Here we all are, on the edges of our seats as our beloved Bills gear up for another December of complete and total NFL irrelevance. One positive to take from this 5 game skid: it’s officially not too early to start thinking about the best sporting event of the year: the NFL draft. Nine young men are out there right now who will become Bills in April, and I’m glad to take a guess at some names now that the Bills season is kaput.
Last draft season I posted 3 mocks here on rumblings. Sheppard, Lee Smith, Chris White, and UB’s own Dominic Cook all made appearances, all have become part of the team (and one has been let go) since then. I’m hoping to predict better than 4 future Bills this draft season. Once again I plan to post 3 in total, spreading them out till draft day.
1) Morris Claiborne (CB, LSU) 6’0 185lbs.
I really, really wish I didn’t think the Bills would be in position to draft Claiborne. The sad truth is: I don’t think Buffalo’s winning another game this season. If he ends up being the consolation prize for such a collapse, so be it. Claiborne’s clearly risen to become the best CB prospect in the country. Athleticism, ball skills, big play ability, good tackler. He has everything you could ask for in a corner. He might even be a better pure defender on day 1 than his predecessor, although he lacks the awing physical abilities that Peterson has. The Bills could plug him in immediately opposite Williams and have an imposing young cornerback tandem lining up on Sundays.
2) Vinny Curry (DE/OLB, Marshall) 6’4 263lbs.
Right now Curry is my favorite pass rusher in the class. I’d bet he’ll end up in the 1st round somewhere when it’s all said and done. Has a good burst off the line, shows a powerful bull rush, and closes real well on the football. Not quite the athlete to play as a pure 3-4 OLB, but could fit in nicely with the Bills hybrid scheme. Is an impact player for Marshall, with 11 sacks and 5 forced fumbles on the season. Curry could’ve come out as a junior in 2010, after having more tackles (94) than any Dlinemen in the nation to go with his 12 sacks. He elected to stay in school because he “(had) the chance to be only the second person in my family to earn a college degree … and I want to help my teammates compete for a championship next year”. Everything about him comes off as a Nix/Gailey guy to me.
3) Levy Adcock (OT, Oklahoma St.) 6’6 322lbs.
I’m assuming at this point that Demetrius Bell will not be on the Bills next season. That means that behind starters Hairston and Pears they have exactly no depth to back up either tackle spot (OK, that have Sam Young who might be able to play RT if they are desperate). Such a situation, in my mind, should make OT a higher priority so that losing one of the starters wouldn’t torpedo the entire season. I give you Levy Adcock. A JUCO transfer to OSU in his sophomore year, Adcock has the enormous, powerful frame and blue collar attitude that Nix and Gailey clearly look for in their offensive linemen. Good athlete and like Hairston has feet that are probably just quick enough to play on the blind side. He’s improved significantly year by year for the Cowboys, if that trend continues he’d give the Bills a 3rd NFL caliber OT. Could you imagine that?
4a) Michael Egnew (TE, Missouri) 6’6 245lbs.
Egnew could slip this far through the draft because his production is really down this season. I attribute that primarily to his losing Blaine Gabbert. A big target with very good hands, Egnew can create mismatches down the field because of his size and route-running. It’s unlikely that he’ll ever be much use as a blocker because of his thin build, so in Gailey’s offense he’d function more as a de facto receiver (which I think is alright because Lee Smith is a really strong blocker- do the Bills really need another TE of that sort?). Tough for Fitzpatrick to overthrow this guy at least, Egnew does a good job of plucking the ball high out of the air.
4b) James-Michael Johnson (ILB, Nevada) 6’2 240lbs.
Kirk Morrison and Andra Davis are likely both off the team next season. That leaves Arthur Moats (I guess?) to back up Barnett at the Will. I’m not so sure that’s going to cut it as far as depth is concerned. JMJ has had 4 years of constant production for the Nevada Wolf Pack. He isn’t a dynamic athlete by NFL standards, his read/react abilities seem to be average, and I question his ability to hold up in man in the pros, but when he sees the ball carrier and has a path to get there he closes in a hurry. At his best attacking downhill in the run game (has an impressive 36.5 TFL in his career), but also has a good feel in zone coverage. May not have a starters upside at the position, but could be a reliable backup and special teams ace. Good locker room presence and hard worker, was voted team captain in his RS Junior season.
5) Cobi Hamilton (WR, Arkansas) 6’3 209lbs.
Talented guy lost in a crowd of excellent receivers over at Arkansas (Wright, Adams, Childs). Not going to say I see him as a legit #2 in the NFL, but he’s got playmaking ability, and could bring good value to a roster as a #4 or 5 WR option. Bills desperately need some playmaking ability out of their depth receivers, and more importantly, the Bills need more guys who can play on the outside. I think Hamilton fits that criterion quite nicely.
6a) Mike Harris (CB, FSU) 5’11 195lbs.
Similar to the Hamilton pick above, in that Harris is sort of blended in to an ultra talented college unit. Transferring to FSU from JUCO, Harris never rose above nickelback for the Seminoles due to the presence of more highly touted recruits Greg Reed and Xavier Rhodes. Either way, Mike Harris can flat out play football. Probably doesn’t have the speed to man up on the outside, but could turn into an absolute stud nickelback in the NFL. Does a good job finding the ball in the air and has the athleticism to stick with NFL slot guys in man-to-man coverage. His most impressive quality is his tackling. He really coils up when the ball carrier gets close and then explodes into the guy, jarring him on contact with a good, clean, form tackle. Claiborne, Williams, Harris, and Rogers would give the Bills a very promising group of young, talented cornerbacks. That unit would be fun to watch.
6b) Cordarro Law (DE/OLB, So. Mississippi) 6’2 261lbs.
Depth pick at OLB. Law has a thick, strong frame, and plays the game with intensity. He’s quick enough off the ball to make me think there’s some pass rushing upside here. Took a closer look at him after watching So. Miss. beat up on Houston in the Conference USA final. Law was a man amongst boys despite facing what was supposedly a high caliber Houston offense. Law should be able to make the Bills roster outright thanks to their horrible lack of skill at the position.
7) Hebron Fangupo (DT, BYU) 6’1 331lbs.
A strong, massive guy who transferred from USC to BYU. Played 2 gap football as a 3-4 end at BYU. No chance as a pass rusher at the next level, but could find a niche eventually as a 2 down player who basically acts as a lead pipe sticking out of the ground. Mature guy who’s already married and likes doing the dirty work. Bills bring him to challenge Kellen Heard and any other depth DL in camp for a roster spot.
Questions, Comments, Arguments? All are strongly encouraged. The mocking season has begun.