Good golly folks, the draft is almost upon us. Like all of you I've been diligently reading through any draft and/or Bills related information I can in preparation, and I almost feel overloaded with the amount of information and opinions you all throw out there. We've endlessly debated Tebow vs. Clausen, and whether or not Bulaga can play LT in the pros, but we haven't discussed many of those folks who will really have to fight to make the roster. Some of these guys will become contributors, some may even become stars. In tribute to those guys (and to get some discussion going about them) I present my first annual (maybe) Day 3 Mock Draft. I will only be mocking rounds 4-7, with commentary for each pick.
Now I understand that what happens on days 1 and 2 will affect what we do on day 3, but I feel that most picks in the later rounds are likely to be value picks, and whether or not I think we selected a QB, OT or NT early on has no bearing on my selections here. Just picking guys I like, at picks I would like to get them at. Feel free to add your own choices in the comments section and feel free to add an info about and/or criticisms of my choices.
Round 4, Pick 107
Arthur Jones, DE Syracuse
To be honest, I have little idea about where Jones will actually go. I think he has 2nd round talent for certain, but three of the five draft websites I regularly read have him rated as a 4th or a 5th round prospect, so I'm putting him here. There's no doubt that Jones has some serious injury baggage, but there's also no doubt in my mind that he would be an absolute steal in the fourth.
The two years he was completely healthy, he totaled 30.5 tackles for a loss, and was named second team and first team All-Big East in succeeding years. Jones is remarkably strong for size (he was a high school wrestling champion), and uses his hand well. He also has an excellent motor.
Round 5, Pick 140
Arthur Moats, OLB James Madison
The 2009 Buck Buchanan Award winner (best defensive player in the FCS), Moats has dominated his level of competition the last two years, including 90 tackles (23.5 for a loss) and 11 sacks as a senior. In total he's racked up 29 sacks over his college career. He's also tremendously athletic. At the combine he ran a 4.66 forty, jumped 36.5 inches, and performed the short shuttle in 4.37 seconds. He plays with great leverage, and he has a varied repetoire of pass rush moves to draw on. To top it off, every bit of information I can find about him says he has top notch intagibles as well. He's a hard worker, a good leader, and a great teammate.
So what's the problem? Well, three things really. One, he played at James Madison. Pro scouts are always going to be skeptical of big numbers against inferior competition. Two, he played DE in college, and will have to transition to OLB. And three, the man is small. He's only 6' and 246 pounds.
Is he a risk? Maybe. But how much of risk can a guy with excellent athletic ability and a great work ethic be? I'll be very excited if the Bills pick him up.
Round 6, Pick 178
Emmanuel Sanders, WR Southern Methodist
Sanders really jumped onto NFL radars with a huge year in 2009, catching 98 passes for 1,339 and 7 TDs. Its very possible that, like Jones, he will not make it to where I've slotted him. Also like Jones however, I'm using a kind og general consensus gleaned through browsing webpages to place him. In 2009 he became SMU's all time leading receiver. His athleticism was on display during the combine as he tested out among the top performers in virtually every category. Sanders ran a 4.4 forty (2nd amongst WRs), jumped 39.5" (5th), had a 10'6" broad jump (1st), and excelled in both the 3-cone drill (6.6, 2nd) and the short shuttle (4.1, 3rd). He also has some versatility, as he return both kicks and punts in college.
On the downside he's undersized (5'10", 186) and was suspended the last two games of the 2008 season for multiple team violations. That said, he has all the tools, and seems to have grown up in 2009 to become a team leader.
Round 6, Pick 192
Nate Byham, TE Pittsburgh
I think we all know that Gailey is going to want to run the ball, and currently the Bills do not have a true masher at the TE position. Byham won't wow you with his athleticism, but he's one of the better blockers in the draft. He's got solid hands, and is excellent at finding holes in the zone. He was twice named to the All-Big East team. Not a guy you look to for big plays (or more than about 15 catches a season), but he's the type of guy who will contribute to your team for years to come.
Round 7, Pick 209
Derek Hardman, OT Eastern Kentucky
Another FCS prospect, Hardman was named an FCS First Team All-American. A durable player, Hardman started 46 consecutive games. He has excellent strength and solid athleticism. He's noted for being a hard worker and extremely coachable. Like all FCS prospects, it is an open question whether or not he will be able to raise his game to meet the level of competition, but he's certainly worth the risk in the 7th.
Round 7, Pick 216
Chris Marinelli, OT Stanford
A four year starter at Stanford, Marinelli was an all Pac-10 first team selection in 2009. He fits the mold of the Nix/Gailey O-line prospect: He's tough, he's smart, and he plays with a mean streak. He's also versatile, having started at every position except center during his career. His bench press at his pro day wasn't extremely impressive (16 reps), but he plays stronger than he tests and has solid knee bend and good balance.
No one will ever really mistake him for an athlete, and I don't think he'll ever have a chance to play at LT in this league, but I think he has quick enough feet to play RT. More to the point, he could provide solid depth at three line positions (LG, RG, RT).
So what do you think folks? Would you be satisfied with this third day? Other prospects you'd like to add? Any other information about the guys mentioned above?