I've held back long enough. With this crazy off season it's been difficult, i really look forward to Free Agency every year and this year I feel robbed! I am hopeful that this thing gets resolved by June.
AnywaysIn any case, I am nbow ready to publish my projected mock draft for our beloved Bills. I used the BPA approach for the two first rounds and then it got a little murky. Besides I'm not convinced that BPA means much on day 2 of the draft. If you are going to draft a depth or project players, might as well be someone you believe can work in your system and that can help fill a need.
Here we go!
Round 1 (1.3)
a) Patrick Peterson: Clearly he's the best player available and also the safest pick on the board. It just so happens that he'd also greatly improve our team as well. With McGees string of injuries, we definitely need to start thinking of the future. Notice to all #1 receivers - You might be stuck on Peterson Island when you come to buffalo and it's a lonely place to be baby!!
b) Von Miller: He is by far the top Linebacker in the draft and one of the best to come out in the past decade. He's a serious mature senior with no character issues. He clearly fits arguably our biggest need, a pro-bowl rush linebacker. He proved in his senior bowl that he also possesses what looks to be very solid coverage skills as well. Nix has repeatedly said that they will pile talent on talent so I would not be surprised that they'd take him if Peterson is off the board. He would be a great addition to our team at #3.
c) Marcel Dareus: This guy is the most versatile defensive player in this years draft. He is an extremely athletic DT and at 6'3" and 320lbs there are a ton of things that Chan could do with this guy. He'd improve our front instantly! His presence would open up Kyle Williams to be able to reak even more havoc. Dareus can play all three positions DT/DE/NT so his value is huge for a Hybrid type Defense like ours and long term when we settle into our 3-4 he could be a permanent fixture at DE. The fact that this kid has a great work ethic, is grounded and has great character are all contributing factors in my reasoning for having him in our top 3 possibilities for #3.
There's no use discussing other candidates as I firmly believe that one of these three will be a Buffalo Bill come April 28th.
Round 2 (2.2)
a) Kyle Rudolph: There is no question that Rudolph is the best TE in this years draft. Many experts are comparing him to Gronkowski and/or Pettigrew. He's a blocking TE with great ball skills. He'd be an instant upgrade over any of our existing TEs. He's clearly at the top of the TE pecking order in this years draft. Had it not been for his injury last year he'd be going in the first round around the same spot as Pettigrew did. Having a REAL every down TE is a huge need on our team and it would do wonders in pass protection as well as both the passing & running games.
b) Christian Ponder: I hesitated here a bit but I think both Gailey and Nix really like this kid. He's not as sexy a prospect as others but he clearly has abilities to become a very good signal caller at the next level. So if Rudolph is off the board, I think Nix pulls the trigger on Ponder to become our franchise guy over the next 3 years.
c) Derek Sherrod: I seriously doubt that Sherrod makes it to us at #34 but then again, if both Rudolph & Pounder are off the board already, then there could be a chance. He's a perfect fit for the RT that we are so desperately looking for. He's got the size and athleticism to probably play LT but I think with a little work his run blocking can be improved.
Round 3 (3.4)
a) Mason Foster: I absolutely love this guy, he's a big athletic guy that tackles like a machine. As a rush type OLB he lacks the elite speed but his instincts are incredible and he's a monster tackler. I believe that he would be way better off sliding into the ILB spot next to POZ. I watched a lot of his games and he really impressed me.
b) Quan Sturdivant: The good news here is that I believe that Foster will be there for us at the top of the third round. But if he isn't then I really think we need to take the top ILB. I somehow doubt that Sturdivant will be there for us but if he is and Foster is gone then we need to pull the trigger. Getting bigger & stronger at ILB is a must this year.
c) Marcus Cannon: Here's another guy that will probably be off the board by this point but if he's there and both options at ILB are gone then we need to jump on him. He's the massive RT teams dream about. He's almost an identical replica of Minnesota's Loadholt. I can just hear the color analyst now... The Cannon just blew the hole that Spiller took to the house!
d) Sam Acho: I doubt we get to him but if all three are gone, then I'd go with a definite position of need. Acho proved to our coaching staff that he has the ability to contribute.
Round 4 (4.3)
a) Robert Sands: This guy has the size and instincts to be a great SS at the next level. He is 6'4" 217lbs with great instincts. Here's what ESPN's Insider has to say about him: " Makes a quick diagnosis and fills downhill with conviction. A strong and reliable tackler. Not afraid to deliver big hit and can deliver violent strike. Displays good timing and execution when going down low and chopping out legs of ball carriers. Length gives him a wide range as a tackler. However, can do a better job of breaking down when caught in one-on-one situations in the open field."
b) Chris Hairston: Another very good candidate for RT with the size required by our coaching staff.
c) Jarvis Jenkins: A good solid prospect for 3-4 DE
Patrick Peterson (CB), 6'1" 219lbs**
Kyle Rudolph (TE), 6'6" 260lbs**
Mason Foster (ILB), 6'1" 245lbs
Robert Sands (SS), 6'4 217lbs
With our two first picks we wind up with the top player at their respective positions. All 4 guys are known for being big, strong and physical for their positions. We didn't reach in any of those picks and all 4 would really improve our team and have the chance to be starters in their rookie year.
I know some will criticize this mock because I didn't take a QB but I can't see a scenario where a QB would be available to us without having to reach for him. I know Joe would argue that Keap is worth our #34 but I disagree. He's too much of a project to waste our #34 on him. Rudolph is a blue chip stock, he's the top TE in this years draft and it fills a position of definite need. If we take a completely objective look at our team 3-4 years down the road, taking a guy like Rudolph makes more sense. He could be the next Gonzales. Next year's crop of QBs will be even better than this years. If you think we are 2-3 years from being rebuilt then I understand the desire for a QB in this years draft. If like me you believe that we are a bit further away like 3-5 years, then you'll probably agree with my approach.