NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with Marcell Dareus, #3 overall pick by the Buffalo Bills, as Dareus holds up a jersey during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
We are now five short hours away from the start of the 2012 NFL Draft, Buffalo Bills fans. It's been a long and unusually smokescreen-laden path to get to this point, but if you hang in there for just a little while longer, we'll get through the murky and questionable pre-draft period and start seeing some actual changes to the team we love. Until then, let's make a few (not so) bold predictions!
Prediction No. 1: Bills fans will not be universally happy.
That was very nearly the case a year ago, when a whopping 96 percent of Buffalo Rumblings readers approved - largely heartily - of the team's selection of defensive lineman Marcell Dareus with the No. 3 overall pick. Whoever the Bills pick tonight may be lucky to get half of that approval; we're expecting a rating much closer to the 56 percent approval that Clemson running back C.J. Spiller pulled in 2010.
Prediction No. 2: The Bills will not trade up.
In short, I believe GM Buddy Nix when he says that he values draft picks, and his two conservatively-played drafts in his current role lend credence to that. Folks will argue that Nix's aggressive pursuit of Mario Williams is proof that he's willing to break his trends, and I can't argue with that. You show me a prospect of Williams' caliber - one that plays a position that is such a crying and desperate need as the pass rush was - and I might start buying into the idea. I just don't see that player, nor do I see that desperate a need. I don't think Nix will, either.
Prediction No. 3: The draft board will trump need, and need will serve as the chief tie-breaker.
Other than perhaps "beer," no word will be bandied about more tonight on this blog than "need" - particularly if the Bills take a player that doesn't fill a perceived need area. I'm OK with this - not because I don't recognize the team's needs and want them filled, but because I want to judge Nix and his scouting staff as accurately as possible. I want them to make picks based on their board, and not on their desperate desire to fill holes, because ultimately their longevity here will be based on their ability to find good football players - and following the board is the best way to quantify that. Nix has made it clear that that's his plan, with need factoring into the equation in a tie-breaking capacity. That's just fine by me, though I certainly understand why it won't be for others.
Prediction No. 4: Both ESPN and NFL Network will cut to commercial moments before the Bills' selection is to be announced, regardless of trade circumstances.
This seriously happens every year. You know it; I know it; we all know it. Thumbs up to whoever can work this inevitability into their planned drinking game for the evening.
Prediction No. 5: Buffalo Rumblings will be hopping.
This place is going to be great tonight. We expect thousands of visitors and comments, and things are going to be far more hectic than usual. Which is obvious. I'm going to be mad busy keeping track of everything going on tonight, so if you wouldn't mind, here are a few things you can try to do to make my job easier this evening.
- Enjoy yourself, and enjoy hanging out with other Bills fans. We're all on the same team.
- Understand that this is not life and death.
- Follow blog rules.
- Try to avoid posting images, as this tends to really bog down site performance.
- Wear pants and drink in moderation. (Just kidding. We think. At least don't share if you're sans britches.)
Make your bold predictions below!