Mike Mayock (NFL Network) is one of the most popular NFL Draft analysts out there, and each season he puts out multiple sets of rankings of the Top 5 players at each position. He's done exactly that for the first time this year, ranking players prior to this week's NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
The Buffalo Bills have four major areas of need; let's examine Mayock's rankings at those four positions, shall we?
Quarterback: The only mild upset here is that Tyler Wilson of Arkansas didn't crack the short list. In a year where quarterback rankings are a matter of taste, Mayock leaves Wilson off the list for stronger-armed prospects like Mike Glennon, Ryan Nassib and Landry Jones. Atop the list, of course, is Geno Smith, with Matt Barkley sitting at No. 2.
Wide Receiver: This is a fairly standard ranking, with Cordarrelle Patterson coming in at the top followed by Keenan Allen, Terrance Williams, Tavon Austin and Quinton Patton. All but the smaller Austin would fit the profile of a big receiving target for the Bills.
SAM Linebacker/Rush Hybrid: Interestingly, Mayock slots Dion Jordan ahead of Jarvis Jones at the outside linebacker position. Bjoern Werner and Damontre Moore are 1-2 at defensive end (with Ezekiel Ansah and Sam Montgomery following), and Barkevious Mingo comes in fourth at outside linebacker. Hybrid defenses don't typically invest heavily in this hybrid linebacker position, but if that's where the value lies, Buffalo might buck the trend.
Linebacker: At inside linebacker, Mayock lists Alec Ogletree (he of the recent DUI) No. 1, followed by Manti Te'o and Kevin Minter; all three are considered possible first-round picks. Khaseem Greene of Rutgers and Arthur Brown of Kansas State also crack the list at outside linebacker (they'd be weak-side linebackers for Mike Pettine), while Kevin Reddick and Kiko Alonso are listed, as well.
With the Combine taking place later this week, players should really begin to separate themselves and these rankings will begin to take firmer shape and solidify throughout the spring months.