We got 32 people together to do a mock draft with somebody making all the picks for their favorite team. I've taken it to the next level and turned it into a mock offseason.
I tried to keep the FAs modest and realistic. My prize signing was actually a stop gap, but since it's QB Chad Pennington, I'm OK with making the priority of the free agent period a 1-2 year player. I think Pennington would bring stability to the entire offense. He's a reliable QB for an offensive lineman to block for, which helps the OL build chemistry. He's a rythym and timing type of QB which rewards players for running good routes. I think Pennington would help the whole offense improve and then when a younger QB takes over, he's got a real offense to walk into. It's the Miami Dolphins/Chad Henne plan. I think it's the best recipe for 2010 success and the best move Buffalo can make to help develop Nelson, Hardy and Johnson.
The rest of the signings are all short term options or backups to fill out the roster:
WR - Bobby Wade - The 2nd biggest signing would come to Buffalo because he can get playing time here and is a good match for Pennington. Could return punts, replace Reed in the slot and be the backup plan for the younger guys.
LB - Larry Foote - Foote could push Poz off the middle or provide depth at all three LB spots. Would solidify the depth of the LBs even if he doesn't improve the overall talent of the group by that much.
DE - Jason Babin - A favorite of mine from last year. Had a few sacks in a very deep Philly rotation last season.
RB - Larry Johnson - I agree with you that he stinks. But I'm trading/dumping Lynch and Johnson makes sense as a guy to bring in and compete with some young guys for carries behind Jackson.
G/C - Russ Hochstein - Has a long history with Belichick and the Pats and is a versatile player who even has experience lining up at FB.
OC - Nick Leckey - training camp player who could make the roster. Buffalo could actually be a desirable place for the really crappy FAs this year because a new coaching staff means open competitions.
Who doesn't love a good mock draft? Here are the picks I made for the Bills in the mocking the draft, 32 participant, 7 round draft. We even grabbed some undrafted guys afterwards. One thing to consider is that the available talent in the later rounds was a little better than it will be because there weren't any comp picks.
1 - Anthony Davis LT Rutgers - Thanks to some help from fellow Rumblers, our Bills landed a huge and athletic LT that would probably start right away. The pick pretty much speaks for itself.
2 - Jason Pierre Paul DE South Florida - I did this mock thinking that it would be a 4-3 in Buffalo (partially because that's what I'd run if I were GM). This pick was all value. I thought he was the best player left on the board and at 6'6'', 265 (with room to grow), he could take Denney's role as backup for a year and take over for Kelsay in 2011, which does fill a significant need.
3 - Jevan Snead QB Ole Miss - What has to be the most controversial pick in ths mock, I grabbed a guy who throws a ton of picks. I actually traded down in the 3rd round and could have had Pike or Tebow earlier, but I think that Snead is a better pro prospect than those two. His arm strength is fantastic. His footwork and mechanics are underrated and the offensive talent he played with was very overrated. As good as McCluster is, he's not a WR. That leaves Snead with one player to throw to (only Shay Hodge had more than 20 grabs out of all the other WRs, TEs and RBs on the roster). I think his INTs were a result of trying to force the ball into Hodge and that's not really a quality in a QB that I dislike all that much.
4 - Mike Neal DT Purdue - The strongest player on Purdue's team is a penetrator type. He's 6'4, but a little under 300 pounds (I'd guess he plays around 300-305 in the pros). He has a great physique and is all muscle, so the size doesn't bother me. Made a lot of plays in the backfield for an underrated Purdue defense. I know he's not the huge NT that most fans would prefer, but I thought he was the best DT available. In retrospect, would have gone a different direction because DTs really starting sliding after this pick.
4 - Shawn Lauvao OG Arizona St - I was able to move up from the 5th round as a result of my trade down in the 3rd. Started at guard for a couple years before swinging out to LT. He's only 6'3'' though and his NFL future is definitely at guard. He's one of those size/strength Somoan athletic wonders. I think he's a fairly underrated player who could be a starter in the NFL for a long time. Doesn't do anything great, but does it all pretty well and since he's got the size and feet to improve, there's great potential here.
5 - Jamar Chaney MLB Mississippi St - This isn't a pick I actually made as part of the mock. Since I turned this into an entire offseason, this is the pick I took from trading Marshawn Lynch to Kansas City. Almost took Jacoby Ford, but went with the need at LB. Chaney had injury issues in college and I tried to avoid those players, but the upside was too good to pass up. Chaney is a 240 pound LB with great speed and athleticism. Made 90 tackles, forced a couple fumbles, had a couple INTs and a couple sacks as a senior. Scheme versatile and could probably backup multiple LB positions.
6 - Rennie Curran OLB Georgia - Yeah, he's really, really small. He's 5'11 and about 225 pounds. But he's super phsical and is a violent hitter. He's not a Keith Ellison type and actually makes up for his size with speed. If nothing else, should be a great special teamer a la John Wendling which makes this a decent pick even if he never contributes at LB.
6 - Thaddeus Gibson OLB Ohio St - Cheated a little and made another trade. Might not be a realistic one, but whatever. I traded the rights to Richie Incognito to the Miami Dolphins. Parcells put a claim in for him and he's easily got the talent to command this type of pick in return. I just don't want a headcase like him on the team, especially if we're rebuilding. Ohio St had kind of a hyrbid scheme this year and Gibson played some 3-4 OLB and 4-3 DE and OLB. He'd make the shift to the SAM LB spot here in what would hopefully be a new and improved more aggressive defense.
