With college football regular season about over and with the bills also about done for this season, I am full steam into scouting some players for fun.
To start I looked at pass rushers - our biggest problem in the team. A huge number of fans are high on courtney upshaw. I would be fine with the bills drafting him. He plays at Bama which runs a complex pro level 3-4 defense. Just like Dareus, he would fit perfectly in and will contribute right away as a rookie. But he is not the most physically gifted player that might be available. He obviously has natural instincts to play the 3-4 olb position but he might be another kelsay athletically. Better scouts than me will provide better reports on him in the next 5 months. But it would be great if we get him in the 2nd round.
But here are 7 other options, names we should get familiar with before the 2012 draft. There will be some names missing that you might know. I skipped them because, lack of production, lack of protypical size that Chix like, not enough experience- like maybin or I just didnt know them. So here goes,
1. Brandon Jenkins - Florida State - 6'3, 265, 4.69s 40
He is the highest rated player on my list. Like upshaw, he is also projected to be a 1st round player. He has much better athleticism than upshaw. Last year he broke out with 13.5 sacks but he could not follow it up this year. He only had 7 sacks this year. This can drop his stock as this shows he couldnt dominate when he became the focal pass rusher. He is still a junior so he might go back to school to better his draft positon. But there is a good chance we can get him in the 2nd round.
2. Vinny Curry - Marshall - 6'5, 242, 4.66s 40
He is the next guy on the list. He is a tall and very athletic linebacker. Unlike jenkins, he followed up his break out year with another one. Last year he had 12 sacks and a forced fumble. This year he ended up with 11 sacks and 5 forced fumbles. The real negative on him is he plays in conference USA. This might make him to drop to the 2nd round which would be excellent.
3. Nick Perry - USC - 6'3, 250, 4.57 s 40
He is the fastest guy on my list. He is a redshirt junior so he might go back to school. He had a breakout reshirt freshman season with 9 sacks but had a drop in production last year probably due to new coach. His production is back to the same level this year with 8.5 sacks. He is projected to go in the 2nd or 3rd round. He obviously plays in a big school so his credential might be better than curry. He can be that extreme value player for us in the 2nd round like Lamar Woodley.
4. Jake Bequette, Arkansas, 6-5, 271, 4.62s 40
Bequette is projected as a 4-3DE. But given his speed he is projected as a 3-4 OLB by some websites. He has the best combination of size, speed and strength in this list. He is a senior who has had consistent but modest production in school. He has 8 sacks this year following up 7 sacks last year. He is projected anywhere from the 2nd round to the 4th round. I would be fine if we draft him in the 2nd round but he can be a really good value in the 3rd round. He also gives us the option to switch to a 4-3 defense if by doing that it makes him a 10+ sacks guy.
5. Brandon Lindsay, Pittsburgh - 6'2, 250, 4.68s 40
He is a senior out of Pittsburgh which makes him the most likely candidate to end up in Buffalo due to the Dave Wanndstedt connection. Chix have a tendency to go after players they are familiar with. Lindsay has the makings of a typical linebacker. He had 10 sacks last season. But followed that up with only 7.5 sacks this year. The drop can even be because of Dave leaving the team so that makes him a steal if he drops. Maybe he was the reason why the bills passed on Jabaal Sheard in the 2nd round last year. Maybe Dave knew Lindsay is better than Sheard and asked Chix to wait another year. He is projected to go in the 3rd round. We should probably jump on him there.
6. Cordarro Law, Southern Mississippi - 6'2, 261, 4.67s 40
He is another senior who has had consistent but modest production throughout his career. Last 3 years he has had 7, 6 and 6.5 sacks. He is a latter round prospect who might turn out to be good. He reminds me of batten and moats. He is projected to go in the 4th or 5th round. We should probably take him in the 5th round.
7. Sammy Brown, Houston - 6'3, 240, 4.67s 40
He is another player from Conference USA who might drop because of where he plays. Infact, I couldnt find where he is projected to go. He has the speed and size to be a 3-4 OLB. He had 7.5 sacks last year and followed that up with 12.5 sacks this year. He is a senior so he is likely to declare for the draft. But if he is truly not projected to be drafted, I think the Bills should try their best to sign him as an undrafted free agent.
Now, the reason why I said 7+1 in the title is because I have another prospect. There is a good likelihood that we might go 5-11. If that's the case, we might end up picking 6th or 7th. Would you be interested in drafting Quinton Coples in that case?
He is 6'6, 285 lbs but with a 4.7s 40. He is not fast enough to be a 3-4 OLB but faster than Kelsay at that size! To compare, Julius peppers ran a 4.68 40 in combine and he is 6'7 285 lbs.
He had 10 sacks last year and followed that up with 7.5 sacks this year. With his size and speed, I can imagine him playing the same role that Bruce Smith played, the hybrid DE/OLB. Can you imagine our line with Dareus, Williams and Coples. This would make the job so much easier for moats and batten as well. I am not even considering dareus, williams, coples and a healthy merriman. (There. I considered it.)