With so much Buffalo Bills news being thrown at us the past few weeks, we finally will get the chance to enjoy the NFL Draft in just a few days. The newest Bills will likely end up being a group that we did not expect, and in some cases, may never have even heard of. But that's what is so great about the event - even the unknowns have the potential to be great players if drafted into the right situation. Hopefully, we'll find a great group of future stars this weekend. We sure need it! I'm getting mocked out, so this better be my final version(s). The first version involves what I think the Bills should do based on the giant void at LT. The second version is my attempt to avoid drafting an OT in Round 1. (For comparison's sake and a good laugh, my first two mock drafts can be found here and here.)
Following the Jason Peters trade to Philadelphia, there's really only one other trade worth considering to acquire more draft picks at this point. I would like to trade Roscoe Parrish, but I don't want to - nor do I think the team needs to - trade him just to get rid of him and get something in return. He still can be quite valuable to our special teams, so I'm not settling for anything less than a fourth.
Trade: Roscoe Parrish to the Dallas Cowboys for a Round 4 pick, No. 117 overall
The Cowboys have a lot of mediocre receiving options as it is with Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton, Sam Hurd and Miles Austin already in place, but they need more experienced depth, and more importantly need to improve one of the worst return games in the league from a season ago. Having finished a dreadful No. 30 in average per punt return, I'm guessing they'd be more than willing to explore a trade for the best punt return man in the NFL. Armed with ten Day 2 picks, I'm guessing that sending this fourth rounder to the Bills for Parrish will be as good as any move they make on Sunday.
Therefore, when Saturday afternoon at 4PM hits, we'll have pick Nos. 11, 28, 42, 75, 110, 117, 121, 147, 183, and 220 to play with. Let's have some fun... after the jump.
1-11: Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi: We need to get Jason Peters' replacement as soon as possible. It came down to Oher and Andre Smith, and I think both are pretty even, all things considered. I made the choice of Oher because I'm too worried about Andre Smith's immaturity, motivation, and weight struggles. Despite having his own flaws (technique, inconsistency, intelligence), I think Oher is a bit safer than Smith, though I can see both becoming Pro Bowl tackles (or out of the league in three years). It's also looking very likely that Smith will come off the board somewhere in the Top 10. Therefore, I'm taking Oher to protect Trent's Blind Side - get it?!
1-28: Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech: I've grown to like Johnson over the past couple of weeks. He's definitely not at the top of my DE wish list, but he's not as far down as others are. I think his upside and potential are so much greater than many of the other DE prospects, especially those to be had at this point in the draft (I'm guessing Orakpo, Brown, Maybin, Ayers and Barwin will be gone). Johnson brings elite physical tools, having great size and athleticism. His knock has always been a lack of intensity and only average production. For some reason, I think he'll be one of those guys that puts it all together in the pros after having struggles with it in college. He's too talented not too. If there is ever a role for Chris Kelsay on this team, it's to get a guy like Johnson to follow his work ethic. This is assuming Kelsay gets to keep his job... I'll take Johnson's potential here, and I really believe he can be a good edge rusher as a rookie. Larry English was my other consideration here, but I think his upside is limited and he may be better suited in the 3-4.
2-42: Eric Wood, G/C, Louisville: Eric Wood seems to be a guy that's gotten lost in the shuffle with all the hoopla lately. The Unger, Mack, and Robinson (nice law firm, eh?) discussions have remained pretty consistent, but Wood's buzz has seemingly died down. Good. I hope the teams picking ahead of the Bills "forget" about him as well. He's got the demeanor, experience, intelligence and frame to be a very good NFL player, even if he doesn't become elite. I have no problem taking Wood to play RG for us this year and think he'll be a good starter for us for years to come. I like Max Unger here as well, but I have a gut feeling that Wood will be a better pro.
3-75: Shawn Nelson, TE, Southern Mississippi: I think Nelson offers the best combination of size, athleticism, receiving skills and blocking upside of any TE prospect that will be selected in Round 2 or later. There is a good chance that Nelson will be gone, but I've seen plenty of scouts ranking him as a third rounder, so I'm sticking with those folks. Nelson can come in and help our passing game right away while he continues improving his blocking. He is a willing blocker who is reliable in space, but needs to improve his in-line blocking. I'll take that. If Nelson is gone, simply give me James Casey, another athletic receiving threat who also has experience blocking.
4-110: Michael Hamlin, SS, Clemson: With the extra picks, I believe we are more than able to add a safety in the middle rounds. I'm still not 100% convinced that we need a SS more than a FS, but I will concede that an upgrade at either would be beneficial. It came down to Chip Vaughn vs Michael Hamlin here, but I think there's a chance Vaughn will go a bit earlier because he's a better athlete. I like Hamlin's production and intangibles more than Vaughn's production. To me, Vaughn is very similar to what we have, a decent/good safety that doesn't make a whole lot of game changing plays. I think Hamlin's production speaks for itself (14 INT, 300+ tackles), and he's exactly the type of SS we need here in Buffalo. He's also a great leader and instinctive, which doesn't hurt. If we add a FS, I'd be taking Darcel McBath from Texas Tech here.
