I've tried to mock this draft, not on my opinions, but on what our front office has said about priorities, and personnel. Thanks for reading.
Round1, #3-- Marcell Dareus DE (6-2, 303)--
Nix has said that stopping the run is the number one priority. He also said they will have a list of their top three players, and that--regardless-- two of them will be gone. Fairley (who also doesn’t want to play in the cold) has character issues, and Bowers isn’t a good fit for our defense. Therefore I believe Marcell Dareus is tops on their list, and rightfully so since we had the worst run defense in the league and he would surely help to beef it up. This article: (http://www.buffalorumblings.com/2011/1/11/1927873/examining-multiple-defensive-fronts-featuring-kyle-williams) talks about sliding Williams to weakside DE but Gailey has already stated his commitment to keeping him at NT. Therefore, our front three would most likely look like this (with backups / rotational players in brackets): Dwan Edwards (Alex Carrington) --- Kyle Williams (Torell Troup) --- Marcell Dareus (Spencer Johnson).
Round2 #34--Kelvin Sheppard ILB*** (6-2, 250)
If I’m sure about any pick, it’s this. On the need for an ILB Nix said, “[LB] absolutely has to be addressed in one place or other. We need a couple of inside backers. We need some bigger, stronger guys to help us stop the run.” About Sheppard Gailey specifically said this, “He has really taken charge of the defense. He’s making all the calls for us on the defensive side. He’s doing a really good job of finding the football. He can come take on the run and he’s fast enough and aware enough to go cover up some pass situations. I think his instincts may be as good as anybody’s on the football field. He has great instincts. He’s a big, strong guy. I’ve been very impressed.”
Round3 #68--DeMarcus Love OT*** (6-4, 318)/ James Brewer OT*** (6-6, 323)
Gailey is looking for a Right Tackle to solidify the O-line. During the lead up to the Senior Bowl, Gailey played both Love and Sherrod at RT. He commented that both were very raw talents. Brewer on the other hand is well known by Bobby Johnson (assistant O-line coach) who coached him at Indiana. If either of these linemen were drafted, it’s still possible then that neither would see time this season (barring injury) and that Gailey would start Pears and develop them. That said, the starting O-line will look like this: Bell (LT), Levitre (LG), Woods (C), Hangartner / Wang (RG), rd3 pick#68 / Pears (RT). Urbik and Rinehart will be available in case of injury.
Round4 #99-- DJ Williams TE*** (6-2, 251) / (Luke Stocker TE*** though he will probably be taken)
Gailey made moves at the end of the season to get a TE who could make an impact. That makes me think that a run blocking, pass protecting, over the middle threat is tops on Gailey’s offensive weapon wishlist. Picking one here offers good value, especially since he would most likely start over David Martin and Scott Chandler. At least... one would hope.
Round4 #107 (from Sea)-- Nate Irving ILB*** (6-1, 242) / Casey Matthews ILB (6-1, 235)
Re-read the Rd3 comments and note that Nix said “We need a COUPLE of inside backers.” This spot in the draft is most likely the last opportunity to field a potential starting ILB. In this case, our linebacking corps would look like this (backups/rotational players in brackets): Merriman (Moats)--- Sheppard/ #68 (Torbor) --- Irving/ #107 (Pozluzney) --- Kelsay (Batten). I believe they re-sign Poz, though--depending on the ability of the rookies-- he may be resigned to a rotational role.
Round5 #132 -- Greg McElroy QB***
Fitz is Gailey’s man for the time being, as evidenced by a pair of quotes from Nix, "We certainly like Fitz, [His performance] wasn't more than we expected because I knew Chan would get him to play better. We counted on that and he did. I really like him. I think he's got a lot of qualities you need. We just need to keep putting good players out there." More to the point he also said, "I think he plays good enough we can win and get to the playoffs with Fitz. We just need to put some more guys around him." With that said, Chix will draft a QB, but more to fill a roster spot (since Brohm will be gone) than to find a franchise QB. I would expect them to use a late round pick for this (as they did with Levi Brown last year), unless they see someone they absolutely need to have at the Senior Bowl. Unfortunately, I don’t think Gailey’s seen that guy and therefore won’t waste a pick higher than this to fill the seat for the 2nd or 3rd string QB.
Round6 #164-- Marcus Gilchrist CB/SS*** (5-10, 193)
With Whitner gone, it seems reasonable to draft a CB (who can also play Strong Safety) to maintain our depth in the secondary.
Round7 #196-- Anthony Allen RB*** (5-11, 223)
Remember, Freddie’s gonna be 30 this year and if he were to get injured, would Gailey be able to count on Spiller / Ganther to get the job done? I doubt it. Besides, Allen was recruited by Gailey when he coached at GT. That and Gailey will get a second chance to coach him at the senior bowl. All that makes me believe Chix will target Allen with our last pick in the draft.
(Trade Lee Evans for a late rd4 / early to mid rd5)-- Greg Salas WR*** (6-2, 206)
I believe Chix trades (or at least tries to trade) Lee Evans in order to free up some room under the cap and quit an aging player who’s never been very productive. I imagine Chix could get a late 4th rd / early to mid 5th round pic for him (though I won’t add that to my Mock Draft since it’s all speculation). With that pick, I believe they would target a large bodied WR as replacement. Salas, the two-time All-WAC first-team selection led the nation with 1,889 receiving yards on 119 catches in 2010, when he had 17 catches that gained at least 30 yards (the most in the nation) and scored 14 TDs. Salas finished with a school-record 4,345 career receiving yards (sixth in NCAA FBS history) on 285 catches. Plus, Gailey will coach him in the Senior bowl. If Salas isn’t available Courtney Smith WR*** (6-5, 230) is another possibility.