So now that locking up Super Mario has essentially ended free agency for the Bills, it's time to look towards the draft (though I'm sure most people already have been). Now that we've addressed the biggest need, what options do the Bills have for their first round pick?
1) Quinton Coples- Call me crazy, but if Coples is still here at #10, I don't think we have any choice but to pull the trigger on him. Coples, like Williams, is a physical freak at 6'6" 285lbs who can both rush the passer and play the run. The only reason he isn't being considered at top 3 - top 5 prospect is because of his motor (though admittedly important), not his physical talent. I think that, between Mario, Kyle Williams and Barnett, we have enough veteran leadership to keep the kid in check. Not to mention he would have a chance to learn the position from one of the best DEs in the game today.
We also can't forget that right now our entire pass rush comes down to M. Williams (an elite player, but one that's been hurt the past few years), K. Williams (also elite but hurt), Merriman (formerly elite, but hurt) and Kelsay (counting on all of the other pass rushers to not get hurt). That history combined with the fact that the Bills training staff is not really one of the best in the business (if the past few years are any evidence) and we definitely can justify taking another D-lineman.
2) Jonathan Martin- If the Bills have learned anything over the past decade, its that you can never have enough depth at 3 critical positions: DL, OT, and CB. With Bell possibly on the way out, and Pears entrenched as our starting RT, we only have one other (somewhat) reliable OT on the roster in Hairston, who played pretty well when given the chance last year. I was really tempted to put him on here as the #1 option, but I think that while he's a safer player than Coples, he doesn't have nearly as much upside. He's also more likely to be picked at #7 or #8 than Coples (I'm thinking Jax - Floyd/Martin and Mia- Martin/Tannehil). Martin is a great run-blocker and above average pass-blocker (the quick passing game should help that a bit), and would be a great fit for our o-line.
3) Michael Floyd- 6'3", 220, 4.47. That's what you need to know about Floyd to understand how he would make sense for us. I really don't think that he makes it past Jacksonville, even with them having Robinson, because they just desperately need more than a potential one-year wonder (also, let's not forget that while Romo has not always been the best QB when it comes to winning games, he has been good enough to make his receivers look pretty good during those games). But if he is there, he lets us fill one our three biggest needs with the first or second biggest playmaker in the draft. I'm also a believer in Easley being able to step in as the #2 if we don't bring somebody in, so I don't think that WR is as big a need as OT or CB (which is coming up next). He's only getting the nod over the next guy because he's a better fit as a top-10 pick.
4) Dre Kirkpatrick- Honestly, when it comes to CB I have no clue which player is better, Kirkpatrick or Jenkins. From what I've read, Jenkins is the better pure cover corner while Kirkpatrick is much more physical. So in the end, I'm giving the nod to Kirkpatrick because he is 4" taller than Jenkins and size is very valuable in the position these days, with tall receivers like Vincent Jackson, Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson (when healthy) dominating all the smaller corners. Also, let's not forget that we have to face Rob Gronkowski twice a year, and while he'll always get some catches since he plays with Brady, a big, fast corner can hopefully stop him from getting multiple TDs every game.
5) Whitney Mercilus- Not going to lie, I don't know too much about him aside from the fact that he led the nation in sacks this year and is a physical freak. I'd be surprised if I saw a single snap this year from the Illinois football team. But when comparisons are being made to JPP and Aldon Smith, you can't help but get sucked in to the hype surrounding the guy. We do have a need at OLB currently, though with Morrison resigned it definitely isn't our biggest concern. He could also play DE for us, though he doesn't quite have the size that Coples does. Also note the details from the Coples entry about the recent health of all of our major pass rushers.
I know the Bills showed interest in him already, but unless he really blows the scouts away at his pro day I can't see the Bills taking him at #10 overall. Now if we trade down, him AND Kirkpatrick could be in play, but that's a different story.
*Btw, bonus points for having a great name for a pass-rushing OLB/DE. I'm currently waiting to get a new customized jersey when Nike changes the design, but if we draft him I won't have any option but to get his jersey.
Agree? Disagree? Let's get some top 5's going.