It's almost here! The 2012 NFL Draft is right around the corner and I cannot wait to see which new rookies I'll be cheering on in training camp this year!
I've gone back and forth on potential picks plenty of times this year, helped by the Bills being active in free agency. But with three days to go, I'm locking in my guesses and going all in on who I think Buffalo will draft this year.
This is a draft as if I were Buddy Nix making the selections. I have personal preferences for some players, but I tried to stick to Buddy's ideology and Chan's schemes here.
Round 1 (10th overall): Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia
This is a pick I've come around to in the last couple weeks. While I'm worried I might change my mind yet again in the next few days, I'm locking him in as the player Buffalo will target. There are many reasons I think he's the guy at number ten: He's from the SEC, he's absolutely huge, he has no injury concerns despite the weight, his problems are largely technique based, he has good character, he visited Buffalo, and he plays a position of need. Some people may not think he's worth the tenth overall pick. But Buddy doesn't like trading down if he thinks there's a player he'd want to select at ten. I think Buddy feels that Glenn is worth the tenth overall selection, and under the tutelage of coach D'Alessandris, he'll become an absolute monster on the o-line and allow Hairston to be our swing tackle/eventual starting RT.
Round 2 (41st overall): Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State University
I'm going to stick to my guns here and go with the player I've been rooting for all offseason long. Osweiler, if he'd played another year in college, would be a top 15 lock. Instead, he left early due to a coaching change, and a foot injury made him the most overlooked QB prospect this year. While plenty of people have him slotted as a 3rd or 4th rounder, I believe that, again, Buddy will say "screw the slots" and draft him where the Bills have him valued, which is their second round pick. Why would Buffalo pick Osweiler in the second round? They had scouts following ASU all year long, he has incredible talent but needs a couple years for his mechanics to be broken down and reworked, he's a passionate leader, he visited Buffalo, and there is a definite need for a QB of the future on the roster. Osweiler is a man I'll be rooting for us to grab this weekend, because I think the sky is the limit for his potential.
Round 3 (71st overall): Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian State University
Buffalo grabs a player from a different ASU for their third round pick. I think Quick lasts to the third round because he's from a small school, he's raw, and he's not a particularly fast receiver (ironic considering his name). Why is he a great fit for Buffalo? He fits that "uncovered when he's covered" template of a WR that Buddy is looking for, with huge size and reliable hands (except for minor concentration lapses), he visited Buffalo, and has no character concerns. Buffalo has a few players who can be used for the burner role (David Clowney, Marcus Easley, CJ Spiller). But they didn't have a true WR2 threat. Quick will latch onto that role and be productive on the outside and only improve from his rookie year on.
Round 4 (105th overall): Tank Carder, LB, TCU
Carder is definitely on Buffalo's radar, having visited OBD this offseason. He's definitely an intriguing prospect. Sizewise, he fits well into Dave Wannstedt's scheme at 6'3" 236, which requires fast-flowing average-sized linebackers. Similar to Kelvin Sheppard last year, he was a coach on the field for TCU, playing all three downs and directing blitzes. He has unique experience with different schemes thanks to TCU's 4-2-5 defense. His weaknesses are a lack of overall strength to take on linemen, and a lack of pass-rush ability. With the d-line expected to handle pass rushing and matchups against offensive linemen, Carder should be able to freely flow to make the tackle. Fills the SLB position for the future.
Round 4 (124th overall): De'Quan Menzie, CB, Alabama
Menzie's stock dropped a lot when he ran a 40 in the 4.7 range at the NFL Combine. Even after improving to a 4.66 at his pro day, it was still not what people were hoping for. However, speed isn't necessarily everything. De'Quan Menzie might not be a great outside corner, but as far as slot defense goes, there is no one better in this year's class. Greg Cosell agrees:
Based on my film study, Alabama's Menzie is the best slot corner in this draft. He played outside in the base defense and moved inside in sub-packages. He was physical in the run game, he was utilized as a blitzer, and he played both press and off coverage versus slot receivers.
I think this year, Buffalo decides they can platoon McGee and Florence at one position and Williams at the other. Menzie and Rogers can battle it out for the initial nickle position, with the loser taking dime duties and Leodis McKelvin being the secondary backup on the outside. There will be plenty of corners to look at in next year's draft with other needs taken care of. Menzie visited Buffalo, is good at coverage, blitzing, and stopping the run, is from the SEC, and fills the need of a slot corner who could also cover a tight end or back up a safety.
Round 5 (144th overall): Michael Egnew, TE, Missouri
Buffalo has a starting all-around TE in Scott Chandler. They have an excellent blocker in Lee Smith. Then... we're not so sure. We have Fendi Onobun the Falafel Footballer, Kevin Brock the tight end without a home, and Mike Caussin the enigmatic athlete entering his third season. Egnew is the kind of player Buffalo could definitely like. He's one of the tallest TE's in the draft at almost 6'6". He also completes the TE corps as primarily a receiving threat. He has soft hands, tracks the ball well, and moves well after the catch. His main weakness is a lack of overall strength, but with a large frame he can improve on that in training camp. If Buffalo drafts a tight end this year (always a pretty low probability), Egnew is one of the few who would fit in.
Round 5 (147th overall): Eric Page, WR, Toledo
This player is supremely productive in any stage of the game. Had 125 receptions for 1182 yards and 10 TD's last season. Has excellent hands and catches with his hands, not his body. As a smaller slot receiver, he could take over right where Roscoe Parrish was supposed to leave off before his injuries caused him to drift away. He's not a supreme athlete like Stephen Hill or Joe Adams, so his best role will be a possession receiver. But as far as getting open and catching the ball goes, he could be the next Wes Welker. I have no idea if Buffalo's interested in him, but he seems like the kind of "get open quick" player who would be a good fit in Chan Gailey's offense.
Round 6 (178th overall): Brandon Mosley, OT, Auburn
Mosley is impressively athletic as a LT prospect. Started as a tight end and was a JuCo transfer to Auburn. Only started 13 games, 12 of which were at RT. Has a lot to fix technique wise, but could be a star LT someday. Mosley would complete Buffalo's offensive line depth, giving them two backup tackles to go along with their two backup guards (I'm projecting Rinehart and Jasper to fill those slots). Having RT experience, he really allows Buffalo to mix and match Hairston, Glenn, Mosley, and Pears in whichever configuration gives them the best results.
Round 7 (217th overall): Brandon Hardin, FS, Oregon State
Coming off a broken shoulder that ended his senior season before it could start, Hardin didn't have a long college career for teams to look at. He played in the East-West Shrine game though, which shows he was ready to play again. At 6'3" 217, he is quite big which makes him able to play special teams effectively or back up Bryan Scott and Jairus Byrd at either the hybrid or free safety positions. Had 3 forced fumbles in his only full season as a starter, which shows a knack for finding the ball.
Round 7 (251st overall): Adrian Hamilton, DE, Prairie View A&M
This is another one of those guys of whom I have no read on Buffalo's opinion, but I think could definitely be on their radar. Hamilton set a record for Division 1-AA sacks with 20.5 this past season. He's a defensive end with similar size to Dwight Freeney who was recruited for schools like Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. He's also connected with Buffalo through his defensive coach at Prairie View. For a late round flier, I think he's a great pick who could have potential as a pass rush specialist.