Rumblings Authors Mock, V2.0 - Galliford's Take


DE Ayers a likely Round 1 target (photo source)

The 2009 NFL Draft is one week from tomorrow, Buffalo Bills fans! With that glorious fact in mind, (most of) the editorial staff at Buffalo Rumblings will be bringing you our final versions of our seven-round team mock drafts over the next week. Predicting the NFL Draft is impossible even without a contract squabble hanging over your heads; we're toughing it out. Over the next seven days, you'll have at least one mock from a Rumblings author - but don't worry. We'll have plenty of draft coverage to supplement the mocks as well, including the reveal of the Buffalo Rumblings 2009 NFL Draft Big Board.

Since I run the show (toot!), I'm starting the Authors Mock series off today. Each author was given free license to do the mock however they saw fit; in my case, I've done two - one with trades of Jason Peters and Roscoe Parrish included, and one without. This is going to be long, so bear with me.

MOCK ONE: NO TRADES

We'll get the "boring" mock out of the way first. This is how I believe the draft might unfold for the Bills - not "what I would do," but "what I think the Bills will do." I don't do mock drafts for personal satisfaction or to promote my own beliefs on prospects. This is how I see the Bills making decisions on draft day. (And I feel extremely comfortable predicting that much can and will change over the next week, so don't take this as canon.)

Round 1, Pick 11: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee
You probably saw this pick coming based on writings over the past week or two. Ayers has soared up draft boards at the right time and is now a lock to be taken in the first round. Ayers will be at, or at a bare minimum near, the top of the Bills' board. I did not project a Peters trade in this mock, but that doesn't mean he's signed; if that's the case and Alabama OT Andre Smith were available, the Bills would undoubtedly seriously consider him, if not pick him. I expect that TE Brandon Pettigrew and LB Clay Matthews will be in the conversations as well, but Ayers seems like the probable choice at this point.

2-42: Andy Levitre, OG, Oregon State
No matter what, the Bills are still in need of a new starting guard. I've been touting Oregon's Max Unger for a while as a possibility, but call this one the first of many gut feelings I'm about to have - I think Levitre will be their pick in round two. The college left tackle is far better suited to play guard at the NFL level, and some scouts think he can play center as well. That versatility is Unger's major selling point, but Levitre might have just as much of it - in a tougher, nastier package.  He should start immediately at either left or right guard.

3-75: Gerald Cadogan, OT, Penn State
Again, I re-iterate: Peters is not traded in this scenario, but he's not signed, either. That's the worst-case scenario for Buffalo, so they will need to hedge their bets with a high-upside OT prospect in the early rounds that can start in a pinch. Cadogan is that type of player - not an immediate starter, but a possessor of very solid potential. He would compete with Kirk Chambers for the starting LT position while Peters sat at home hoping the team will pay him. (And again, I feel I should mention that this is the worst-case scenario for Buffalo. I don't expect this to happen unless things go very badly on draft day.)

4-110: Gerald McRath, LB, Southern Miss
It's always difficult to predict what type of linebacker the Bills will pursue - will they take the big-bodied, downhill run defenders or the light-footed, undersized pass defenders? In McRath, they get a little of both - he's a middle linebacker by trade with the athletic chops to man the weak side in a 4-3 scheme. He's been over-hyped a bit in terms of draft status, and it's not a lock that he would be available this late (though he certainly could be). I think he'd be a good fit as a SAM linebacker in Buffalo, though he's not by any means an immediate starter.

5-147: Corvey Irvin, DT, Georgia
Buffalo had Irvin in for a pre-draft visit - which doesn't mean a lot, but it doesn't mean nothing, either. At this point in the draft, he would represent solid value - and the team would like to add some competition to kick John McCargo into gear (though that's clearly not a high priority). Irvin is an underrated athlete that's quick in the short area. He can cause some problems as a penetrator. The Bills should seriously consider investing in the long-term future of the DT position with Marcus Stroud on the wrong side of 30, but if they do, it likely won't be too early in the draft.

