The 2012 SB Nation NFL Writers Mock Draft has been rolling along over at MockingTheDraft.com, and today my second-round pick for the Buffalo Bills has published. With the No. 41 overall pick, I took Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones.
As you may recall, I begrudgingly made Ohio State left tackle Mike Adams the Bills' (wildly unpopular) first-round draft pick in the mock draft. As players came off the board leading up to the second-round pick, it quickly became clear that I wasn't going to be able to satisfactorily address the team's other remaining need area: wide receiver.
Between picks 11-40, a whopping six wide receivers came off the board: Notre Dame's Michael Floyd, LSU's Rueben Randle, Baylor's Kendall Wright, Appalachian State's Brian Quick, South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery and Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill. That's a significant run on receivers, and it meant that if I were going to try to find a No. 2 receiver to play opposite Stevie Johnson with this pick, I'd have been reaching for a prospect like Rutgers' Mohamed Sanu, Illinois' A.J. Jenkins or Wake Forest's Chris Givens.
Yeah. Forgive me if I decided not to reach again, lest I face the vitriol of a Bills fan base that clearly doesn't trust my mock drafting abilities.
I didn't like the pick of Adams because it represented poor value, so value was of the utmost importance with this selection. That meant that I was focusing on defensive end and cornerback, as those two positions offered me four solid prospects from which to choose: Jones and Vinny Curry at end, and Josh Robinson and Trumaine Johnson at corner.
The 6'5", 266-pound Jones was the top-rated guy in my book, though he only narrowly edged out Curry for that honor. I suspect that folks that have a problem with this pick will point out that the Bills have said some good things about Curry this off-season; I heard those things. I would not at all be disappointed if Curry were the actual Round 2 pick, because despite the gobs of money thrown around this off-season, depth is still a concern at the position, and Curry is a good prospect.
Jones, to my eye, is a better and more versatile athlete, however. His is one of the hottest names in the draft community at the moment, with many considering him a near-lock for the first round at this point. Though he never did have a lot of production at Syracuse, he's got a lot of natural ability. He's not a bend-the-edge rusher, but he's proven his ability to use power and quicks to generate pressure not only from end, but inside at tackle, as well. This is a tough guy to block, and in Dave Wannstedt's scheme, he's the type of athlete that could rack up numbers simply by being the guy that gets the most single-teams.
Perhaps it's just me - when I asked y'all to predict who this pick was earlier this week, very few (read: maybe one or two) of you correctly guessed that it was Jones - but this would be an excellent and valuable Round 2 investment for the Bills to make.