This is the fifth installment of the Buffalo Rumblings Authors Mock draft series, pre-free agency edition. Although I did not plan my draft to work out this way, I apparently have a soft spot in my heart for the small schools (Rice, Wyoming and my personal favorite, Alcorn State). Perhaps to overcompensate for my love affair with these pint-size institutions, I chose to go big - "Texas big" - in round one for our Buffalo Bills:
Round 1: Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
In my pre-free agency top 11 mock, Brian Orakpo was the defensive end that fell to the Bills, therefore, for the sake of consistency, Orakpo will be my number one guy here. Unlike others however, I'm not sold on this pick. Truth be told, none of the top defensive ends have blown me away - at least not yet. With the Scouting Combine and pro days to come, there's still a lot of time to convince me otherwise. For now, it's the 6'4", 260-pound defensive end from (gulp) Texas. (If I thought B.J. Raji would be there at eleven, he'd be my pick, but I don't see how he gets past Green Bay. And just for the record, I
wouldn't mind would love to see a trade down and the selection of Cal center Alex Mack.)
Round 2: Max Unger, C, Oregon
I don't know what's worse - not getting the guy you want the Bills to draft in real life or still not getting the guy you want in your own mock draft?! I would love to write in Alex Mack's name here, but I see him being snatched up by a smart team late in the first round (or very early in the second). I went back and forth between Unger and Eric Wood, but for now the 6'5", 300-pounder from Oregon gets the call.
Round 3: James Casey, TE, Rice
Let's face it, there are a lot of undersized tight ends in this year's draft. It appears that the Bills look for the "complete package" when selecting tight ends, but hey, this is my draft, and I'm all for a guy that is primarily a receiving threat. With that mindset, there has been no tight end more productive in 2008 than James Casey (111 receptions, 1329 yards, 13 TD). Again, he does not have ideal size (6'4" and 235 pounds), but if the guy can be more productive than Robert Royal and company, then I don't see a problem with a less-than-complete package TE.
Round 4: Devin Moore, RB, Wyoming
The 5-10, 190 pound Moore is the scat back I'm hoping Buffalo will find this off-season. He has potential sub-4.40 speed and production to go along with it (2008: 1301 yards/5.2 avg. and 2007: 965/4.9 avg). I originally had him projected as fifth-rounder for Buffalo, but an expected impressive 40-time at the combine (potentially low 4.3's) will increase his value - maybe even out of this spot. Oh - did I mention he returns kicks too. (As if the Bills need another one of those!)
Round 5: Maurice Evans, DE, Penn State
Maybe it's because I'm not sold on the first round defensive ends or maybe it's because I'm a Penn State homer, but I like the idea of Maurice Evans here. I think he has the potential to be the steal of the draft. The former Nittany Lion comes with some baggage (marijuana possession that made him miss three games in 2008), but his bad behavior didn't completely erase his successful 2007 campaign (12.5 sacks). Unfortunately it only got worst for Evans. After starting the 2008 season in Joe Paterno's dog house, he lost his starting job to red-shirt sophomore and now potential Top-10 pick Aaron Maybin. Funny how things happen. Prior to his arrest last year, it was Evans, not Maybin, projected to go in the first round this year. Buffalo could use all the pass-rush help it can get and a mid-round talent that has fallen out of favor, may be the way to go.
Round 6: Quinn Johnson, FB, LSU
The 6'1", 260-pound Johnson does one thing well - knock the snot out of people. This truck isn't known for handling the rock (14 career carries), but that's why Buffalo has the Lynch/Jackson/Moore(?!) trio. Johnson, a former linebacker, would be there to do the dirty work. Oh, and I love this guy's attitude!
Round 7: Lee Robinson, OLB, Alcorn State
Alright, I admit it, I picked him solely on his school's name (joking; well, somewhat). Robinson has the size (6'2", 243-pounds) and production (111 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 3 picks in 2008) to take a late round chance on.