Here is my detailed analysis of our 10 first round pick possibilities and what I think the OBD thought process might be in making the selection. This all assumes that we are playing a hybrid defense but primarily drafting for a 3-4 in the long term. It also assumes (obviously) that the player is available when we pick and that we don’t trade down. I will go through the OBD thought process to whittle down the players to the final selection.
Da Quan Bowers – Huge potential, but I just don’t see him as a great fit for our 3-4 defense. I think he’d be wasting his best talent (pass rush) as a 5 tech DE. So I think OBD passes on Bowers.
Nick Fairley – Again, huge talent and potential. But again, I just don’t think he’s a great fit as a 3-4 DE. Fairley relies much more on his quickness and penetration abilities. So he’s not really a great fit for our defense. Certainly Edwards could scheme to use his talents (similar to what they do with Kyle Williams), but ultimately I think OBD passes on Fairley.
Patrick Peterson – A solid selection for any team. Elite skills and plenty of experience in a strong conference. Peterson makes my final cut of possible selections.
Von Miller – Would be a great selection to improve our pass rush. Concerns about his ability to set the edge and improve our already porous run defense. Miller makes the next cut.
Marcel Dareus – I don’t think he has the upside of Fairley and Bowers, but I believe he’s a much better fit for the 5 tech DE position. I also think he’s a very safe pick. Plus, he has the versatility to play DT in a four man front. Dareus makes the next cut.
Cam Newton – Ridiculous athlete with unlimited upside. The character issues and his ability to adjust to a pro-style offense are huge red flags, but he has too much upside to cut at this point. So he definitely makes the next cut.
Blaine Gabbert – We need a franchise QB, all of the experts say he has the potential to be a franchise QB. No doubt he makes the cut.
AJ Green – Living in Georgia, I have seen a lot of AJ. I think he’ll be a star in the NFL. But I don’t want it to be in Buffalo. I think he is a very safe pick, but think OBD won’t take a ‘luxury’ pick with their first selection two years in a row.
Robert Quinn – Physical freak who would move to OLB and provide an immediate impact in our pass rush. However, he’d have to adjust to a new position and missed a year of playing experience last year. I think Miller would be the selection if OBD goes OLB, so I cut Quinn at this point.
Cam Jordan – I really like Cam Jordan. I think he will be an amazing 3-4 DE. However, I think #3 is too high for him and I think Dareus would be the pick before Jordan. So Jordan doesn’t make the cut.
So that leaves five possible selections: Peterson, Miller, Dareus, Newton, and Gabbert.
I love Dareus, I think he has almost no downside. At worst he’ll be an above average player for a very long time. But, I don’t think he’s got the upside that the other four players on this list have and I think we can get a very good 3-4 DE in the second round, so I am eliminating him.
Had we not signed Merriman, I think Miller would have been my selection for our pick. However, we’ve invested a fair amount of money in Merriman and Kelsay, plus we have Moats and Batten that are young and have some upside…so I am eliminating Miller now.
I have been a big proponent of drafting Cam Newton for a while now. He is an amazing athlete and I really believe he’s a winner. But I was somewhat turned off by his comments recently. Especially when he blamed his poor combine on the receivers instead of owning up to it. I think that one comment concerned me more than anything that I’ve heard about him so far. I think his bust potential is too high, so I think after a LOT of investigation and deliberation, OBD passes on Newton.
So it comes down to Patrick Peterson or Blaine Gabbert. To me, Peterson seems like a can’t miss prospect. Much like Dareus, I don’t see much risk with Peterson. Even if he never becomes an elite corner, at worst he’ll be a solid corner for the next 7+ years. I don’t know as much about Gabbert. He has a lot more risk than Peterson has. But it seems to me that every analyst out there is saying he’s the best QB in this draft and has serious potential to be a franchise QB. Then I read an article on him that showed how much this kid wants to be great. How much he’s practiced and worked on his own. In my opinion, great talent + great work ethic + great coaching is a great recipe for success.
So I think OBD will have to decide if the risk of selecting Gabbert is worth the possibility of getting their franchise QB. I think they’ll look at his physical abilities and his work ethic, and they’ll decide that with Chan’s ability to develop a QB and the ability for him to learn under Fitz for a year, that they’ll decide to pass on Peterson and the Buffalo Bills select Blaine Gabbert as our pick at #3.