After doing a couple mock drafts (1, 2 and 3) it started to feel a little stale, but that won’t stop me from posting because frankly, I enjoy doing so. What we have here are takes that I don’t see at all (or very little of) on this site that I happen to lean towards on certain prospects, draft strategy, or just the 2011 offseason in general. Counter-points are more than welcome, and let’s jump right in, shall we? Go Bills.
Why do so many people like Martez Wilson so much? When I watch him play, I don’t get the foggiest idea as to what his skill set projects him as in the NFL. Can he play downhill, challenge lead blockers (NFL OGs…), and plug the hole while keeping Poz clean? Absolutely not, I think the best guy in this class for that role is Chris White, by the way. Wilson does not have the lower body thickness or the physicality to anchor down and hit NFL lineman in the mouth. Can he play the WLB (Poz’s position), relying on his instincts and flowing the football to ultimately make the tackle? Possibly, but I don’t think his instincts and read-react abilities are any better than average, and time after time in games he looks timid to me. He looks so keen on not messing up that he is afraid to go make the play that’s right in front of him. His senior production was superb, but I don’t see his skill set translating well as a WLB in the pros. To me, this leaves Martez Wilson as a 3-4 OLB prospect, a role in which I think he’ll be a developmental player; and a position where I think Brooks Reed would be a far better choice at 34. Try not to let your liking a player block out the possibility of liking others players, I’ll repeat that
Try not to let your liking of a player block out the possibility of liking others players at that position or in that round. There’s a handful of names that are very popular on this site (Locker, Barksdale, Wilson, Matthews, Carpenter, etc.), and some guys seem to treat it as blasphemy when someone else thinks another player might be a better pick than an afermentioned name. Don’t zero in on a guy with tunnel vision and fully ignore other possibilities, other trains of thought. I’m certain Buddy Nix and other GMs try to be as objective and open minded when grading talent all across the board; they try not to let themselves get bogged down because a (hot) name jumped out to them. I think we as fans would be well served to try the same.
Boy, is this a bad year to want a safety. I mean, it’s an ugly draft for safeties and an extremely ugly one for strong safeties. I think the best of the bunch is DeAndre McDaniel, and I see him as probably a mid second round talent. But I will say this, if Ahmad Black can be had at the top of the 4th, bottom of the 4th, top of the 5th, he would be an excellent pick in my opinion. Let other teams pass on him because he’s small and runs a slow 40. Watch him on film, he flies around the field making play after play and is always near the football. He plays meaner and larger than his size would indicate. Is a slow 40 time really enough to turn teams away from a guy who was an excellent SEC player for 3 seasons? After him I consider it a wide open field of complete mediocrity. But it’s not all bad, after all
Boy, is this a good year to want a RT. I’ve heard for a long time that this is a weak tackle class, and on a whole I disagree with that. Sure there’s no top5 LT prospect, but there is a ton of depth at OT that will be on the board in the 2-4 range. For the record, I do not like Barksdale, Carpenter, and Brewer; but I still think this is a solid OT class. There’s an outside chance Sherrod makes it to #34 because he’s not as sexy a pick as guys like Solder and Costanzo. Ijalana, Hairston, Gilbert, and my favorite Jah Reid are all guys I like whom I believe fit somewhere in this range. Please keep the name Nick Claytor in the back of your mind as a possible UFA. He was one of Gailey’s biggest recruits at GT, but never really panned out there. He shocked everyone by declaring as a junior but it would hardly shock me if Gailey has a notion to bring him into camp and see what he can do. I think at the top of round 3 or 4 the value will be there and they should pull the trigger on an OT; but they shouldn’t force it, I think it’s a bad idea to take poor value because you feel a ‘need’ at a given position. Which leads me right too
I think it’s a bad idea to take poor value because there’s a ‘need’ at a given position. One thing I would hate to do if I were a GM is move down my draft board to grab a certain position, as opposed to move up my draft board to grab a certain player. If it’s the top of round 3 and there’s a RB on the board that they have a first round grade on, I would rather have that guy than an OT they have a third round grade on. The Bills lack players at so many positions that I lump it all into simply saying “The Bills lack talent”. Don’t pass on a starting caliber player at position A to take a backup caliber player at position B. I think that is a spectacular philosophy to stay in the basement for another decade. We all know what the Bills’ needs are, actually…
The Bills “needs” are not set in stone. Am I the only person that thinks defensive line is in no way, shape, or form of greater need than the secondary? Or ILB? Or OLB? Or TE? Or QB. I wouldn’t discount a single position on this roster as one that couldn’t use more talent, and I think WR is the only one you can even make a case for.
The 2011 QB class is a complete and utter mess. The draft this year is going to be awesome purely because there is no way in hell to know where and when these guys are going to be picked. The most talented is Cam Newton. Period. If there were no character concerns he would have been declared the obvious #1 overall a long time ago (the day Luck made his decision). No one has benefited more from Mr. Luck than Blaine Gabbert. However, I think he is a total and complete bust at the NFL level. His pocket presence isn’t bad, it’s terrible. It’s a skill that in my opinion, Gabbert won’t have time to acquire before the NFL swallows him whole. All the athleticism, intelligence, and arm strength in the world won’t save you if you can’t handle the speed and intensity of an NFL defense. If the Bills don’t have a QB yet going into the mid-late rounds, keep your eyes on Tyrod Taylor. He’s got a very intriguing skill set and I’m not sure what the guy needs to do (he broke record after record at VT that had been held by Vick) to get some more love from draftniks and media persons.
With the third pick in the draft, the Bills should take Patrick Peterson. No player in this draft gives NFL teams a talent boost the way Peterson does. He is outstanding in press man and deep zone coverage. He needs to improve his off man and covering intermediate routes, but the athletic abilities and the redeeming qualities are there for PP to be as good as he wants. Dareus is a good player, but I hardly see him as the unstoppable force everyone’s making him out to be. He was not really an impact player at Alabama, his biggest games were just typically on the biggest stages (Championship game v. Texas and Capital One Bowl v. MSU) against inferior OL competition. In the average SEC game he was usually just a solid 5tech DE who made the occasional play but mostly ate up blockers. I expect him to be very good in the NFL, but at the same role: a steady 3 down performer who does his job, making few mistakes, but rarely having a game changing impact. Miller is a name that picked up a lot steam quickly, but is anyone else worried that his bust factor is much larger than most are making it seem? In college he would routinely beat the OT clean because of his quickness, he will not be able to do that in the NFL. He will need to learn to be more physical, and add more pass rush moves to keep lineman off balance. I don’t see his skill set translating into the instant impact linebacker people are pegging him as. I see a speed rush specialist who is going to have a lot to learn when he makes it to the big stage. These thoughts on Dareus, Miller, and the unlikelihood Newton is there at 3 leads me to a simple conclusion: with the third pick in the draft, the Bills should take Patrick Peterson.