It has been a very long time since I've seen such unity within the Buffalo Bills fan base. Last night, the team made Alabama defensive end Marcell Dareus its first-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, and after more than 2,300 votes from our readers, 96 percent of you approve of the pick. I feel quite comfortable saying that we won't see that type of consensus approval on anything the Bills do again until they win a Super Bowl.
Naturally, with excitement this high, most Bills fans - myself included - are now chomping at the bit to see what the team will do in Rounds 2 and 3, which will take place tonight. Will the team now add a quarterback? How about addressing the offensive tackle situation? Will Dareus get more help in the form of a linebacker, whether it be rush or thumper? Or do the Bills just like a guy enough at another position to stray from need a little bit?
After the jump, here are my guesses at who is on Buffalo's short list entering the second round this evening. I think I've got it narrowed down to five guys, who'll appear in no particular order.
Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada. I do not think the Bills will be going quarterback with this pick. On the off chance that they do, however, Kaepernick is the only guy I think they'd consider. Very high ceiling, great scheme fit for Chan Gailey, and impeccable character and intangibles. I wouldn't be disappointed if he were the pick at all.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame. There is some buzz around Rudolph and the Bills. If the team takes anyone offensively other than a quarterback, I expect it to be the junior tight end out of Notre Dame now that the draft's five best tackle prospects are all off the board. He might be the best player available, and plays at the Bills' only other major offensive need area.
Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh. Buddy Nix has said repeatedly that he likes the young depth the team has at outside linebacker, so I'm not expecting a pass rusher with this pick. The one guy I believe they'd make an exception for is Sheard, and that's simply because his coach at Pitt, Dave Wannstedt, is now with the Bills. I consider him a longshot, but he's got to be in the running. He'll at least have one big advocate in the war room today.
Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson. Yes, after adding Dareus, it seems unlikely that the Bills would add another defensive lineman right away (though I think there's a great chance they get another end by the time Saturday's over). Jenkins is a guy that they had at the Senior Bowl, however, and he'd really give the Bills some enviable depth and talent up front. Again, I consider this a longshot, but it's something to keep in mind.
Bruce Carter, ILB, North Carolina. Like Rudolph, there's some buzz around Carter and the Bills. The team's most glaring defensive weakness at this point is inside linebacker, where the team lacks size and toughness, but also speed and agility. Carter would address the latter as a Will inside 'backer, who might not make the Bills much better against the run, but who would eventually be an infinitely better nickel 'backer than Paul Posluszny is.
After the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, I named nine players that I thought had a shot to be picked by the Bills, and none of them were Torell Troup. So clearly, I'm just guessing here. Gun to my head, I think the pick will be either Rudolph or Carter tonight. Who does everyone else think the Bills might take a look at this evening?