It's Draft and FA season! Time for me to start giving some thoughts on what may happen with our beloved Bills. I am looking at the draft this week. I aim to look at potential FA's this upcoming weekend. Between a full time job and school this has been a long start to the year so far, but with spring on the way I am aiming to make a bit more time if I can for FA and the draft.
I am looking at two ways the Bills can go in the draft. I think they can look towards the future, or choose to try and make a run of it this year. We'll take a look at the future looking one first.
Our Bills have a GM in Nix who is a meat and potatoes type guy who likes people who have produced at the highest level, and can help immediately, but he is also willing to gamble on projects if they can be something special in a few years. I think this year though he gets someone at #10 that does both for him.
#10- Jonathan Martin OT, Stanford, 6-6, 310 lbs.
He is BIG, which Nix has stated is a focus for the Bills, and has been proven by bringing in players like Hairston and Urbik. He is athletic, has protected the likely #1 pick Andrew Luck for two seasons now, and was only in college for 3 seasons, so he still has some more growing to do beyond his skills on the field. He was known as a Road Grading type blocker from the LT spot, quick out of his stance with a very hard punch in pass-pro with very good lateral agility.
This is the type of player you get if you are REALLY sure that Fitz is your guy for another 5 years, because he will stay upright with this monster guarding his back. While I think they could go defense, if we are looking to the future, Martin is the choice, especially with Kalil and Reiff looking to be gone by now, and honestly only Kalil would interest nearly as much. Claiborne and Coples are the only other two players who really interest me here, but I do not think they will be available at #10.
#42- Brock Osweiler QB, Arizona State, 6-7, 240 lbs.
Needless to say, this is a pick for the future, many evaluators say that he is an athletic big man with a lot of potential that needs seasoning. We have a player in Fitz that is entrenched as our starter, and Osweiler while only a starter for 15 games in college he has shown a cannon arm with good accuracy and has a quick release. With this tree in the backfield, he can see everything on the field regardless of the chaos swirling around him, he has shown grit and toughness, and can actually move like a smaller QB.
I think Fitz is a capable QB, but we MUST get someone to groom for the future, and I think he has the most upside of all the QBs in the draft because he has the least amount of experience. I think with someone like Gailey to work with him, Fitz to mentor him for 2-3 seasons and we have a winner waiting to step forward. And with him paired with our franchise LT in the 1st round, we are set at two of the most important positions on the offense as we could want for the future. Other possibilities are Alshon Jeffry the WR from SC and Zach Brown from NC if he drops near us would get some serious consideration if I was Nix. You can see a clip of him against one of his better opponents this past season here.
If the Bills are truly looking to make a run at the wildcard this season, they need to pick players who can walk in the door, and make a difference right away. That means they might need to pick people who might push someone who is already a starter down the depth chart if the jump in talent is big enough.
#10- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame, 6-3, 228 lbs.
Paired with Stevie Johnson the Bills would have a powerful one-two punch on the field. With his size and velcro like hands, Floyd would give the Bills the type of target in the end zone who would make it tough for a team to choose whom to defend. Think about it, from the 10 yard line Fitz would have Johnson, Floyd, and Chandler at a minimum to throw too, and if you have Spiller coming out of the backfield on a swing pass, it is pick your poison time for a D.
Yes he has issues with staying healthy, but I think his skills would more than make up for any time he might lose due to getting nicked up, especially if he shows the same nose for the end zone he did at Notre Dame when in the red zone. The other reason I picked him here is from Nix repeatedly saying that pass rushers are a deep this draft. Martin, Janoris Jenkins and very outside chance, Upshaw ALL could come in and start immediately for the team. Here are some highlights of Michael Floyd while he was at Notre Dame.
#42- Bobby Wagner, SLB, Utah State, 6-0, 241 lbs.
A savage tackler, who racked up 147 total tackles, 67 of which were solo this past season along with 4 sacks and two interceptions, he would join Sheppard and Barnett as a trio who could savage any team attempting to make it past our D line. He is known as an instinctive and aggressive tackler who slides off blocks in order to thrash the ball carrier. Has good moves in pass coverage, Can rush the passer, is known as a video hound who spends a ton of time studying tape and was voted a team captain 2 years in a row. He is a 4 year starter who over his career averaged 110 tackles a season.
Honestly, with a player this cerebral and viscous he would be a perfect fit as our SLB, bringing some real toughness to our LBing corps along with Sheppard now playing full time as our MLB. I like Moats, but with the switch back to the 4-3, I think we need to look at him moving back down DE and becoming a full time pass rusher which plays to his strength anyway. And I think Wagner could be the one to pair up with Barnett when the Bills go into their Nickel package. I also considered Chase Minnifield, CB from Virginia. and Coby Fleener the TE from Stanford but with Floyd in the first round, I feel he was less useful immediately. Here are some highlights from Utah State vs. Nevada.
Vinny Curry the DE from Marshall is the only guy who would make me reconsider Wagner, but I think a SLB who will be on the field 3 downs along with Barnett is more use right now, along with Moats moving down to DE. But he will be hard to pass up if he is there.