Those of you who have been following this site may know that I have been polling periodically of who Bills fans would want to draft in a few weeks from now. In any case, given that fact, I thought it wise to do at least one more complete mock draft. As we all know, this draft is perhaps the most crucial one for our organization given that we hold the third overall pick. At this level, the Bills could target a dozen highly skilled players but ultimately have to choose one.
Here are the areas that the Bills should try to address. Offensively the Bills need a franchise quarterback, a backup power-running back, a right offensive tackle and a starting tight end. Defensively (where CHIX have indicated more picks will be spent) the Bills could pursue a 3-4 defensive end (or two), a 3-4 outside linebacker, an inside linebacker (or two), a corner back and possibly a strong safety (depending on what happens to Whitner).
Unlike last year where it was fairly obvious who was going to go 1-2-3 in the draft, there is no consensus around the NFL as to what order players will be taken in 2011. Here is a list of the top dozen potential draftees that the Bills will consider in New York. Your job today is to state which player you would want the Bills to target without any assumptions as to who Carolina and Denver may or may not take beforehand. If you read below the poll I have included basic stats and intangibles about each player.
Rules for this mock are as followed. People can vote (once) for the player they want the Bills to pursue in the draft. The player with the highest percentage of vote will win unless players of a certain position win a higher percentage overall (in which the highest voted player of that position wins). IE if OT Tyron Smith won with 15% of the vote because people split the DL vote between Dareus, Fairley, etc. the vote would go to the DL player with the most votes given that people would rather have a DL targeted over an OT. But do not worry; in the last mock series I posted with this rule, fans reached a consensus without needing this rule to go into effect. As always, remember to comment (and rec) for players/arguments to sway others to your cause. Have fun and Go Bills!
QB Blaine Gabbert - Missouri [6-4, 234, 4.61]
Gabbert has been declared the draft's highest ranked QB. As a two year starter, Gabbert went 563 for 920 (61.2% completion rate) and threw for 6,779 yards, 40 TDs and 18 INTs. In addition to his strong arm, Gabbert has some running ability, but will need a year or two to switch to a pro-styled offense.
QB Cam Newton - Auburn [6-5, 248, 4.56]
Perhaps the most candidate with the most boom or bust potential, Newton as a one year starter went 185 for 280 (66.1% completion rate), threw for 2,854 yards, 30 TDs and 7 INTs, while rushing for almost 1,400 yards and 20 TDs. Newton could be Vick 2.0 in the NFL, but having only one full year under his belt in a spread offense, will need two years to adjust, but has the most potential of the QBs.
OT Tyron Smith - USC [6-5, 307, 5.08]
Smith is perhaps the best OT in the draft, but has only played on the right side, but analysts say he has the speed and agility to go on the left as well. Smith excels in pass blocking, is solid in run blocking, but could use better anticipation to change directions.
WR A.J. Green - Georgia [6-4, 211, 4.48]
Green lost some ground at the combine, but between his physical play and his stats, 166 receptions for 2,619 yards and 23 TDs in three seasons, remains perhaps the highest targeted receiver in the draft.
WR Julio Jones - Alabama [6-3, 220, 4.34]
Jones follows closely behind Green given his speed and physical play. In three years, Jones has amassed 179 receptions for 2,653 yards and 15 TDs.
DL Marcell Dareus - Alabama [6-3, 319, 4.93]
As a two year starter, Dareus gained 66 tackles and 11 sacks. While these numbers are not breathtaking, he has the body of a nose tackle, but the agility and speed to play a 3-4 defensive end as he did in Alabama. A huge run stopper that gives offensive tackles head aches, Dareus will at the very least be a solid long term starter.
DL Nick Fairley - Auburn [6-4, 291, 4.84]
In two seasons, Fairley has acquired 84 tackles and 13 sacks (12 coming this past year). Like Newton, Fairley can be considered a one year wonder, but also has a powerful attack and good speed. Fairley's biggest concern was that he operated mostly in a 4-3 defense, but has potential to switch with his physical level of play.
DL Cameron Jordan - California [6-4, 287, 4.74]
Jordan is a solid five technique, 3-4 DE. In four years, he has improved every year with a total of 161 tackles and 17 sacks. Jordan has good speed and strength, but may not be considered a top ten pick.
DL J.J. Watt - Wisconsin [6-5, 290, 4.81]
Maynock has called Watt the best five technique DE he has seen this year. Watt has good speed and strength benching 34 reps (compared to Dareus's 24 and Jordan's 25) and in two years has 106 tackles and 11 sacks (7 this past year).
LB Von Miller - Texas A&M [6-3, 246, 4.42]
While Miller is slightly smaller than the typical 3-4 outside linebacker, his physical play, speed and coverage ability has him as the highest OLB prospect in the nation. Outrunning most receivers and corners in the combines, Miller in four years has accrued 178 tackles and 33 sacks in college (including 17 in his junior year and 11 in his senior year). Gailey coached him in the senior bowl and knows of pass rushing/defending skill set.
LB Robert Quinn - North Carolina [6-4, 265, 4.62]
In two years as a 4-3 defensive end, Quinn amassed 86 tackles and 13 sacks (11 in 2009) before sitting out with an injury in 2010. He has the speed to switch to OLB and can be a solid player at that position.
CB Patrick Peterson - LSU [6-0, 219, 4.31]
Peterson was a terrific shut-down corner back in college. Tall with incredible speed that has also made him a terrific return-man, Peterson has 137 tackles and 7 interceptions in three years and is considered to be a very safe draft selection.