In this pre-combine draft I have used all the sources possible to put together what I expect to be a very detailed and extensive team draft. Some of the picks will not be popular but, I firmly believe that talent outweighs need in the first round. As so many of you grumbled when C.J. Spiller was selected the organization made it evident that they agree with me, plus he has turned out to be a pretty good selection. So here are my thoguths on this year’s draft, please let me know what you think!
Round 1, Pick 8) This pick was difficult, especially considering the glaring need at QB for the Buffalo Bills. What makes matters worse is that no QB has identified themselves as a franchise QB this year. Every QB has glaring issues causing experts like Mel Kiper to not even have a QB come off the board in round 1 of his recent mock draft. Due to this underwhelming QB class I decided to draft based on talent and not need.
Selection: Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner – The kid can straight up play and with the 8th pick you need a proven playmaker that can immediately impact your team. He is tall, strong, a solid open fielder tackler, and makes big plays. Pettine and the New Jersey Jets have made a living off of exotic blitz packages. He will be a valuable tool in dismantling opponent’s passing attacks, either through coverage or blitzing. Jarvis Jones has too many red flags and even though he can rush the QB people forget how miserable he is tackling in the open field, which Buffalo is all too used to. Also, Dion Jordan for all his athleticism doesn’t have the production you would expect out of a top ten pick. Plus, after watching game film he gets caught too deep in the back field and exposes the defense to gashing runs. If the Bills expect to lose Levitre or Byrd look for them to look very closely at Chance Warmack (Guard Alabama) or Kenny Vaccaro (FS Texas) respectively.
Round 2, Pick 41) In round 2 I expect a number of quarterbacks to still be available and to be worth their relative draft selection. I have my loyalties to upstate NY and I understand that Buffalo is sick of California QBs who can’t deal with the wind, rain, and snow they will experience. Also, I thought about the system that was run in Syracuse and who could pick it up the quickest and show the excessively patient Bills’ fans the quickest return.
Selection: Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib- The Senior Bowl was disappointing but, I expect the dismal performance to allow him to slip to Buffalo in the second round. His game film however shows a composed, aware, and athletic signal caller. His experience with Marrone and the offense should pay dividends right away. They know his skill set and they have a tailored plan in place to get the most out of him while he develops. He is a bit undersized but, his hand size is above average and should limit his turnovers has he takes the necessary bumps and bruises while improving. People might not realize this but, this measurement is one of the most important physical attributes when analyzing a potential QB. We all know how Daunte Culpepper fared with small hands (led the league for years in fumbles) and with 10’ hands he comes in a half inch bigger than the 6’5” Culpepper (9.5” hands), 5/8 of an inch bigger than the 6’6” Glennon (9 3/8” hands)(no pocket awareness, horrible completion %, no mobility… Please no Buff-a-lo!), and a full inch larger than the 6’2” Tyler Wilson (9’ hands). He will be a great fit, an instant fan favorite, and is used to the area.
Round 3, Pick 74) Now that the QB position is settled expect the Bills to use their remaining top 100 pick to sure up their other need areas.
Selection: Texas A&M OLB Sean Porter- A versatile LB who can play any spot within the Bills LB corp. He has plus speed, pro-size, has historically covered SEC slot receivers, and is a tackling force within the pro-style SEC. Perfect addition to the Bills LB corp and gives Pettine another option when covering the Patriot’s TEs. As of now I expect him to be here but, he could rise dramatically given his athleticism and the combine still upcoming.
Round 4, Pick 108) After giving the new defensive coordinator 2 of the first 3 picks the Bills will look to the offensive side of the ball with the next pick.
Selection: Georgia WR Tavarres King - He is slowly rising up draft boards after a solid showing against elite competition at Mobile. He is a reliable receiver who runs solid routes and will run a mid 4.4’s in the combine showing he has the athleticism to succeed at the NFL level. His senior year numbers will limit him as far as draft stock as well as him 6’1” lean frame but, expect him to be an instant contributor. He should be able to push for the Bills #2 WR spot very quickly and give Ryan Nassib another solid option.
Round 5, Pick 142) The Bills need another weapon for their new system and after a brutal knee injury sidelined Scott Chandler for the beginning of next season the Bills will be looking to add a receiving tight end.
Selection: Colorado TE Nick Kasa- Extemely raw yet talented prospect. Nick was a former 5 star rated defensive end who made the transition to TE only a little more than a year ago. He displays all the athleticism needed to make the transition; 6’6” tall, will run a solid 40 yard time (4.6-4.7), and has the size to punish opposing defenders off the snap. He shows excellent promise as a blocking TE as he knows what defenders are trying to accomplish against him and on a dismal 1-10 team he managed 340 yards and 4 touchdowns within an awful offensive system and in only his first year at the position. This is not going to be a popular selection, but I believe with a little more work he could end up being a huge steal.
Round 6, Pick 176) Another need area for the Bills is a developmental defensive end. During the course of the entire draft I continued to look for options who fit the mold of the multiple front Pettine will install. Or someone who with more seasoning might be able to replace Chris Kelsey at RE and can play both run and pass defense. It took a while but, I was able to find him in the 7th round.
Selection: South Carolina DE Devin Taylor- Taylor was once a first team All SEC selection and something happened. His sack numbers diminished. Why you might ask? Melvin Ingram (18th overall selection in the 2012 draft) and Jadeveon Clowney (possible Cyborg , definite super star). Before those two arrived he was the man and a force in the SEC. His abilities allowed both players to receive one-on-one blocking much more often than they should have and while they racked up the sacks he took the role as run-stuffing DE without complaint. He is massive 6’7” 275lbs which will allow him to play both 3-4 and 4-3 DE and he is strong, in an East-West Shrine practice he supposedly launched a 6’5” 300lb tackle into the air and threw another 5 feet away with his power rushing technique. His stiff hips might prevent him from ever being a 15+ sack guy but, I would expect exceptional play from him and a contribution right away.
Undrafted FA) Zach Brown K Portland State; He has a big leg and has constantly made 50+ yard kicks in bad weather. He should compete for the starting kicker position immediately and will turn heads with his overall athleticism (projected 4.5 40 time & film shows ability to tackle well on kickoff coverage)