6 - Dorin Dickerson FB/TE Pitt - Played TE in college, but has a FB's build. He's ridiculously fast for somebody his size and Pitt players say he's one of the couple fastest players on the entire team. Solid blocker, but never blocked out of the backfield like a true FB. He'll be a versatile pro who can play some TE, FB, block or run routes out of the shotgun and play special teams. He can be a weapon if used right and there's a long list of ways that Buffalo could use him.
7 - Stephen Williams WR Toledo - He's a 6'5'' athletic, productive WR. I have no clue why people aren't talking him up as a great mid round option. Over the last three years he's got like 220 catches for 3,000 yards and 20 TDs. Check him out on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehMxI_i61xE Seriously, if you've never heard of him, it's worth a couple minutes of youtube watching.
7 - Linval Joseph DT East Carolina - Jay Ross and CJ Wilson got the preseason attention, but Joseph had the best season of any of the Eat Carolina defensive lineman. Joseph followed a good sophomore season up with a very impressive junior campaign highlighted by 13 tackles for a loss including nine straight games with a play in the backfield. The fact that he is a versatile monster sized DT (6'6'' and 322 pounds) is icing on top of the cake. Joseph is another player with upside that exceeds where he was taken by a mile.
7 - Michael Smith RB Arkansas - This is basically more of me cheating. This is a pick I "acquired" from trading Roscoe Parrish and/or Trent Edwards. I figured that if Buffalo could get a pick for Ko Simpson, I could take one pick for those guys. Didn't even pick a team, I just created a 7th round selection for myself. Brian mentioned Smith in his state of the RBs article as a good late round change of pace guy. I was surprised to see him still available. Only 5'9'', 180 he's a fast athlete who can break the big play and has solid hands too.
Udrafted players that I managed to lay claim to include:
Jamar Wall CB Texas Tech - Great build weighing in over 200 pounds at 5'10''. Good speed for his size and would provide solid competition for a 5th or 6th CB and special teamer spot.
Jeffrey Fitzgerald DE/DT Kansas St - An early round talent who inexplicably transfered out of Virginia a couple years ago. He's a true 3-4 DE, but after the draft, his ability trumps the scheme fit.
Lonyae Miller RB Fresno St - Always a backup in Fresno, but a good size speed combo and good stats make him worth a look, especially with my lack of RB depth.
Michael Hoomanawanui TE Illinois - Not a need, but he's a great blocker who is practically big enough to be a guard. Could win a spot as a role player blocking in short yardage.
Larry Hart OLB Central Arkansas - He's a pass rusher that I'd convert to LB. 6'1'' and almost 250 pounds, but could run faster than 4.6. Worth a look as a JUCO transfer that had 21.5 sacks over the last two seasons.
Headed into camp, the depth chart for the Bills would look something like:
QB - Pennington, Fitz, Snead, Brohm - This ends up being something of a Fitz vs. Snead battle with Fitz making the team if Snead isn't ready to be a backup, otherwise Fitz and his decent salary gets cut and Brohm sticks as a developmental 3rd QB.
RB - Jackson, Smith, Johnson, Miller, ? - This is a spot where I'd need some training camp bodies or maybe another crappy vet. Not my best work, but RB is a spot that can be fixed in a hurry in a future offseason, so it's just not that big of a concern for me.
FB - Dickerson, McIntyre - Not even sure why I bothered to list this. McIntyre is a goner if Dickerson makes it to cut day healthy.
TE - Nelson, Schouman, Fine, Stupar, Hoomanawanui - Dickerson adds even more depth. Fine would certainly have to earn a roster spot.
WR - Evans, Wade, Hardy, Johnson, Williams, Jenkins, ? - another spot I'd need TC bodies. 2nd starting spot would be completely up for grabs, but that's the way it should be with young and completely unproven guys like Hardy and Johnson.
OT - Davis, Butler, Bell, Meredith, Ramsay? - Meredith is a guy to bring back to fight for a spot as a 4th OT, but even with Bell, this is a position that has questionable depth. At least there's youth here.
OG - Levitre, Wood?, Lauvao, Hochstein, Ramsay? - Everything depends on Wood, but it's more youth along the OL, which I actually view as a positive.
OC - Hang, Hochstein, Leckey - Not pretty, but Rome wasn't built in a day.
DE - Schobel?, Kelsay, JPP, Maybin?, Babin, Ellis, Fitzgerald - Maybin gets the question mark because I'd strongly consider shifting to a 4-6 and using him full time at LB. I think this is a position that Buffalo should try and fix this offseason so that they aren't left with nobody if Schobel and Kelsay aren't here in 2011.
DT - Williams, Stroud, Johnson, Neal, Joseph, McCargo, Fitzgerald - Could still use a startng quality two gap defender, but it's an improved group.
WILL - Poz?, Ellison, Harris, Curran, Palmer, Corto - Shows you how many small LBs Buffalo's got. Poz is a question mark in case Foote starts in the middle.
MLB - Poz?, Foote, Chaney - Actual depth at MLB is like a dream come true.
SAM - Mitchell, Maybin?, GIbson, Hart - If nothing else, it's a big group that can get after the QB some.
CB - McGee, McKelvin, Florence, Corner, Lankster, Harris, Wall, Sargeant - It's nice to have one position that can pretty much go untouched.
SS - Whitner, Scott, Wilson, Wendling - I'll be sad to see Wendling get cut. He's been a favorite ever since we drafted him.
FS - Byrd, Wilson?, Harris?, Wendling? - Does Buffalo need a backup FS, or is that Wilson's path to being a lock to make the roster?