Ed. Note, by Brian Galliford: Bumped from the FanPosts. More extremely high-quality work from y'all. Mad props to one of our newest members, PerryTuttle22, for the excellent piece. Bumped, rec'd, etc. Enjoy!
There is some general consensus that the Buffalo Bills' four biggest needs heading into the draft, in no particular order, are DE, LB, OL, and TE. Some may throw SS or DT in there as well but I personally don't believe we are quite as weak at those positions. I think Bryan Scott is a serviceable strong safety and I have hopes that Bob Sanders is the type of coach John McCargo needs to reach his potential.
It's likely we will see several if not all four of those need positions addressed in the draft. You could argue that heading into last years draft our biggest needs were CB, WR, DE, and TE. And in the first four rounds last year we drafted a CB, a WR, a DE, and a TE. Go figure. It's possible, probably doubtful, but possible that our first four selections this year will be DE, LB, OL, and TE, not necessarily in that order. If we assume that we take only one player from each position in rounds one through four, it creates 24 possible positional scenarios that could play out on draft day. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at each scenario and see where we get the best overall value.
Before we do that let's take a look at each of the four positions and some players that are likely to be there when we pick in each round. This is by no means a comprehensive list but is more meant to be an outline of the quality of player that will be available. These projections were scientifically formed from a mixture of MIke Mayock's ratings, Wes Bunting at NFP's ratings, Pro Football Weekly's Draft Magazine, my imagination, and some serious boredom at work.
|Defensive End Depth|
|Rd 1||Aaron Maybin, Everette Brown|
|Rd 2||Connor Barwin, Michael Johnson, Paul Kruger|
|Rd 3||Lawrence Sidbury, Cody Brown|
|Rd 4||Phillip Hunt|
|Rd 1||Clay Mathews, Brian Cushing, Ray Maualuga|
|Rd 2||Marcus Freeman|
|Rd 3||Jonathan Casillas|
|Rd 4||Tyrone Mckenzie, Zach Follett|
|Offensive Lineman Depth|
|Rd 1||Michael Oher, Andre Smith|
|Rd 2||Duke Robinson, Max Unger, William Beatty, Andy Levitre|
|Rd 3||Antoine Caldwell, Kraig Urbick|
|Rd 4||A.Q. Shipley, Louis Vasquez|
|Tight End Depth|
|Rd 1||Brandon Pettigrew|
|Rd 2||Shawn Nelson, Cornelious Ingram|
|Rd 3||James Casey, Chase Coffman, Richard Quinn|
|Rd 4||Anthony Hill, Bear Pascoe|
Much more, including the 24 scenarios promised to you, after the jump.
The first thing that jumps out at me is how top heavy the linebacker position is. After the first round the quality of talent at that position seems to take a steep drop. I have to believe if we don't take a linebacker in the first round and someone like Stintim doesn't drop to us in the second we will wait to take a depth linebacker in the late rounds. The Tight End and Offensive Line positions are much deeper in comparison. And at DE you can still get a decent pass rushing specialist in a later round.
Using the above positional depth charts lets take a look at the 24 mostly unlikely but possible scenarios. Again the listed players are there to show the quality of talent available in that round not the specific player I would chose. For the purposes of this exercise Maualuga would interchangeable with Mathews, Chase Coffman interchangeable with James Casey, etc...
|Defensive End in Round 1
|Rd 1||DE - Maybin||DE - Maybin||DE - Maybin||DE - Maybin||DE - Maybin||DE - Maybin|
|Rd 2||OL - Robinson||OL - Robinson||TE - Nelson||TE - Nelson||LB - Freeman||LB - Freeman|
|Rd 3||TE - Casey||LB - Casillas||OL - Caldwell||LB - Casillas||OL - Caldwell||TE - Casey|
|Rd 4||LB - Mckenzie||TE - Hill||LB - Mckenzie||OL - Shipley||TE - Hill||OL - Shipley|
|Linebacker in Round 1
|Rd 1||LB - Mathews||LB - Mathews||LB - Mathews||LB - Mathews||LB - Mathews||LB - Mathews|
|Rd 2||OL - Robinson||OL - Robinson||TE - Nelson||TE - Nelson||DE - Barwin||DE - Barwin|
|Rd 3||TE - Casey||DE - Sidbury||OL - Caldwell||DE - Sidbury||OL - Caldwell||TE - Casey|
|Rd 4||DE - Hunt||TE - Hill||DE - Hunt||OL - Shipley||TE - Hill||OL - Shipley|
|Tight End in Round 1
|Rd 1||TE - Pettigrew||TE - Pettigrew||TE - Pettigrew||TE - Pettigrew||TE - Pettigrew||TE - Pettigrew|
|Rd 2||OL - Robinson||OL - Robinson||DE - Barwin||DE - Barwin||LB - Freeman||LB - Freeman|
|Rd 3||DE - Sidbury||LB - Casillas||OL - Caldwell||LB - Casillas||OL - Caldwell||DE - Sidbury|
|Rd 4||LB - Mckenzie||DE - Hunt||LB - Mckenzie||OL - Shipley||DE - Hunt||OL - Shipley|
|Offensive Lineman in Round 1
|Rd 1||OL - Oher||OL - Oher||OL - Oher||OL - Oher||OL - Oher||OL - Oher|
|Rd 2||DE - Barwin||DE - Barwin||TE - Nelson||TE - Nelson||LB - Freeman||LB - Freeman|
|Rd 3||TE - Casey||LB - Casillas||DE - Sidbury||LB - Casillas||DE - Sidbury||TE - Casey|
|Rd 4||LB - Mckenzie||TE - Hill||LB - Mckenzie||DE - Hunt||TE - Hill||DE - Hunt|
There are a few scenarios I like, but my favorite is this one:
- Clay Mathews
- Duke Robinson/Max Unger
- James Casey/Chase Coffman
- Phillip Hunt
The Tight End class is deep through three rounds so I have no problem waiting until the 3rd to get one. Offensive line is fairly deep as well but is a major need and the 2nd round seems to have the best value for us at that position.
That leaves LB and DE. No doubt we can get an impact player at either position in the 1st round but the talent level at DE is so much deeper in relation to LB that we appear to get more overall value going LB in the 1st and DE in the 4th. In Mathews we are getting an impact 3-down Linebacker who is versatile enough to provide help with our pass rush. And we would still get a DE with a lot of potential in the 4th.
What's your favorite scenario? Unfortunately I don't tihnk I can create a poll with 24 options.