It's official: as the representative for the Buffalo Bills in the 2012 SB Nation NFL Writers Mock Draft, I've selected Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams with the No. 10 overall pick. You can read all about it over at MockingTheDraft.com, where the pick was just announced.
Let's get into the "why" of the pick after the jump. Before we do that, however, I want to make one thing very clear above the fold: I probably dislike this pick even more than you do.
Over the weekend, I told you that a whopping 16 players were considered for this selection. When that many players are being considered for a Top 10 pick, there are a few truisms at play: there is no stand-out candidate, and therefore little value to be had at the pick; trading up would be a good idea; and trading down would be a better idea.
Alas, the rules of this mock draft prohibit trades of any sort. I went into the pick hamstrung, knowing that I'd be picking a player that I had little conviction in as a prospect but without any clear alternatives. This is the sixth year running that I've made picks for the Bills in the SB Nation mock draft, and the pick of Adams is by far the most uncomfortable pick I've had to make. And I'm the guy who picked Malcolm Kelly, Aaron Maybin and Jimmy Clausen, folks.
Adams, the 6'7", 323-pound tackle from the Big 10, was ultimately the pick. I, like the vast majority of you (I assume), would not be particularly thrilled with that pick if it came to fruition in reality.
Why Adams over the likes of Riley Reiff, Jonathan Martin and Cordy Glenn at tackle? It's simple: I believe that GM Buddy Nix prefers size over any other trait at tackle. Just take a look at the three tackles he's brought in: Erik Pears (6'8", 316), Sam Young (6'8", 316) and Chris Hairston (6'6", 330) are positively massive human beings. Add in the fact that Adams has the requisite light feet and length for the position - as well as a ton of playing experience - and Adams seemed the most "Nix-ish" of the available tackles to me.
Had I picked the top tackle on my own list, I'd have taken Reiff - short arms and all. I firmly believe that he is the safest bet at tackle, followed by Martin. I see the 6'4" Glenn as a guard - I think Nix probably would, too - and the Bills aren't taking a guard with a Top 10 pick.
There are concerns with Adams that are well-documented - his alarming inconsistency despite tons of experience, his 2009 arrest concerning drug paraphernalia (charges were later dropped), and his 2011 tattoo-related suspension - and all should be red flags to the Bills, and anyone else, to varying degrees. The drug-related arrest is of particular concern, to my eye, but I'm not sure that it'd be enough to take him off of Buffalo's board of Round 1-worthy picks.
So Adams was the not-so-standout choice at tackle. Why, then, did we go Adams over the likes of Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright, Melvin Ingram and Courtney Upshaw? Read on, Rumbler.
With two receivers and two pass rushers in consideration, I wanted to cut those numbers in half to make the final decision. I chose Floyd over Wright at receiver because as much as I like Wright, the overwhelming trend has been that small receivers have slipped out of Round 1. That won't happen with Wright, but the Bills are notorious for favoring bigger receivers, and Wright to Buffalo just doesn't seem particularly feasible. I also went with Ingram over Upshaw because while I believe Upshaw is the better prospect, Ingram would provide more immediate value at a suddenly-loaded defensive end position as a sub-package rush specialist.
Ingram was the first cut in the final analysis because while I think he'd be the best pick of the three, the Bills have already put plenty of resources into that position this off-season, and it's hard to see them picking a guy that should start at a position where, at best, he'd begin at fifth on the depth chart. That left the pick to Adams and Floyd.
Floyd would make a lot of sense for the Bills, too, and is unquestionably a better football prospect than Adams. My problem there is that insofar as character concerns go, Floyd's three separate alcohol-related incidents are a much bigger red flag in combination than the duo of concerns with Adams. Talent should usually trump troubles - and in a Bills locker room that finally appears stable, it just may - but in my book, Floyd is the bigger gamble than Adams.
That, my friends, is how I landed on Adams. Again: I probably dislike the pick even more than you do. My stance now, and for the next month, will be very clear: the Bills either need to trade up four or more spots for a sure bet (which is incredibly unlikely), or they need to trade down and get one of a dozen-plus interesting prospects at a much more worthwhile Round 1 selection. It's time to trade down, Mr. Nix.
Finally, and for the record: I try to approach these picks with as much realism as possible. I obviously don't know what the team is thinking, so I try to mix past organizational behavior together with what I personally know about players. I know I'll be asked, so here's my answer: had I been making the pick purely as if I were actually going to be making the pick for the Bills, it'd have been Reiff.