drafting for both value and need: team holes, perceived and otherwise

i'm starting to see the mock drafts roll in. as i'm reading them, i'm starting to notice that most readers have vastly different ideas about what is a need, and what is not. this is particularly notable with people still doing drafts for last year's needs.

i'll start this fanpost with a review of what we've got on the team from last year's draft (UDFAs included), and progress through to each position. i should also point out that i'm anticipating the bills drafting between 6th and 8th in the draft.

so, let's start with last year's draft. i'll include all UDFAs at the end, as well.


9 (9)

Spiller, C.J. 

RB - a talented back who clearly still needs time to develop. has shown some flashes of explosiveness so far, but needs some patience.



9 (41)

Troup, Torell 

DT - will benefit from a year of NFL-level strength training. he's started to play well, but still needs to develop consistency.



8 (72)

Carrington, Alex 

DE - coming in  as a prospect from a small school, he's adjusted quickly and is starting to make an impact. he will also benefit from a year of strength training.



9 (107)

Easley, Marcus 

WR - no idea. strong camp, not much else.



9 (140)

Wang, Ed  

OT - no idea. decent camp, but he still clearly needs to develop more. he was drafted as a long-term prospect, so people expecting him to contribute in year 1 are plainly off their rocker.



9 (178)

Moats, Arthur 

OLB - highest-impact drafted rookie, so far. looks like our JLB of the future.



23 (192)

Batten, Danny 

ILB - no idea. we'll see what he can do next year.

(From Eagles)


2 (209)

Brown, Levi 

QB - we'll see what he can do next preseason. raw, but has some good tools.

(From Lions)


9 (216)

Calloway, Kyle 

OT - didn't make the team.

in terms of UDFAs, we have loads of them. the four that have made waves so far this year are antonio coleman (see troup, carrington), cordero howard (good backup tackle and guard), roosevelt, and the twins, david nelson and donald jones (future of our wr core? possibly!). as a whole, we've got a lot of talent here - assuming people stay healthy, we've got three solid WRs, three linemen with current impacts (with wang in the wings), a few good LBs, a solid backup in brown, and spiller. that's a solid draft, folks. you can't get that much impact most years.

so, now, let's progress through the team's positions, and see what we've got.

QB: fitz has played well enough to get us through a year where there aren't really any good QB candidates available at our top draft position. brohm and brown are decent backups. i don't think that nix will draft anyone at this position.

RB: jackson is having a pretty darn good year again, and spiller's shown some flashes to display what he's capable of. i doubt they'll draft someone here, as there are too many other holes. they'll likely roll with the castoffs they've been using as backups.

FB: mcintyre is actually having a solid year. caulcrick is a hybrid FB/RB, and hasn't done a thing in weeks, but has the tools to be a good backup at both positions.  no drafts here, obviously.

WR: stevie johnson. STEVIE JOHNSON. between johnson, jones, nelson, easley, roosevelt, and what's left of evans, there won't be anything coming in the door at this position. we're set. if we traded evans - which i doubt, since we won't get better than a 4th for him, and i don't think he's worth that trade right now - i'd be ok with that.

TE: this is a position i think we might see called in the draft. nelson has not been able to put things together yet, and martin, stupar, chandler, and caussin are all castoffs. martin's the only one who is a capable blocker, and all of them are nonexistent in the passing game. i would love to see a big-bodied TE who can catch a few passes picked up. an excellent blocker to help out our weak tackles would be ideal for what gailey is doing at the position.

T: bell has had a decent year, and wrotto and howard have shown themselves to be capable backups and spot starters. i'd love them to draft a tackle - but not in the first round, and probably not in the second round. they've got more needs to fill in other positions. i realize that our tackles are not all-stars - but, honestly, our offense is doing OK. our defense needs immediate attention.

G/C: hang, wood, levitre, urbik, and howard represent an excellent core to the line. i'd love to see hang and wood swap places. beyond that, i hope they don't pick up another guard or center.

DE: stroud is toast. get rid of him now. he can't rush the passer anymore, and he's not occupying blockers well enough to improve the run on his side. beyond that, carrington, johnson, and edwards represent pretty much all that the line has at this point. i'd love to see them pick up a big run-stuffer in free agency to help out with the rotation, since both johnson and carrington aren't 3-down starters at this point. maybe draft a developmental prospect in the later rounds - 5th or later. let me confirm that statement - i DON'T want them to draft a high-round DE prospect. i'd prefer someone who knows the defense and can start day one, like edwards.

DT: can you believe that people wanted to trade williams before the season? pro bowl, man. troup is starting to develop nicely. i don't feel we need another DT, since johnson can kick inside easily in nickel and dime formations. i doubt we'll hear this called at the draft. we might see a DT drafted in the late rounds, but that's about it.

OLB: this position is represented by kelsay, moats, maybin, torbor, merriman, and coleman. of those, merriman likely won't play again for the team, and the rest of them - except for maybe moats - are subpackage players at this point. none of them are strong against the run. i'd love them to pick up a big run-stuffer at strong-side LB - ideally with their first pick. torbor and kelsay should stick around as depth and spot starters, and moats should stay at jack. coleman's also depth, but is the odd man out at this point. if they picked up two LBs - one with a high pick, one in the mid and later rounds - i'd be very happy.

ILB: ayodele and poz have had a fantastic statistical season together, racking up 200+ tackles between the two of them. however, with poz not even approached about resigning after the year, there's always the chance that he'll be let go. i couldn't imagine them doing so, but it's a possibility. we also haven't seen anything of batten in the last year. i see ILB as a major position that needs to be addressed unless they resign poz. if they don't draft an OLB and an ILB, and poz doesn't resign, i'll be shocked.

CB: this position has been really inconsistent this year. florence is played very well, but mckelvin has been up and down all year, and mcgee has definitely lost a step - not to mention he's a terrible fit for the 3-4, which requires a lot of press coverage. youboty and corner are depth at best, as well. i'm anticipating them picking up a corner at some point in the draft - preferably a big, physical corner with excellent press coverage ability. with uncertain futures for florence, youboty, mckelvin, and even players at other positions like whitner, i'd be surprised if i don't hear two defensive backs called.

S: the big story here is whitner possibly moving onto a different team. they're apparently far apart in terms of how much money he's asking for ($7m+) and what the team is looking at ($4-5m). i'm more on the team's side. safeties are not $7m+ players, unless they're an Adrian Wilson or a Troy Polamalu. whitner is not those players. i'm ok with letting him walk if need be, but obviously i'd love to resign him as he's an great fit for the 3-4. he's just not THAT good. as for the rest of the position, wilson, byrd, and scott form a capable core. byrd, unfortunately, isn't really a great fit for this defense. i'd be happy with byrd and wilson starting next year, or even wilson and scott, really. i'm anticipating them drafting a safety, though, if whitner walks. this might be a high draft pick, too, with the poor quality of the safety pass defense this year.

ST: lindell and moorman are fine for this year. moorman's slipping, but he's still better than anything else available. same with lindell.

so, to recap, i'm anticipating the following picks.

high picks (rounds 1-3): OLB, CB or S, T

mid picks (rounds 3-5): TE, DE, CB or S

low picks (rounds 5-7): OLB, ILB, DT

it's worth bringing up again that Nix is a BPA guy - so, if a good HB, DT, QB prospect, or G falls into his lap, he's bound to pick him up. he's also likely to pick up, say, a top 25 DE that drops into the second round. but i think it's safe to say that he'll be particularly targetting players in the above categories.


so, folks, what do you think? is this a possibility? comments are welcome!

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of

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