This is my second of three mocks for the season with 9 different names from the first. Asterisk marks the guys in the mock who are playing this Saturday at the Senior Bowl, if you happen to watch they might just be some guys to keep an eye out for.
1) Dont’a Hightower (LB, Alabama) 6’4 260lbs
I’ve previously posted my thoughts on Hightower, so I won’t go very detailed here. Suffice to say I think he can be a big time three down defender in the NFL and has the ability to mature into a solid pass rusher off the edge.
2) Casey Hayward (CB, Vanderbilt) 5’11 188lbs **
Hayward has been a highly productive collegian, with 13 INTs in his last two seasons. He’s got good ball skills, a nice feel in zone, and reads/reacts well in the run game. His long speed won’t blow anyone away and I wouldn’t be overly confident manning him up 1-on-1 consistently with some NFL talent on the outside. Nonetheless, Hayward is a good clean CB prospect that could contribute to the Bills quickly and push Florence for playing time by season’s end.
3) Joe Adams (WR, Arkansas) 5’10 174lbs **
I know Buddy Nix openly announced Buffalo’s need to get a big target WR for Fitzpatrick to throw to, but Nix also (more quietly) said that the Bills need to have a guy like Roscoe Parrish on their team (like Roscoe, but not actually him). Adams could be a nightmare for NFL defenses out of the slot. He’s not the huge bodied receiver we’re all pining for, but Adams is a playmaker. Imagine how much better Fitz’s numbers might have been this season if Parrish had been healthy for 16 games. Adams can be that kind of player and he’s a great value pick here at the top of round 3.
4a) Demario Davis (LB, Arkansas St.) 6’3 230lbs **
Davis is hands down one of my favorite prospects in this draft class. Ark St.’s first defensive snap against NIU in the GoDaddy.com bowl resulted in Chandler Harnish keeping it on an option, where Davis met him in the hole and hit Harnish so hard he broke the QB’s helmet. Davis is one fun guy to watch.
He can cover lots of ground quickly and also redirect extremely well considering his build. Davis plays the game under control and with good instincts, but when he gets to line up a hit, he wants to lay people out. He plays the game like he hates the other team.
4b) Brandon Taylor (FS, LSU) 5’11 202lbs **
I think safety is quietly a bigger need on the Bills than most would want to admit. Answer this question: what would the Bills do if Jairus Byrd was lost in week 2 for the season? I think strong safety’s in good shape, but the Bills need an athlete with better range in the deep half to backup Byrd. Taylor would be a very good addition to the Bills secondary. He was lost in a crowd of first rounders at LSU, but Taylor’s rangy in coverage, makes good plays on the ball, and is a physical tackler.
5a) Mike Martin (DT, Michigan) 6’1 307lbs**
Another one of my favorites in this class, Mike Martin actually reminds me of Kyle Williams in a couple ways. Firstly, he’s a bowling ball to try and block in the middle. Secondly, he plays like his helmets on fire. Thirdly, he’ll slip a lot further than he should on draft day because there isn’t anything all that spectacular about him athletically. Regardless, Martin is a guy who a coaching staff will fall in love with. Bills could bring him in to be part of the DT rotation and compete for playing time/a roster spot with Edwards, Troup, Heard, Johnson, and Gilbert.
5b) Stephen Hill (WR, Georgia Tech) 6’5 206lbs (note: we don’t know if the Lynch trade gave the Bills a 5th yet for certain)
Bills may have waited until later in the draft but still land a big-bodied and talented receiver. Hill is a hands catcher who can go up and get the football, and has the speed to get vertical and stretch the defense. Hill came out early despite average numbers, because it would have been tough for him to improve his stock much as a senior anyway in GT’s triple option offense. Hill’s a big play receiver though, as his unbelievable 29.3 yards/reception stat would indicate.
6) Brandon Mosley (OT, Auburn) 6’6 310lbs
Unfortunately an illness kept Mosley out of the Senior Bowl this week.
Nix stated plainly that he plans to keep drafting tackles in order to build his depth on the Oline. I wouldn’t bank on him using premium picks on OTs though. It’s far more likely he continues his mid/late round trend with this position. Mosley is a solid prospect. Won’t blow anyone away with his athleticism, but he plays balanced and understands how to use angles to wall defenders off. I think he could become a starting caliber RT with some development, and could play on the left side in a pinch without ruining the offense. Mosley likes to finish his blocks, he consistently gets one last shove off before the whistle and you can actually see it get under the skin of defenders as the game goes on. Bills bring him in and boot Sam Young off the roster.
7) Olivier Vernon (DE, Miami Fl.) 6’4 265lbs
The reason question with Vernon is character. He was one of the Hurricane players who was suspended for a while in 2011 after the improper benefits scandal. If he can convince NFL teams that he’s just a kid who made a mistake, Vernon could end up getting drafted in the later rounds. He’d be a project, but there is some talent to work with and it may be worth taking a flier on the guy real late.
Questions? Comments? Have at it