6-183: John Phillips, TE, Virginia
This is the type of tight end pick that Bills fans would immediately despise. See why it makes sense? Phillips is the type of TE that the team has traditionally preferred - gritty, solid athletically and a good blocker. He would add to the competition at the position, and he and Derek Fine could actually make a pretty solid (if extremely underwhelming) 1-2 punch at the position.

7-220: Greg Toler, CB, St. Paul's
The Bills like their "random DB" picks, and always have. No one had heard of Northwestern State's Terrence McGee in 2003. Nor had anyone a clue about Akron's Reggie Corner last year. Toler is a popular sleeper pick out of St. Paul's, a school that has never had a player drafted into the NFL. Sounds like a perfect opportunity for the Bills - but Toler's got some solid upside.

There. Boring stuff is out of the way. In my second mock - which appears after the jump - the Bills are getting three extra picks through two trades, and it's shaking up the way they're going about adding players to the roster. Check it out!

MOCK TWO: PETERS, PARRISH TRADED

Before we get into the picks (patience, padawans!), we have to go over the trades involved in this mock.

Peters to Philadelphia: I still believe that the Bills will be able to squeeze a first-round pick out of a team the closer they get to draft day. The Eagles are obviously interested. (But are they more interested in Anquan Boldin?) I have the Bills shipping Peters to Philadelphia for two picks - their second first-rounder, No. 28 overall, and the first of their four fifth-rounders, No. 141 overall. It's time to lay the "first and a third for Peters" dream to rest - the Bills will likely be willing to accept (far?) less than that to get the situation resolved. With the Eagles possessing twelve picks, this is a fair trade in that they pick up Peters while retaining their high first-round pick as well as at least one selection in every round.

Parrish to Tennessee: Buffalo is reportedly seeking a fourth-round pick for Parrish - which isn't an awful lot value-wise to a team as good as the Tennessee Titans. Last year's best regular season team holds ten draft picks - and they're hurting for both a return man (Chris Carr left via free agency for Baltimore) and receiver depth. Parrish has a chance to help them tremendously - can you imagine having to deal with the type of speed that offensive skill players like Parrish and RB Chris Johnson possess? Therefore, I have the Bills shipping Parrish to the Titans for their fourth-round pick, No. 130 overall.

There we go. Peters and Parrish are gone for a first, a fourth, and a fifth. Onto the picks...

1-11: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee
Surprise! Peters is gone, and the Bills aren't taking an offensive tackle?! It's not the lock that most Bills fans seem to think it would be. There is very little chance that the team could seriously contend for top tackle prospects Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe. That leaves Andre Smith and Michael Oher. The team would obviously prefer Smith, but I sincerely doubt that he makes it out of the top ten. I mentioned in the "boring" mock that I thought Ayers would beat out Pettigrew and Matthews for the pick; Oher is now necessarily a part of the conversation because of the Peters trade, but I still think Ayers beats Oher out. Just a gut feeling. The margin between Ayers and Pettigrew/Matthews is much wider than between Ayers/Oher, based on need alone. I still think Ayers is the pick.

1-28: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
It's fairly obvious that the Bills love Pettigrew. Obviously, OT is still a need, but it's incredibly unlikely that Oher or even the overrated Eben Britton drop this far into round one. The team could reach for UConn's William Beatty, but far more likely, they'd take a guy they like. I firmly believe that if the Bills are able to pick up an extra first-round pick by dealing Peters, Pettigrew will be the target. There's a chance that Pettigrew could slide, but it's also possible (and more likely) that the Bills could swap a pick or two to move back up a few slots and nab Pettigrew. If they were to emerge from round one with Ayers and Pettigrew in tow, even with a hole at LT remaining, I believe the Bills' brass would be ecstatic (and most of the fan base would have fists through monitors).

2-42: Gerald Cadogan, OT, Penn State
Ladies and gentlemen, your new starting left tackle... at some point. OT is such a critical need at this point that I think the Bills would reach for any guy that they believe has good upside. I wanted to pencil Beatty in here, but I don't think he lasts all the way to No. 42. Again, Cadogan would enter the mix with Kirk Chambers and Demetrius Bell - and Bills fans would worry about the LT position for all eternity. (So would the Bills, in all likelihood.)

