Who knows when the lockout will end...but it will probably end sometime in July or August...one would think. For the record, I really like what the Bills did in the draft. To me, they did an excellent job of sticking true to their plan. They have said they wanted to focus on defense and to get bigger and more physical...and I think their draft was really consistent with that plan.
Anyhow...I think they have gotten better...not sure exactly how much better - maybe 7-9 better. But undrafted free agents will be signed at some point and I think there are a few out there that would really help the Bills. So here goes with my wish list for a few of the undrafted free agents that I think could help the Bills significantly...maybe make the 53 man roster.
The first two are kind of easy picks for me...two pretty good players...that fit Bills positions of need. After this draft, I don't think there are a ton of positions of need left, but a couple of them could be tight end and (still) tackle. Is it just me - or does it always seem like tackle is a position of need for the Bills?So the first two are Andre Smith, TE from Virginia Tech and Willie Smith, OT, from East Carolina. I think the nfldraftscout.com had about a fifth round grade on Andre Smith and a seventh on Willie Smith. Both made Scott Wright's top fifty undrafted. Andre Smith is a big (6'4", 269) blocking tight with decent speed for his size. He started a lot of games (three year starter) at Virginia Tech and I think given how open (perhaps this is a euphemism) the position is for the Bills...I think he would have a really good chance of making the roster and maybe even significant playing time this year. In my opinion, Shawn Nelson, still has a lot of talent...but this is a big year for him to put it together.
The other guy, Willie Smith, has gotten a lot of praise from some pretty good sources. NFL draft scout compared him to a raw Walter Jones, and Wes Bunting had a lot of good things to say about him prior to the Texas vs. the Nation game (that game is brutal to watch...even though there are some good players there). He is about six-five, three hundred and seven pounds, with an OK forty time (something like 5.4)...but he started a lot of games, and had a lot of good stats as far as stats are concerned for the O-line (knockdowns, sacks allowed). I think backup left tackle is pretty weak for the Bills, and that he would stand as good a chance as any of the incumbents (i.e. Wang, Wrotto, Howard) to make the 53 man. And long term...I like his potential more than those guys...
There are quite a few good players left...if I had to target a few (and why) here is a short list...
Adam Weber - real nice career at Minnesota - a little on the small side - very bright - could compete for third QB job
Mana Silva - sixth round talent - strong safety with free safety speed - should be good on special teams - good ball skills in terms of interceptions and passes defended
Mark Herzlich - fantastic young man - who knows how far he will recover in terms of football ability and speed - fantastic guy to have on your team
Colin Baxter - sixth round talent - center - started a lot of games - maybe a practice squad guy as the Bills are pretty solid inside
Jeron Johnson - strong safety - not a position of need - but I have no idea how this guy didn't get drafted
DJ Young - left tackle from Michigan State - a guy to look at if they don't pick up Willie Smith
Cedric Thornton - five technique prospect from a small school - fifth round talent - played well in the Senior bowl - could push Johnson for the fourth DE spot
Chad Spann - small school running back - probably a practice squad guy for the Bills
Ugo Chinasa - conversion rush linebacker from Oklahoma State - has fourth round measurables - perhaps some questions with his motor - but definitely one of the more sought after UDFA's