The Bills have made a flurry of roster moves over the past week with their new head coach Doug Marrone. However, with those moves comes the more pressing question of who to get to fill these holes. The Bills definitely have the cap space to grab a few solid free agents, but we shall focus on the other way, the draft.
The Bills have a number of needs, and free agents that they need to re-sign. Top among their needs are a three-down linebacker, a franchise quarterback and a starting receiver. A new regime is in charge and with that the roster could undergo a bit of change. So in addition, we cannot rule out bringing in a pass rusher, an offensive lineman (if Levitre is not re-signed), or a cornerback in the first round. (I did not include OT Luke Joeckel, DE Demontre Moore, DE Bjoern Werner or DT Star Lotulelei as they all will likely be gone with the top 5 picks). I have put 14 names below to consider.
Rules for this mock draft are fairly simple. The player from the position with the most votes will win the mock (usually this goes hand-in-hand). By doing this, we ensure that the position that people may be splitting votes on is still regarded as the primary need in the draft. Information that I have compiled on the players below has come from the following sources: Walter Football, CBS Sports, and CFB Stats. As always, please voice your opinion in the comments at the end.
QB Matt Barkley - USC [6-2, 230, 4.82]
Barkley had a mellow senior year due to a much weaker offensive line. Barkley has great pocket presence, but many Bills fans are hesitant to pick a Californian QB, especially one that lacks elite arm strength. However, this pocket passer still managed to throw for an impressive 3,273 yards, competing 246 of 387 of his passes (63.6%) for 36 TDs and 15 picks. The year before, Barkley threw for 3,528 yards, completing 308 of 446 passes (69.1%) for 39 TDs and just 7 picks.
QB Mike Glennon - N.C. State [6-6, 232, 4.62]
Glennon is the biggest QB in the draft this year, but is surprisingly agile in the pocket. With not much of a cast to work with, Glennon still pulled off an impressive year completing 330 of 564 passes (58.5%) for 4,031 yards, 31 TDs and 17 INTs. In 2011, Glennon completed 283 of 453 passes (62.5%) for 3,054 yards, 31 TDs and 12 picks. Glennon played poorly against Vandy in the Music City Bowl, but still had a good year.
QB Geno Smith – West Virginia [6-3, 215, 4.69]
Questions of Smith’s ability to play in the NFL have brought his stock down from the top-5 talk he enjoyed earlier this year. Smith has a big arm, but lacks great mobility, has some questions with accuracy against better defenses and did not play in a pro-offense at WVU. Still Smith posted big numbers completing 365 of 513 passes (71.2%) for 4,198 yards, 42 TDs and just 6 picks in 2012. In 2011 he made 346 of 526 passes (65.8%) for 4,385 yards, 31 TDs and 7 INTs.
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 249 of 401 of his passes (62.1%) for 3,387 yards, 21 TDs and 13 picks in 2012. The year before, Wilson completed 277 of 438 attempts (63.2%) for 3,638 yards, 24 TDs and just 6 picks. Wilson has a strong arm and is mobile, but wasn't overly impressive in the senior bowl.
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 Cord Patterson* - Tennessee [6-3, 200, 4.40]
Nix is looking for a tall receiver with speed given that Stevie Johnson operates best out of the slot. Patterson emerged this past season as a fast, agile play-maker. In his first year of play, Patterson improved weekly amassing 46 receptions for 778 yards (16.9 avg) and 5 TDs while also running for 3 TDs and returning 2 kicks for TDs. Patterson has fair hands, needs improvement in route running, but has incredible upside.
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 and absolutely dominated the Irish front seven at the BCS title game.
DE Ezekial Ansah – BYU [6-5, 274, 4.69]
Ansah is one of the biggest names in the draft despite only emerging this past year as a good pass rusher. Ansah, a former track star, has great athleticism and it showed at the senior bowl. His speed and build allows him a lot of versatility and make plays, but like Jason Pierre-Paul, didn’t produce a lot in college. In his senior year, Ansah recorded 62 tackles (13 for loss), 4.5 sacks, 6 hurries and 9 passes broken up.
DE Dion Jordan – Oregon [6-6, 243, 4.70]
Like Ansah, Jordan is a great athlete, but will need to add muscle and disengage from blockers. Part of a solid defensive unit, Jordan made 44 tackles (10.5 for loss), 5 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles in 2012. In 2011, Jordan had 42 tackles (13 for loss), 7 sacks and 1 forced fumble.
DE Barkevious Mingo* – LSU [6-5, 240, 4.60]
Mingo was not as productive as he was last year, but played better than his stats indicate. Like Jordan, Mingo needs to add some bulk so as to be a bigger factor against the run. In 2012, Mingo had 38 tackles (8.5 for loss), 4.5 sacks, 12 hurries and 3 passes deflected. In 2011, Mingo emerged with 46 tackles (15 for loss), 7 sacks and 11 hurries.
LB Jarvis Jones* - Georgia [6-2, 242, 4.58]
With the Bills set to implement a hybrid defense, they may seek to add a pure pass rushing outside linebacker. Jones stock has fallen due to questions of his (lack of) work ethic, but no one can deny Jones has talent in disrupting the run and pass. Additionally some teams may be weary given that Jones has a mild case of spinal stenosis. In 2012 Jones made 77 tackles (22.5 for loss), 12.5 sacks, 19 hurries and 7 forced fumbles! The year before he had 70 tackles (19.5 for loss), 13.5 sacks, 26 hurries and 2 picks.
LB Alec Ogletree* - Georgia [6-3, 236, 4.61]
Between Kelvin Sheppard struggling and Nick Barnett being released last week, the Bills may opt to strengthen their weak linebacker corps. Ogletree is a first round talent, but after failing a drug test that caused him to miss a few games, has some off-field concerns. Most recently he was arrested for a DUI. Ogletree has made 111 tackles (11.5 for loss), 3 sacks, 5 hurries and 5 passes defended in 2012 while making 52 tackles (7.5 for loss), 3 sacks, 3 hurries, 2 forced fumbles and 2 passes defended in 2011.
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 and typically does a great job of reading opposing offenses. Te'o has received a lot of flack for his poor BCS showing and the "girlfriend" scandal, but he is a great play-maker and team leader.
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 and looked particularly dominant defending the Irish receivers including TE Eifert.