With the first rounds results in, Bills fans overwhelmingly voted to take DE Quinton Coples with an amazing 47% of the vote. DE Courtney Upshaw was in second with 20% of the vote while the dynamic junior DE Whitney Merculis finished third with 10%. It’s hard to overlook a prospect like Coples who dominated in the senior bowl in pass pressure and run stopping, but may have garnered serious interest from teams like the Dolphins and Jaguars drafting ahead of us. For now though here’s the mock we want.
1. DE Quinton Coples – North Carolina
The Bills are running with a predominantly 4-3 defense in 2012 under Dave Wannstedt. Drafting a full time pass rusher is a major need, but the Bills also have needs elsewhere. In no particular order, the Bills could be looking at a SLB, WR, OT, TE, CB, MLB, DE, OG, FS, QB. Some of these positions also depends who the Bills sign from free agency, include their own players like WR Stevie Johnson, OT Demetrius Bell, and OG Kraig Urbik.
Given the Bills need to fill in pass rushers, I am keeping open the idea the Bills could draft back-back 4-3 DE. But there are several names that warrant serious consideration here so be sure to vote/comment on your favorite/best fit choice. Here are the bio blasts (stats courtesy of CFB Stats and player info from CBSSports).
OT Bobby Massie – Mississippi [6-6, 325, 5.17]
A strong left tackle, the junior has put up some impressive blocking in the pass and run. If Demetrius Bell leaves in free agency, the Bills will at the very least be looking for depth at LT. Massie has the size Gailey seems to like and could likely step in day 1.
TE Dwayne Allen – Clemson [6-4, 255, 4.76]
With Scott Chandler a free agent and the fact that the Bills haven’t had a long term starting tight end in nearly a decade, the Bills could look to solve that problem. Allen is the best all-around tight end in the draft between catching 82 passes for 965 yards and 9 TDs over the last two years and being a dynamic blocker.
TE Coby Fleener – Stanford [6-6, 245, 4.77]
Another tight end worth serious consideration is Fleener, who in the last two seasons caught 62 passes for 1,101 yards and 17 touchdowns. A tall and able receiver, Fleener has good blocking skills but would benefit from adding a little weight for the bigger linebackers in the league. Nix has indicated the Bills will try to re-sign Chandler, but at the right price… Something that has never seemed to work out in the Bills favor.
WR Mohamed Sanu – Rutgers [6-2, 215, 4.57]
Sanu played all of 2011 as a starting wide out (having doubled at RB before) and was pretty much unstoppable. Sanu has good height and while he lacks elite speed, has reliable hands. Sanu caught 115 passes for 1,206 yards and 7 touchdowns this past season and would fit nicely complimenting Johnson on the field.
DE Andre Branch – Clemson [6-4, 260, 4.77]
A good fit as a 4-3 DE with potential to kick out at 3-4 OLB, Branch has been a dominating force for Clemson. Able to hold the end, Branch may lack consistency, but has good overall athleticism. Branch over the last two seasons made 15.5 sacks, 131 tackles (24.5 for loss), 13 hurries, and had 7 passes defended. Branch would likely split time with Kelsay or Merriman on the line.
DE Jared Crick – Nebraska [6-4, 285, 4.82]
One of the bigger defensive ends in the draft, Crick has the necessary speed to be a force as a 4-3 DE. Crick would have been a mid first rounder except for the fact a leg injury sidelined his senior year. Over the last three years (mostly over 2 years) Crick made 20 sacks, 165 tackles (29.5 for loss), and 22 QB hurries. Crick rushes the QB through consistent effort and a variety of moves and is strong in run support.
DE Vinny Curry – Marshall [6-3, 265, 4.74]
Curry has a strong fan following on this site for a good reason. Despite playing in the less competitive Conference USA, Curry was a beast making 23 sacks, 171 tackles (40 for loss) 24 hurries and 9 forced fumbles in the last two seasons. Curry lacks explosiveness but can power his way through a line.
LB Vontaze Burfict – Arizona State [6-3, 250, 4.67]
Buerfict is technically a MLB, but given his athleticism and explosiveness, I could see the Bills kicking Burfict to address SLB position. That's primarily because the Bills best bet at SLB is SS Bryan Scott right now. Burfict does have some character concerns, but I feel gailey would love his bloodiness. Over two years Burfict has made 5 sacks, 159 tackles (15.5 for loss) and 6 passes defended.
LB Lavonte David – Nebraska [6-1, 225, 4.62]
David is a bit undersized for the NFL, but has good instincts and can defend the pass. He is also a strong tackler against the run game. Over the last two seasons David has made 11.5 sacks, 285 tackles (24.5 for loss), 2 interceptions, 10 passes defended and 6 hurries.
LB Ronnell Lewis – Oklahoma [6-2, 244, 4.63]
One of the bigger OLB prospects with good pass rushing ability, Lewis is very physical but needs to be able to disengage from blockers more easily. In the las two seasons Lewis has made 8.5 sacks, 96 tackles (17.5 for loss), 6 hurries, 2 interceptions and 7 passes defended.
LB Bobby Wagner – Utah State [6-0, 241, 4.69]
Wagner has been a sound defender in the senior bowl in run and pass scenarios. While he is a little short for a linebacker, Wagner showcased his ability to read plays and make tackles in the senior bowl. Over the last two seasons Wagner has made 4.5 sacks 280 tackles (19.5 for loss), 5 hurries, 4 passes defended and 2 interceptions.
CB Chase Minnifield – Virginia [6-0, 185, 4.49]
The Bills will likely be using last year second round pick Aaron Williams as a starting corner this year, but there are questions which of the veterans would start opposite him. As such the Bills could draft another cornerback for long term development. One player that has displayed consistent coverage skills and a knack for disrupting passes over the past two years is Minnifield. Minnifield made 98 tackles (10 for loss), 9 interceptions and 12 passes defended over this time.