With a few big signings, most predominantly with DE (Super) Mario Williams in free agency, I have decided to start a new mock draft as to highlight the changes. Additionally the Bills signed DE Mark Anderson, while re-signing SLB Kirk Morrison, SLB/FS Bryan Scott, WR Derek Hagan and RB Tashard Choice. With the Bills switching to a predominantly 4-3 defense, CHIX got Wilson to finally let loose the purse strings and the Bills look a lot stronger defensively than they did a month ago.
While the need for a DE has greatly diminished (from needing 2-3), I won’t rule out the Bills taking one just yet. Areas the Bills are more likely to address are (left) Offensive Tackle, Wide Receiver, Cornerback, Strong Outside Linebacker, Linebacker depth, Defensive Line depth, Safety depth, a #2 Tight End, a fast slot Receiver and potentially a QB to develop.
Rules for this mock are simple; just vote for your favorite player. However do note that in the past, if a position gets more votes than an individual, I will take the positional choice over a player as split votes have left unhappy fans in the past. Fortunately this happens fairly rarely so in most cases, the player with the majority vote will likely win.
This time around, we are anchored by the results from the NFL combine and several pro-days. I shall input these as well as rankings/information on players from sites including Walter Football, CBS Sports and Drafttek. Statistics are courtesy from CFB Stats. Remember to vote and use the comments to support your choice below.
QB Ryan Tannehill – Texas A&M [6-4, 221, 4.65]
Of the Bills biggest needs to address, finding a potential franchise QB to develop behind Fitz is not one of them. Still fans might be enamored with potential first round QB Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill sat out of the combine due to an injury, but there could be concern with his 9" hands despite his large frame and mobility. Tannehill is still a raw QB having only played two seasons there in college. This year though Tannehill completed 327/530 passes for 3,744 yards, 29 TDs and 15 picks. Tannehill could also see time at wide receiver for a hurry up wildcat with Brad Smith.
OT Mike Adams – Ohio State [6-7, 323, 5.40]
Adams had to reestablish himself as one of the better left tackles in college after being suspended in part of the Ohio St. scandal last year. However, a good senior bowl performance combined with having one of the biggest frames helped elevate his stock in the first round. Adams has 34" arms but will need to work in the weight room after posting just 19 bench reps at the combines.
OT Jonathan Martin* – Stanford [6-6, 312, 5.29]
Martin sat out of most combine drills as well, but coaches will like the fact that he has a big frame and 34" inch arms. Martin also had great success protecting the blind-side of a certain QB named Luck, and also seems sound in run blocking too.
OT Riley Reiff* – Iowa [6-6, 312, 5.23]
Reiff is probably the second best tackle in the draft after Kalil, and could also protect on the left side. However Reiff had a mildly disappointing combine after only posting 23 reps at the bench press and his arms being almost an inch shorter than Martin. Reiff however has a good build and has been one of the better left tackles in college over the last few years.
OG David DeCastro – Stanford [6-5, 316, 5.43]
By popular demand I have included David DeCastro as an option. DeCastro is a solid blocker, but guards typically do not go early. DeCastro solidified his standing as a top 16 pick in the combines benching 34 reps. The Bills do not really need a guard, but DeCastro is one of the BPAs and Levitre, Urbik and Rinehart are all free agents after this season.
WR Michael Floyd – Notre Dame [6-3, 220, 4.47]
Solidifying his status as the second best receiver at the combine was Michael Floyd. Floyd appeared quicker than on tape, running unofficially in the low 4.4s. Speed was the only major concern as Floyd was consistently able to make catches despite tight coverage. Floyd made 179 receptions for 2,072 yards and 21 touchdowns over the last two seasons and will likely be the second receiver off the boards after Justin Blackmon.
WR Stephen Hill* – Georgia Tech [6-4, 215, 4.36]
Hill may not have been very productive over the years, but greatly elevated his draft status with some of the best combine numbers this year (particularly in speed and vertical) for a wide receiver. At the combines, Hill ran a 4.36 40 yard dash and a blazing 1.20 second 10 yard dash. Hill also notched a 39.5" vertical jump. In 2011 Hill caught 28 passes for 820 yards (nearly 30 yards a reception) and 5 touchdowns.
WR Kendall Wright – Baylor [5-11, 197, 4.41]
Wright had a slow combine time but during his pro day recovered some of his speed. Wright ran a 4.41 40 and had a 38.5" vertical. During the regular season was a major target for RG3 with his speed and good hands and can certainly expand the play of field. Over the last two years Wright caught an impressive 186 passes for 2,615 yards and 21 TDs.
DE Quinton Coples – North Carolina [6-6, 284, 4.72]
Coples had a solid combine, and following his performance in the senior bowl, is definitely set to go in the first round. Yes the Bills just signed Mario Williams and Anderson. But both Anderson and Kelsay are in their 30s and Shawne Merriman has a notorious history as of late of ending the season on the IR. Coples reminds me a lot of Mario Williams between his height, speed and production. The only cause of concern is that Coples may not always show the burst of energy other DEs may have. But it is hard to ignore that in the last 2 seasons he has 17.5 sacks, 114 tackles (30.5 for loss),19 hurries and 5 forced fumbles.
LB Luke Kuechly* – Boston College [6-3, 242, 4.50]
One player with an amazing combine was Kuechly, as he came in with a blazing 4.50 40-time and made 27 reps bench pressing. Speed was Kuechly’s only issue heading into the draft as he repeated showed great play making ability and recorded three consecutive seasons of 150+ tackles. Just in the last two years Kuechly has made 274 tackles (22.5 for loss), 6 interceptions and 6 passes defended. Last month, Kuechly would have been expected playing middle linebacker, but clearly showed athleticism to move to the outside.
CB Janoris Jenkins – North Alabama [5-10, 193, 4.44]
Jenkins last year would have been a late first/early second rounder. While off-field issues forced Jenkins to transfer from Florida to North Alabama, analysts seem to think he shown responsibility as of late and with a good combine, has seen his stock rise. In his last two seasons as a Gator, Jenkins made 82 tackles (8.5 for loss), 5 interceptions and has 14 passes defended.
CB Dre Kirkpatrick* – Alabama [6-2, 194, 4.43]
Kirkpatrick was the second best corner in the draft, but his stock has fallen following a drug arrest before the combines. Obviously there is some concern there, but the Bills need a long-term starter opposite Williams and Kirkpatrick has the speed and size Gailey likes. As a shutdown corner for Alabama over the last two years, Kirkpatrick has made 82 tackles (8 for loss), 3 interceptions and had 16 passes defended.