4-117: Zack Follett, OLB, California: I'm not enamored with Follett, but I love his game. Simply put, he's a quality player. I'm worried about his athleticism and quickness, but he's a hard-nosed player that knows how to get the job done. I'm a fan of linebackers that know how to get to the QB and have that added versatility. I think he can come in and push Ellison right away, and likely overtake him if he shows he's ready. I wish we had Ellison's upgrade already in place, but we don't. I don't like many of the OLB prospects from Rounds 2-4, and feel Follett will be as good as any of them. For a fourth round pick that may be able to start and be productive right away, this would be a good pick. I like Tyrone McKenzie more than Follett if he's available, but I don't think he will be.
4-121: Anthony Hill, TE, North Carolina State: You know what? I had to get crazy at some point; it's who I am. We've discussed ad nauseam the type of TE we believe the Bills will be looking for: a down the field receiving threat or a very good blocker who can catch passes if necessary. Well, why not bring in both? I don't know about any of you, but Derek Schoman isn't exactly a guy I want up near the top of the depth chart, nor do I worry about having to release him. Bringing in two guys like Nelson and Hill, coupled with Derek Fine, would really solidify this position for years. Hill is a guy I like that falls in the "blocking" TE mold, and I tend to think of him as a comparable player to Brandon Pettigrew. Similar size, athleticism, experience and production as Pettigrew, only not quite as good. I like the idea of making this a strong position, both in terms of blocking and receiving skills. Adding Nelson and then Hill will also help our young LT Oher in the run game.
5-147: Joe Burnett, CB, Central Florida: I know some of you may be wondering why I'd add another CB this year, and I can see where you're coming from. This pick isn't being spent on a guy I'd expect to see the field defensively any time soon. Rather it's a pick to protect the position for the future, while filling Roscoe's punt return spot. Burnett is a quality player that was very productive at both CB and punt returner. He had 16 career INT and averaged over 13 yards per punt return on 96 returns with 3 TD. He's nowhere near as explosive as Roscoe, but he's an experienced and talented return man in his own right. With McGee and Youboty in the last year of their deals and Florence having just a two-year deal, adding a potential depth CB may be of some importance this year. Getting a punt returner after trading Roscoe is of much greater importance.
6-183: Nick Reed, DE, Oregon: I really, really like this guy. So do Colts fans, apparently. After not receiving an invite to the Combine, Reed went out and put up some very eye-opening workout numbers during his Pro Day. With a nice 40 time and great 3-cone and 10-yard split times, Reed's stock is on the rise. He was an extremely productive pass rusher in the Pac-10, compiling 25 sacks and 42.5 TFL the past two seasons. He's undersized, but a hard worker that can contribute as a pass rush specialist, and at the very least become a solid special teamer. Sign me up.
7-220: Dallas Reynolds, G/C, BYU: The re-building of the OL continues. Reynolds adds good size, experience and versatility to the OL depth. For a late round flier, this guy has the ability to become a dependable backup in the NFL, and maybe even start at some point.
I don't believe a word Chris Brown speculates on the situation, but since you never know, I will assume the Bills plan to go with Walker and Bell as their starting tackles. Therefore, my mock with no OT selected in the first round:
1-11: Everette Brown, DE, Florida State: No need to change from my original choice even though it's looking unlikely that the Bills would actually consider him even if he's available. Oh well. I still love his potential and absolutely love what he could provide our desperate DL. I wish we could have him and one of the top 4 OT prospects.
1-28: Alex Mack, G/C, California: Since we aren't drafting a tackle to start right away, let's at least bring in the best interior line prospect in this class. I like Mack a lot - not as much as some of you - but I'd be perfectly content getting him at the end of the first and plugging him in at guard.
2-42: William Beatty, OT, Connecticut: Well, I still don't trust Brownie, and I have no confidence in Demetrius Bell until he actually gets some snaps in the NFL. Beatty is an athletic tackle that needs to get stronger and improve his run blocking. He will be a starting LT in this league.
3-75: Shawn Nelson, TE, Southern Miss: See Above
4-110: Michael Hamlin, SS, Clemson: See Above
4-117: Zack Follett, OLB, California: See Above
4-121: Anthony Hill, TE, North Carolina State: See Above
5-147: Joe Burnett, CB, Central Florida: See Above
6-183: Nick Reed, DE, Oregon: See Above
7-220: Dallas Reynolds, OG/C, BYU: See Above