For the next post in my series, I am going to make an attempt at addressing the needs that I have suggested exist for our offense, as well as elaborate on why I feel these players are prospects that we should consider. While I recognize it is early, and that there are many, many prospects that we might consider; here a few that could be fits, as well as available, at times when we might select them. This is basically entirely a guesstimate, of whom or where we might take a guy… but on the whole, that type of speculation is all that you are likely to find right now. If nothing else, maybe this gives you a few guys to pay attention to if you plan to watch the NFL Combine. If you don’t… Never fear! I intend to do updated versions (shorter, but hopefully more player specific looks) of this series, for you to consider, and I am sure that Brian and the rest of the crew, will surely provide us a number of articles filled with oodles, upon oodles of prospects. In the meantime: Here are a few guys I myself, might consider for addressing some of our glaring needs.
In order to check out the other parts of this series, part one (QB/Offensive Line) can be read here, part two (RB/TE/FB) here, and part three (Wide Receivers) here. Thanks go out to my fellow Buffalo Rumblings fans for reading my offensive posts (as in post on the offense, not my all too-oft posts that offend), and offering their feedback.
Need #1: Backup QB
Some of you think Tyler Thigpen is a suitable backup. I really have no idea why. Most will refer to the time he was starting for the Kansas City Chiefs, as some sort of evidence of his inherent capabilities. Even when considering this season of moderate (at best) success; I feel as though it would be in our best interest, as well as the best interest of Fitzpatrick, and any potential draftee added, to have a true veteran presence at the backup QB spot. Some guys we might consider?
Brady Quinn: Quinn is not the ideal candidate, for running the type of offense that Denver is going to employ, with Tim Tebow. I could see them trying to find another mobile QB to be a backup, and with Orton’s unseating as the starter, as well as being an impending FA, both QBs are likely to be elsewhere this coming season. Quinn had experience in Charlie Weiss’s pro style offense, which featured a lot of spread, as well as quick short passes. He could be a consideration, as a “hulked out” version of Trent Edwards.
Jason Campbell: Campbell will be looking for a starting role, but he will be doing so, with limited options. He has the ability to be mobile, so Denver could be a landing spot. Regardless, he has a stronger arm than Thigpen, more experience, would create competition for Fitzpatrick, and ultimately is perhaps the best prospect available, that won’t necessarily be re-signed to their most recent team.
Shaun Hill: Hill has the skills that Chan seems to look for in his QBs. While he may not feature the strongest arm, he has mobility, can move outside the pocket, and is decent at reading defenses. He is no worse than Thigpen, maybe better than Thigpen, and at least he isn’t named Thigpen. I see him as a possibility, but probably only because I really have no idea why we should keep Thigpen.
(NOTE: Addition made)
Charlie Whitehurst: Whitehurst should not have been an afterthought for me. I can't believe I forgot to put him out there. Though there is little tape on him, he hasn't earned many starts, and lost out to Tarvaris Jackson... As a former San Diego Charger, Buddy might have his eyes on him. He is probably a system QB, not unlike Matt Flynn, and could be a solid backup, for us, as well as just being re-signed to the Seahawks.
Vince Young, Josh Johnson, David Garrard: Any of these guys are athletic, mobile QBs with adequate arm strength. While Johnson may lack the experience that the other two bring, Vince is just as likely to re-sign in Philly, and Garrard has been away for the entire year. Either of these guys is still better than Thigpen, because they have more experience, more ability, more upside, and therefore create more competition, as well as a better potential for success, should the need for a backup to play, surface.
While I do recognize there are many other candidates available, and many others I might consider ahead of Thiggy, feel free to add any additional prospects for a veteran QB addition, in the comments section below. And so… moving on…
Need #2: Offensive Tackle
While the re-signing of Demetrius Bell might provide some fans a level of comfort; Demetrius Bell has been too-oft injured, to expect that he is the end all be all solution, for our tackle depth, let alone as a starting LT. I fully expect the Bills to address this need further. Perhaps they will continue to scour the waiver wire and free agents after the draft, perhaps they will draft a candidate, or perhaps they feel that the answer is already somewhere on the roster. A few prospective players that might be considered, and most of who will be recognized include:
Ryan Kalil: Any Bills fan, who doesn’t think that Kalil (6’7” 295 approx) would be a STEAL at #10, should just stop reading now. Stop being a fan of football. Stop reading this blog. Just kidding. In all seriousness though, he is probably the most well rounded prospect available. He was superb manning the blind side for Barkley. He isn’t the best run blocker, and didn’t maybe face any real “elite” pass rushers consistently, he is a junior who has a TON of upsides still, and is already pro ready to man the LT spot.
Riley Reiff: Reiff is another LT of near prototype size (6’6” 300lb approx) who is very balanced. He will be a top 10-15 pick, and we would be lucky to have him. He is equally good at run blocking, as he is a pass blocker. He also “got off easy” regarding pass rushers he faced, as few of them were outstanding by any measure.
Mike Adams: Adams (6’7” 323 approx.) showed pretty well at the Senior Bowl. Though his season was marred with a suspension, and his “character issues” may keep him from being in the first round. This could mean a relative steal, in the second round, for a team like Buffalo. Some sites note that smaller speed rushers could give him trouble, on pass downs, but that he would dominate them in the run. He could be a guy who translates better as a RT moving forward.
Nate Potter: Nate Potter (6’6” 300 approx.) out of Boise State is an interesting prospect for me. He is probably a better run blocker, but the nature of the Boise offense, dictates a need to keep his QB Kellen Moore upright, if they wish to have success. Sure, this is the case for any offensive lineman, but Potter proved effective especially with his quick feet, though his lack of “elite” strength probably makes him a day two selection. Ultimately, he might project ideally, as a LG, but I think that he could provide LT depth, should the need arise. He MIGHT be available, in the third round.
