After what has been weeks of draft talk on this blog I thought it would be interesting to finally find out what everybody really has in mind for the off-season. I'd love to see who everyone would want to see the Bills take in the draft by way of pre-free agency mock draft. Without assuming anything in terms of free agency, a pre-market mock draft is a great way for us all to air out names and players we are familiar with that others may have no information on. It doesn't hurt to be as well-informed as possible heading into what is looking like the most talented draft pool in a long time.
Without further ado, here is my pre-free agency mock draft. I would love to see your own in the responses.
Round 1. Alex Mack (Cal, C) - I know it’s a reach with the eleventh pick but it is just too hard for me to pass up on talent like this at a position of serious need. What really makes Mack so attractive in the first round is that he is known to play with a mean streak, to bully the opposition, and to never quit on any blocking assignments. That attitude will mesh well with Marshawn Lynch’s never say die running style and will take our team a significant step closer to establishing a smash mouth offense.
Round 2. Greg Hardy (Ole Miss, DE) – Defensive end is such a weakness outside of Aaron Schobel and he didn’t even play this year which really left us high and dry on defense. Kelsay’s contract needs to go and other quarterbacks should feel pressured into making imperfect throws into our highly talented and, if given the opportunity, playmaking secondary. I really like Hardy mostly because I think he just might be the most athletic defensive end in this entire draft. I remember watching the Ole Miss – Alabama game in 2007 when he absolutely terrorized the Bama team. What I love mot about this guy is that not only does he shed blocks with power and finesse, he doesn’t just attack the ball carrier, he attacks the ball itself. I can’t remember watching such an impactful playmaking defensive end. I mean, this guy wants to tear the ball every play. I looked up his stat line from that game I saw him play against Alabama and it came out to 13 tackles, 3 sacks, 5 tackles for a loss, and two forced fumbles. We need playmakers and a pass rusher, Hardy is definitely going to be both.
Round 3. Brandon Graham (Michigan, DE) – There is just too much great defensive end talent to be had at the top of this draft that I think it makes sense for Buffalo to take a second stab at defensive end. We have so little defensive end talent that we can not afford for a high defensive end pick to go bust, taking two gives us pretty good odds. Best case scenario we end up with situation similar to the one the Giants have with Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck. Graham is a physical freak and he delivers hits like a hammer. He is so fast for a defensive end that its almost strange to watch him play with the strength that he does. I think his ability to pack a wallop when he hits and to play with such strength derives from the fact that he is only 6’2 but still weighs in at 270. That is a thick man. His height may be a problem but he has too much athletic prowess for that to be a serious flaw.
Round 4. Ryan Purvis (Boston College, TE) – I know everyone is high on the idea of a big time playmaker tight end but I’m not sold yet that this what we need at the position. Purvis fits more into the mold of the kind of tight end target I want on the field with Trent Edwards. This guy is a solid, possession pass catcher. He is great at reading coverages and utilizing short routes to get open. When he makes a catch he makes the most of it by fighting for more yards and has earned a reputation as a high effort blocker and a high character guy. He may not break open any massive plays but he will be the reliable short range target Trent Edwards needs to help him develop. Matt Ryan loved throwing to this guy and let it be known by making him one of his favorite targets and so will Trent Edwards.
Round 5. Jorvorskie Lane (Texas A&M, FB) – I love what Lane has to offer as a fullback in the NFL. First things first, the guy is 6’0, 290 pounds!! That is Brandon Jacobs size at fullback and it will allow him to open massive holes as a lead blocker for Marshawn Lynch and Freddie Jackson. Second, the guy has 50 touchdowns in his short career at Texas A&M and is, for a lack of a better word, an awesome goal line back. He can not only block but he can make plays as well. He was a halfback until he converted to fullback last year and runs the forty at 4.7. Like Alex Mack, drafting this guy would take us another significant step closer to being a smash mouth offense that puts the hurt on defenses.
Round 6. Brian Toal (Boston College, OLB) – Toal will give us another DiGiorgio to fit on the roster as a staple backup for our OLBs. I am starting to think that the odds of us retaining Crowell are higher then the odds of us letting him walk but his injury will still require us to find a backup who is more reliable than Ellison. Toal, like DiGiorgio, is undersized but for that exact reason is a solid wrap-up tackler who gives full effort every play. He is smart and will diagnose plays quickly which will make him an ideal back up.
Round 7. Kory Sheets (Purdue, RB) – Sheets is known as a wonderful pass blocker and a great receiver, which will make him a great 3rd down back if Freddie or Marshawn misses any significant time.