Here is the goal for my last Rumblings Authors Mock. I am going to attempt to address every need I think the Buffalo Bills have with capable players. I'm not going to go crazy with "if this guy falls two rounds" or anything like that, but it will certainly take some strange twists and turns. My first two mocks mean very little at this point in time, but here is the pre-free agency version and my post free-agency version. They are at least a starting point of players I like and positions of need.
Identifying positions of need
The first step in this mock was determining every need I think needs to be addressed. On offense we need a new starting left tackle to replace Jason Peters, a new starting guard to replace Dockery, and one to two depth players along the line. Even if you think Derek Fine can step up and start this year, something I wouldn't be against, we need another tight end on the roster. On defense at least one new pass rushing defensive end would be ideal and an upgrade over Keith Ellison at linebacker would be nice as well. Adding a safety who could supplant Bryan Scott and rotational depth at defensive tackle would be a bonus. That's nine players but with only seven picks that won't be easy to accomplish.
Jason Peters was traded. Reportedly the Eagles gave us their lower first round pick (28) and their fourth round pick. This needed to happen before draft day in order to allow the Bills to refocus their draft strategy.
I am also trading Roscoe Parrish. He has become expendable with James Hardy/Steve Johnson and Leodis McKelvin coming in last year. Put Leo back returning punts and I don't see a huge drop off. The Bills coaches are high on Johnson and he should get the snaps on offense Roscoe would normally get. The Browns were 23rd in the league returning punts last year averaging a little more than half of what the Bills averaged. They also need WR help badly with the Donte Stallworth situation and potential trade of Braylon Edwards. I trade Roscoe for Cleveland's Round 4 pick, number 104 overall.
These trades give the Bills nine picks with two first rounders and three fourths. It greatly increases trade up scenarios if a player the Bills covet falls like a Brandon Pettigrew or Clay Matthews. It also gives the Bills the best shot of filling their needs.
Click on the link to see the mock...
Here's the most realistic and optimistic mock draft I could put together.
1-11: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee
After Brian's mock (I swear I didn't look at it first) you are probably not surprised by this pick. A well-rounded defensive end is something the Bills staff looks for and Ayers is that player. He injects youth to the position and has the ability to contribute right away while hopefully becoming a guy like Aaron Schobel (was) who can contribute in every phase of the defense and still pick up double-digit sacks.
1-28: Clay Matthews, LB, USC
I continue adding players to the defensive front seven with Clay Matthews in to replace Keith Ellison. If Michael Oher is still there I think they may take him but I won't bank on it. They may have to use one of those fourths to trade up to get Matthews, but I think they like him enough to do that.
2-42: Max Unger, C/OG, Oregon
Unger has been the top interior lineman on my board for a while now. He is athletic, versatile, and smart. We should make him our new starting RG and move Butler over to the left side to solidify the interior. He can also be our back-up center should Hangartner go down to injury.
3-75: Travis Beckum, TE, Wisconsin
At some point along the way I had to add a tight end to the mix. I have been on the Beckum bandwagon for a while now. He went to Wisconsin as a linebacker and converted to TE. He has some growing to do at the position but outside of a broken leg he suffered while blocking (yes blocking) he has been durable. He has great hands and good feet. He has the potential to be our opening day starter or a nice compliment to Derek Fine.
4-104: Augustus Parrish, OT, Kent State
I've waited long enough. I still have not added a new offensive tackle to replace the departed Jason Peters. Parrish would have an opportunity to compete for the starting job at left tackle. He has great athleticism but lacks the strength to be a road grader type run blocker. Luckily he has the frame to add muscle and become the complete package. He has been durable as well.
4-110: Chip Vaughn, SS, Wake Forest
With the biggest needs on my draft board addressed, I can look one of two ways to strong safety or defensive tackle. Intense and an outstanding tackler, Vaughn could immediately come in and start on running situations. In college his coverage skills were generally limited to the deep zone where he could use his great closing speed to make tackles. He wouldn't be brought in to replace Bryan Scott but rather compliment him. ("Nice work Bryan.") But he certainly could replace Scott eventually.
4-121: Corvey Irvin, DT, Georgia
Marcus Stroud is over 30 and John McCargo is a disappointment. The answer is Irvin who was in for a visit at One Bills Drive. (I swear I didn't read Brian's mock before I did mine.) This could do one of two things - light a fire under McCargo and make him a capable contributor or be the last nail in the proverbial pick slip coffin. Oh hey quick question.... Where did Marcus Stroud go to college? They develop them hard (and flat) nosed when they are Bulldogs.
5-147: Phillip Hunt, DE, Houston
The Bills obviously liked Chris Ellis's value for his draft position this year. Hunt's value to them as a Tampa 2 DE will be too much to pass up in the fifth round. While he may be hard pressed to get playing time or contribute this year, the Bills need to add youth to the position and Hunt would be ready to play by the time the big three DEs contracts expire. The Bills have a history of drafting positions of need in bunches and this fits the bill.
6-183: Cornelius Lewis, OT, Tennessee St.
Lewis was a transfer from Florida State after violating team rules (they have them at FSU?). All he did was become an excellent pass blocker. Lewis showed off great hands and feet in the Texas vs. the nation event. Even with some character concerns, he's worth the risk in the 6th round.
7-220: DeAndre Levy, OLB, Wisconsin
One way to hedge your bets on a draft pick is to bring in another player later in the draft as a safety valve (see Williams, Kyle). Kawika Mitchell is 30, Alvin Bowen may or may not be the same after his ACL tear, and Keith Ellison is likely only around for one more year. This is a great place to bring in an additional linebacker who could excel on special teams while waiting in the wings to make an impact on defense. Levy has a high motor, ran a great 40 at his pre-draft workout, and was very productive in his college career.