Brandon Mosley: Mosley (6’5” 305 approx.) is likely a RT, a strong run blocker, and is very raw. He is probably a late round pick, no earlier than the 4th. Being from Auburn (Nix’s Alma Mater) he is certainly a prospect we might take a flier on, should he be around still in the 5th or 6th.
While there are many other prospects, I am not going to make this longer than it already is going to be. You might also notice that I don’t include free agent offensive tackles, as viable solutions. While I think that taking guys who are already acclimated to the league, and its play, is an overall positive, the fact remains that free agents need to be enticed with significant contracts. I think that if we aren’t paying Bell, we aren’t paying most other suitors. With his re-signing (which might not even adequately address the need) we would still need a potential OT to groom, thus the reason for the handful of prospects above.
Need #3 Weapons
I realize these posts been long, and extravagant, but I hope they are informative as well. While most of you might want me to be more elaborate (is that even possible? lol) and provide a ton of options for both… I am going to lump together the WR/TE need, into one need: An offensive Target. Most people can probably agree that we could use a boundary WR for our “true #2” as well as an athletic TE (or two) to help our at VERY LEAST, somewhat inaccurate QB. Any large body target, with decent range, could be an upgrade to what we already have at those positions. Here are a few guys, at each spot, that we not only COULD have a chance at, but would be clear upgrades, and help us address our offense, before using MOST of the draft on defense yet again, as it is clearly going to be the bigger focus, between offense and defense.
Justin Blackmon: Blackmon (6’1” 208) is the type of WR that any team in the league would want. While I don’t think that we have ANY chance in the world to attain him, it is silly to not at least mention his potential to upgrade our passing attack. Blackmon is regarded not only as the best WR prospect, he is maybe the best overall prospect, that doesn’t play QB.
Michael Floyd: Floyd (6’3” 218) displayed his skills this year, and why he is such a mismatch against defenses. This year, he caught 100 receptions for 1,147 yards and nine touchdowns. Floyd has excellent hands and concentration as well as excellent size, speed, quickness and body control. He looks like true No.1 receiver in the NFL. Making Floyd's draft stock a little difficult to estimate are the off-the-field issues from previous years. It is difficult to determine right now how heavily NFL teams will hold those run-ins against him. If not for these “character issues” he would clearly be the second best WR, at very least.
Alshon Jeffery: Probably the biggest knock on Jeffery (6’4” 233) was the poor and inconsistent play at the QB position. While this isn’t inside of his control, his statistics suffered from this reality. He also has some separation issues, because of his size. That said, his stock relies heavily on the Combine. Some people think that he is a great prospective WR for the NFL. He still managed 8 touchdowns, making him a solid red zone candidate. He is one, I intend to try and watch for hip flex, vertical, and how strong/soft his hands are. He could be a very, very good WR, and at the same time, could be available outside of the top 10. While I don’t think he is necessarily going to fall from round 1, there are quite a few WRs in this draft, and they can’t all be selected early.
Dwight Jones: Jones (6’3” 220) is maybe a player that the Bills have been watching for a while. I think the fact that we took some of the UNC players last year, could be a product of paying attention to Jones. He is a big, fast prospect, and I think he will end up being quite similar to Greg Little, and therefore might be available in the second round, or even early third, depending on the Combine tests.
Kendall Wright: Wright (5’10” 190) is not a large body receiver, as so many of ours currently are. That said, we have said we would like to find a slot WR prospect, and the Baylor WR could be just as good of a candidate, as any. Wright is likely to run sub-4.4 and could be a similar player to Mike Wallace. Expect him to draw some attention from NFL scouts at the combine.
As one of the deeper positions, we are going to have a number of shots, to get another WR into the mix. The question still remains, with WHICH selection we will pick them. Some may think (as my poll revealed) that selecting a QB too early, could mean missing out on addressing other, potential more pressing needs. That being said Buddy Nix has made only 1 early selection for the offense, the first pick of his first draft. Clearly our offense needs weapons, and waiting for later prospects, could mean missing out on higher level talent.
Honorable mentions go to Mohamed Sanu (6’2” 215), Rueben Randle (6’4” 207), Nick Toon (6’3” 217) and Joe Adams (5’11” 174) as guys that I intend to watch. Now, onto the other potential targets, I will examine a few of the TE prospects.
Dwayne Allen: The Clemson product has good size, and skills to be a TE at the next level. He is the top prospect at the position, in most people’s eyes, and for good reason. He has been considered a “red zone force” by some, and he caught 50 receptions for 598 yards and eight scores and probably could have managed even more production. He is a good run blocker, but is clearly a better receiving threat.
Coby Fleener: Fleener (6’6” 248) managed 10 touchdowns this year, on only 32 receptions, with 667 yards. Sure, Andrew Luck had a lot to do with his usage, and production, but it is kind of difficult to ignore that statistic, regardless of who is throwing the football.
Orson Charles: Charles (6’3” 241) out of Georgia was a far less effective red zone threat as the others, with only 5 TDs, but then he is smaller, and probably faster, and is still seen as an effective blocker. While he has the potential to create big plays, he might need to gain strength to be a truly capable blocker at the next level. He had a breakout game against Boise, where he managed 6 catches for 109 yards, and a score.
Honorable mentions go to Evan Rodriguez(6’3” 250), David Paulson(6’4” 245), Kevin Kroeger(6’3” 262), Michael Williams (6’6” 270) and George Bryan(6’5” 265).
Please note: I MAY do a follow up with more Free agents that we could/should consider for the WR positions, as well as the TE position, but only if the readers' are interested in this. Please comment below, if you want more "Diggity" related to free agents. Also, I intend to address QB Draft Prospects, when we get to a mock draft.