We only have on draft on which to base CHIX’s preferences. (We also have public statements but Nix flat out said not to trust 90% of anything that is said in the draft process.) Once doesn’t equal a trend by any stretch but, since we’re in a lull in terms of football news, let’s check the tea leaves.
1st round RB CJ Spiller
2nd round DT Torell Troup
3rd round DE Alex Carrington
4th round WR Marcus Easley
5th round OT Ed Wang
6th round DE Arthur Moats
6th round DE Danny Batten
7th round QB Levi Brown
7th round OT Kyle Calloway
Running back wasn’t a need. At all. The Bills had Jackson coming off a good season and Marshawn Lynch was still on the roster. Gailey’s pronouncement early in the draft process that he wanted a waterbug (guess that was the 10% truth we heard…). Nix rationalized the selection by talking up Spiller’s elusiveness and the excitement he’d bring to Buffalo. The Bills were locked in on Spiller, as evidenced by the quick turn in of the card.
To me, that could indicate that CHIX will be looking for someone who is both an instant contributor and who also brings excitement. A guy like Dareus or Bowers would contribute quickly but probably wouldn’t bring much in the way of impact or excitement. With CHIX’s obvious faith in Fitzgerald, any QB would be relegated to the bench—not a contributor, exciting or any sort of impact. The list of potential picks at #3 might quickly be narrowed down to WR AJ Green and LB Von Miller. WRs don’t tend to explode right out of the gate but Miller will have to spend too much time worrying about the run to rush the QB…so his effectiveness will be limited as well. You could try to argue that the Bills would go more for need (defense) but the clearest need in April of 2010 was defensive tackle. You could also try to argue that the Bills don’t need a WR but the Bills didn’t need one in 2010 either.My gut, as much as it disgusts me, suggests that CHIX will take WR AJ Green at #3 instead of one of the defensive linemen or trade down.
In the 2010 draft Nix stated that the Bills tried to trade back into the first round for a player other than QB Tim Tebow. The most likely target was DT Dan Williams. The Bills took Troup in the second round and badly needed a defensive tackle for the newly installed 3-4. It seems plausible that the Bills weren’t after the best player available but rather the best DT available. When Buffalo couldn’t trade back into the first round for Dan Williams, the team took Torell Troup instead. Using the Williams/Troup precedent as a guide, it’s easy to speculate that Buffalo may try to get back into the first to address a crying need.
Buffalo’s second and third round picks equate to KC’s #21 overall. But, if you read my long winded bit on the draft value chart, you know that getting a team to trade out of the first round requires about a 20% premium. Unless a team like Indy or Philly really wants to move back the Bills will likely not be able to make a trade until the upper 20s. I’m pegging the glaring need to be addressed as DE. Jordan, Watt and Bowers will be long gone by the 20s but Buffalo might be interested in Kerrigan or Clayborn. Either a deal happens or it doesn’t—my guess is it doesn’t since I don’t think CHIX will go for the 20% premium getting a team out of the first round take. If the trade up fails then the Bills will, if 2010 is the start of a trend, take a DE in the second round….or LB if he’s rated a lot higher than any available DE.
The Bills went after need in the third round in 2010, taking Alex Carrington to help out the defensive line transition to the 3-4. He wasn’t much of a factor and CHIX likely knew that would be the case going in. I think it’s safe to suggest that round 3 begins the developmental stage for CHIX, though still focused on need. If the Bills don’t trade back into the first round, my guess is that the third round will be the highest remaining DE or LB—whichever position was not addressed earlier. If the Bills do succeed in trading into the back of the first round the first of the fourth rounders figures to be that DE or LB.
In 2010 CHIX used a fourth rounder on Easley, a receiver who wasn’t a need and clearly was a developmental prospect. Wang clearly needed time before he ever had a chance to see action and both Moats and Batten were asked to transition from the defensive line to LB. Brown and Calloway appeared to be flyers on the highest rated player available. I expect the song to remain the same in 2011.
So, if the Bills don’t get back into the first round:
1st round WR AJ Green
2nd round DE or LB
3rd round LB or DE
4th and beyond developmental guys
If CHIX does find a trading partner:
1st round WR AJ Green
1st round DE (Kerrigan or Clayborn
4th round LB
Second 4th round pick and beyond developmental guys