Up next we have the newbie mock! As has been explained in the first two Buffalo Rumblings Author mocks, with this mock draft we were supposed to draft for our Buffalo Bills based on the current Bills roster with no assumptions made about free agency. My list will certainly look different now than it will after free agency based largely on the lack of starting LB and C.
Disclaimer: I think I watched maybe two hours of college football this year. I went to a SUNY school with no football team and never really got into college football. This is my best shot.
Guys whose 2008 spots I decided to fill due to lack of performance or free agency:
- DE Chris Kelsay
- OLB Angelo Crowell - UFA
- C Melvin Fowler - UFA
- C Duke Preston - UFA (Preston could be back as a short-term starter and longer-term backup)
- TE Robert Royal
- FB Corey McIntyre - UFA
Round 1: Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
I really, really waffled between taking a LB and DE here. Which could have the greater impact this year? Is Chris Ellis capable of stepping up and delaying the need for immediate DE help? It was then put to me thusly - Keith Ellison or Chris Kelsay starting - which do you prefer? (Thanks Brian and Eric.) Going into last year I would have said Kelsay but after this year Ellison wasn't a liability although unspectacular. I go with the Bills highest ranked DE left on the board. Today it happens to be Brian Orakpo. Next week it could be Aaron Maybin or Everette Brown. You never know. It needs to be one of them though. (If Aaron Curry falls I will secretly hope we take him here.)
Round 2: Clay Matthews, OLB, USC
I originally had Max Unger in here but when you see my third round pick you'll see why I passed for now. Some people have Matthews as a low first round pick but if he can get to the Bills they should make him their starting SAM LB. I don't know a whole lot about him (or college players in general) but from the reports I read he has good speed and athleticism. He has a good drive and is a motor kind of guy, just what OBD likes.
Round 3: Eric Wood, C, Louisville
The Bills will have no center on their roster once free agency begins. I would like to see them bring in a vet to start and a draft pick to sit and learn. Even if they don't bring in a vet, Wood has the potential to start on day one. I wouldn't have a huge problem with them bringing back Preston and starting him until the bye week or something, then sticking the kid in there while relegating Preston to a spot I think he does well - interior line depth. Wood started every game at Louisville and was named to the All-Big East team this year. His name has been rising on draft boards (Brian had us taking him in the second round) but I will keep him in the third round for now. Wood may come off the board before we pick, but I sure hope not.
Round 4: Shawn Nelson, TE, Southern Miss
I'd love to see Chase Coffman sitting here but it probably won't happen. I expect Coffman to go in the third. I'm taking Nelson for his ability to get upfield. We have a pair of Dereks who can block and catch the short routes; I want a seam stretcher so we can go two TE, one receiver, Marshawn, and a FB or Freddy on the field. Then we can run or pass out of that formation to all sides of the field and be a little less transparent. Nelson's stock is also rising with conflicting reports saying he's anywhere from the third to the sixth-best TE in the draft. I hope most teams have him labeled low so we can nab him.
Round 5: Randy Phillips, S, Miami (FL)
Phillips used to be a corner so he should have the swagger and ball-hawking skills we desperately need in the back of the secondary. Keep Whitner and Scott starting and rotate this kid in there and see what he can do. He may be the starting FS for Buffalo in 2010. I can definitely see the Bills taking Josh Pinkard from USC here but he's been so injury-plagued that I don't want to take the chance. Anyone here for USC safety Kevin Ellison (Keith's brother) as our new strong safety?
Round 6: Brett Helms, C, LSU
I had Ian Johnson (RB Boise State) here until I realized that we don't have a backup center or guard. (As I said earlier I am an advocate for resigning Preston, even if it's as an interior backup.) We need someone to come in and back up Wood. (Remember we are making no assumptions on free agency and we have backups in place for RB with Oman and OT with Pennington.) I know nothing about this guy but he is in the ballpark for that part of the draft. This pick will change if/when they sign any center.
Round 7: Tony Fiammetta, FB, Syracuse
I want Lorenzo Neal to come in here and clean some clocks ala Sam Gash. If that doesn't happen give me Fiammetta any day. He'll be a great lead blocker. The Bills could wait and see if one of their fullback prospects is undrafted but I won't risk it and I take the dozer from ‘Cuse in the seventh round.
I would have liked to have drafted Johnson, another OL player and a big space-eating DT but with this being a pre-free agency draft, I went with this. I could have put a DT in there instead of Phillips or Nelson but I didn't. People will yell at me and say I'm building from the outside in but I think doing that this year is short-sighted. Wood solidifies the O Line and the D line gets a new pass rusher. I am comfortable with Stroud, Williams, and Johnson with McCargo or without him. Maybe they sign an Undrafted F/A DT and put him on the practice squad or replace McCargo. The O-Line has some of the biggest contracts on the team already. This draft adds playmakers and starters at positions we need both right now. What do you guys think?