to fill the need at WR, or risk serious problems in the passing game. Is Caldwell going to be a better pro than Kelly, Sweed, Hardy, or Thomas? Who knows? Not me, that's for sure. I would love to see either Earl Bennett or Jordy Nelson here, but I think they will both be gone, so I'll go with Caldwell.
3-72: Jordy Nelson, WR, Kansas State
- I know what you're thinking: "Two WRs in back-to-back rounds? What is he thinking?!" I have to admit, I think they will go TE here (see the names I mentioned in round two); however, I think a WR such as Nelson would fill two important roles: 1) much needed insurance if Kelly bombs, and 2) a young guy with talent and a lot of potential to take over if Lee walks in two years (many believe that it is not until the third season many young WRs break out. Nelson would be entering his third when/if Lee leaves).
3-72: Terrell Thomas, CB, USC
- It was a toss up between Thomas and Reggie Smith here, but I have a feeling Smith will go at the end of the second or earlier in the third. Either way, Thomas seems to be a player that has gotten lost in the shuffle as I, for one, have heard very little about him in recent weeks. I really like what he could provide our defense. He has very good size (6', 202), a ton of experience, versatility (has played some safety), adequate speed (4.49 40), great leadership and work ethic, some return ability and is a good fit for the Cover 2 scheme. I think CB can wait until at least the third round because I'm not sure a rookie would come in and start right away.
So there you have it - four more names to add to the incredibly diverse set of mock drafts we've concocted (diversity was not an aim, mind you - it just sort of happened, and lends credence to the idea that nobody has a clue what the Bills will be doing this weekend). Here's how the four mock drafts have shaken out thus far:
1-11. Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan State
2-41. John Carlson, TE, Notre Dame
3-72. Tyvon Branch, CB, Connecticut
1-11. Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida
2-41. Fred Davis, TE, USC
3-72. Andre Caldwell, WR, Florida
1-11. Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona
2-41. Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma
3-72. Jordy Nelson, WR, Kansas State
1-11. Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida
2-41. Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma
3-72. Terrell Thomas, CB, USC
As always, your comments and critiques of the players and strategies in these mock drafts are welcome and encouraged. Let's hear it, folks!