3-75: Tyrone McKenzie, LB, South Florida
Linebackers typically fall on draft days - which is exactly why I don't see the Bills addressing the position earlier than this spot, and which is exactly why I'm hoping McKenzie lasts this long into the third round.  I love this kid - he's active, athletic, and mature.  I think he's an instant starter.  I wouldn't be disappointed if the Bills considered him in the second round.  He's not ever going to be a dominant run defender, but he's good in coverage already, plays hard, and has some solid upside.

4-110: T.J. Lang, G/T, Eastern Michigan
One of the more underrated linemen in the draft, Lang is a stocky, physical run blocker that has the potential to start very early in his career. It's tough to gauge exactly when a small-school prospect like Lang will be picked - he could go as late as the fifth round, or as high as the second, as EMU teammate DL Jason Jones did last year. Lang might start at guard as a rookie in Buffalo, and he'd be excellent value here.

4-130: Courtney Greene, SS, Rutgers
I've believed all along that the Bills would pursue an in-the-box strong safety to complement Donte Whitner's move to free safety. Greene is that type of player - big and physical.  He's also a smart player and will be able to help out on special teams. He's got the career outlook of a Bryan Scott - a situational player that won't let you down, but a liability in other areas.  That's about as much has they can hope for from a mid-round safety prospect. (Side note: I seriously considered Derek Pegues of Mississippi State here because of his return experience, but two separate legal issues turned me off.)

5-141: Corvey Irvin, DT, Georgia
I had him in my "boring" mock, too, six spots lower than this. See above for an explanation.

5-147: Jerraud Powers, CB, Auburn
I think the Bills will look for a sixth cornerback in this draft. They'll have an easier time getting away with it if they have extra draft picks thanks to a trade. Powers is a small player that will have to play inside as a pro, but he's a quick athlete - and with some polish, he has the potential to grow into a very solid sub-package corner and special teams player. Powers is a bit of a risk-taker, and the Bills could use some of that defensively.

6-183: Henry Melton, DE, Texas
I don't believe that the Bills are looking at this year's draft and thinking "we have to draft two defensive ends." I believe they'll take at least one, but if a player with Melton's raw potential were to be available here in the sixth, I think they'd have a hard time not pulling the trigger. Melton is a superb athletic specimen, and though he hasn't played a lot of end (he started out as a RB at Texas), he's got elite potential - and that potential alone may get him drafted higher than this. If the Bills were to enter training camp with Chris Ellis, Ayers and Melton as the "young guns" at defensive end, I'd say they have a future at the position. Melton's best fit will be as a left end in a 4-3.

7-220: Anthony Parker, OG, Tennessee
Versatile, athletic, solid line prospect that has fallen out of favor in most places because of an arrest and his limited upside. Sounds like a solid fit for the Bills as a depth player - and in the seventh round, you're not doing much better than a depth player.

So, to recap...

MOCK ONE: NO TRADES
1-11: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee
2-42: Andy Levitre, OG, Oregon State
3-75: Gerald Cadogan, OT, Penn State
4-110: Gerald McRath, LB, Southern Miss
5-147: Corvey Irvin, DT, Georgia
6-183: John Phillips, TE, Virginia
7-220: Greg Toler, CB, St. Paul's

MOCK TWO: PETERS, PARRISH TRADED
1-11: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee
1-28: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
2-42: Gerald Cadogan, OT, Penn State
3-75: Tyrone McKenzie, LB, South Florida
4-110: T.J. Lang, G/T, Eastern Michigan
4-130: Courtney Greene, SS, Rutgers
5-141: Corvey Irvin, DT, Georgia
5-147: Jerraud Powers, CB, Auburn
6-183: Henry Melton, DE, Texas
7-220: Anthony Parker, OG, Tennessee

I imagine that the few of you that actually read every word of this are gnashing your teeth right now. I imagine that the majority of you that skimmed just to see what the trades were and who was picked are gnashing your teeth and think I'm insane (though the first group is entitled to that opinion as well). It's up to you to decide whether or not your teeth-gnashing makes my guesses more or less accurate. Fire away.

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