Yes it's that moment that all you Bills fans have been waiting for. The start of the first Our Mock series for 2013!!! Please try to contain your excitement! In any case, I am going to keep things short and sweet. The Needs and Rules have been posted separately outlining the needs of the Bills this off-season as well as the rules for this mock.
I encourage you to read that post first, but if you rather vote now, please do so.
The Bills are drafting eighth overall this year (two spots lower from last year). Players that I feel will be gone by the time the Bills draft though (and therefore not included on this mock) are QB Geno Smith - WVU, OT Luke Joeckel - Texas A&M, DT Star Lotulelei - Utah and LB Jarvis Jones - Georgia. Nix hinted he could trade up for a QB, but if the Chiefs want to take Smith first overall, it could be too much to give up...
Here are 12 candidates for the first round although I expect votes to be concentrated among a few of these players. This is a weaker draft class than in past years particularly at QB, but some of these players stocks will change with the upcoming bowl games, pro-days and combines. Information that I have compiled on the players below has come from the following sources: Walter Football, CBS Sports, and CFB Stats.
QB Matt Barkley - USC [6-2, 230, 4.82]
Barkley had a mellow senior year due to a much weaker offensive line. However, this pocket passer still managed to throw for an impressive 3,273 yards, competing 63.6% of his passes for 36 TDs and 15 picks. The year before, Barkley threw for 3,528 yards, completing 69.1% of his passes for 39 TDs and just 7 picks. Barkley has great pocket presence, but missed the last few games (including the final game against Notre Dames and the Sun Bowl).
QB Tajh Boyd* - Clemson [6-1, 225, 4.68]
Boyd has not made a decision whether or not to enter the 2013 draft, but I feel that its fairly probable given his masterful performance against LSU in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, a weak QB draft class and the fact that fellow junior, DeAndre Hopkins is leaving early. In 2012, Boyd completed 67.2% of his passes for 3,896 yards, 36 TDs and 13 INTs while rushing 186 times for 514 yards and 10 TDs. In 2011, Boyd completed 59.7% of his passes for 3,828 yards, 33 TDs and 12 INTs. Boyd is a mobile QB who is capable of making deep throws and has done well despite being on the shorter end of the QB spectrum.
QB Tyler Wilson - Arkansas [6-3, 220, 4.79]
Wilson like Barkley struggled in his senior year although this was because 3 of 4 of his targets from last year graduated. Still Wilson has been able completing 62.1% of his passes for 3,387 yards, 21 TDs and 13 picks in 2012. The year before, Wilson completed 63.2% of his passes for 3,638 yards, 24 TDs and just 6 picks. Wilson has a strong arm and mobile, but wasn't able to repeat as a major contender this year.
WR Keenan Allen* - California [6-3, 210, 4.49]
Though just a junior whose season ended early due to an injury, Allen is one of the best receivers in the draft this year. Tall and with fair speed, Keenan caught 61 passes for 737 yards and 6 TDs in 2012, but caught a more impressive 98 passes for 1,343 yards and 6 TDs the year before.
WR Justin Hunter* - Tennessee [6-4, 200, 4.48]
Coming off of an injury the year before, Hunter looked very strong in 2012 with 73 catches for 1,081 yards and 9 TDs. The year before, he managed just 17 catches for 314 yards and 3 TDs before his injury. Hunter has good speed and height and played stronger as the year progressed.
WR Terrance Williams - Baylor [6-2, 200, 4.50]
Williams has done a lot to elevate his stock; from being the #2 receiver in Baylor's offense with RG3 and Kendall Wright, Williams held his own as the #1 WR, leading the FBS in receiving yards this year. In 2012 Williams caught 97 passes for 1,832 yards and 12 TDs. He caught 59 passes for 957 yards and 11 TDs the year before. Williams has good height, but lacks elite speed.
OG Chance Warmack - Alabama [6-3, 320, 5.20]
With LG Andy Levitre still yet to sign a new contract with the Bills, the Bills may have to replace him should he depart in free agency. The best guard undeniably in the draft is Warmack. A big guy, Warmack is still fairly agile and has been a force in both run and pass blocking for the Crimson Tide.
DE Damontre Moore* - Texas A&M [6-4, 250, 4.70]
One of the bigger pass rushing threats this year was Moore who recorded an impressive 80 tackles (20 for loss), 12.5 sacks, 8 hurries and a forced fumble (FF) this season. The year before, Moore recorded 72 tackles (17.5 for loss), 8.5 sacks, 2 hurries and 4 FFs. Moore may need to add some weight, but has been a solid pass rusher for the Aggies.
DE Bjoern Werner - Florida State [6-4, 255, 4.74]
Werner started off the year strongly and ended with 42 tackles (18 for loss), 13 sacks, 5 hurries and 8 passes deflected (PD) in 2012. In 2011, Werner emerged with 37 tackles (11 for loss), 7 sacks, 8 hurries and 5 PDs. Werner lacks elite speed, but is stout at the line.
LB Manti Te'o - Notre Dame [6-2, 255, 4.60]
Te'o recorded the most Heisman votes for a defensive player in recent history for good reason. In 2012, Te'o recorded 103 tackles (5.5 for loss), 1.5 sacks, 4 hurries, 4 PDs and an amazing 7 picks. In 2011 Te'o recorded 128 tackles (13.5 for loss), 5 sacks, 4 hurries and 2 PDs. Te'o has good speed (could play either middle or strongside) and does a great job of reading opposing offenses.
CB Johnthan Banks - Mississippi State [6-1, 185, 4.47]
If the Bills were looking for a solid #2 corner opposite Gilmore, the Bills could consider Johnthan Banks. Banks recorded 63 tackles (2 for loss), 7 PDs and 4 picks in 2012. The year before that, Banks made 71 tackles (8 for loss), 3 sacks, 3 hurries, 3 FFs, 9 PDs and 5 picks. Banks is a tall corner with fair speed and although lacked the impressive stats from the year before, appears to be a solid player.
CB Dee Milliner* - Alabama [6-1, 182, 4.45]
Milliner, continuing the streak of solid Alabama corners started off the year strongly and finished with 51 tackles (4 for loss), 18 PDs and 2 picks. In 2011, Milliner made 27 tackles (1 for loss), 9 PDs and 3 picks. Milliner started the year strongly and like Banks has been a near-shut down corner.