Before I roll out the Our Mock 4 (post-combine mock draft) series, I thought given recent changes to the roster, I’d comment on the state of the Bills roster. Starting with the offense, there has been several large changes with the Bills.
First the Bills opted not to retain WR David Nelson or Donald Jones, the Titans signing free agent LG Andy Levitre and biggest of all, the Bills parting with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. There are not a whole lot of top-tier talents in free agency for offense, which means the Bills will likely be using more than half their picks on this side of the ball.
QB T. Jackson, A. Corp
HB C.J. Spiller, F. Jackson, D. Dickerson, Z. Brown
TE S. Chandler, L. Smith, D. Buttles, J. Sawyer
WR S. Johnson, T.J. Graham, B. Smith, M. Easley, C. Hogan, K. Elliott
C E. Wood, D. Snow, A. Grant
OG K. Urbik, C. Brown, K. Williams, C. Scott, H. Eckerson, A. Jackson
OT C. Glenn, C. Hairston, E. Pears, S. Young, Z. Sanders, T. Welch
Quarterback – Rounds 1-3*
Clearly, most fans would love to see the Bills (finally) draft a QB in the early rounds. Ryan Fitzpatrick clearly was not the answer and given that the Bills will otherwise have to start Tavaris Jackson, this position will likely be addressed within the top 41 picks.
The big problem with this notion is that there is truly no true consensus top-10 QB in the draft; yes Geno Smith has promise, but he has never played a pro-offense and lacks accurate reads of defenses. And yet, if the Bills wait until the second round, some players will likely be gone. Frankly I’d wait until the second round and grab the best player available or trade up into the late first round.
No good QBs left in free agency.
Halfback – Rounds 5-UDFA
The big thing with drafting a third running back or a fullback is that both RB Tashard Choice and FB Corey McIntyre are free agents coming off of lackluster years. The Bills are definitely set with Spiller and Fred Jackson as the #1 and #2 RBs. The draft always has great depth meaning the Bills could get away without losing too much talent, but they could miss out on a few sleepers then. If (and only if) the Bills can address the other needs of their team, then I’m good with picking up a power-back/fullback rookie in Day 3.
Tight End – Rounds 3-UDFA
Nix has indicated the Bills will try to bring in a second tight end to make their offense more threatening. Scott Chandler is a sure starter, but Dickerson and Lee Smith were not big factors last year. There is ample depth in the draft and in free agency so that the Bills won’t have too much trouble in acquiring another TE.
Wide Receiver – Rounds 1-4*
Nix has indicated more so the necessity for a tall #2 receiver to complement Stevie Johnson. The Bills are woefully lacking in proven receivers and unfortunately there are few options in free agency. More so they will look to fill this need early in the draft, although they’d be best off to wait until the second or third round to fill this need in my opinion. Cord Patterson is promising, but needs a lot of work and the Bills need a starter from day 1.
Interior Offensive Line – Rounds 3-UDFA
Nix wanted to re-sign Levitre, but for $8 million a season, realized the cost was too high. Levitre will be missed and unless the Bills bring in an experienced guard, may end up using a day 2 or 3 pick to fill the void (or get depth). Wood and Urbik are set in the other two starting roles for now.
Offensive Tackle –UDFA
Some mocks have the Bills taking an offensive tackle in the first round. Frankly I am set with Glenn on the left side and either Pears or Hairston on the right side. Both Sam Young and Sanders are competing for a reserve role as it stands. Still with a new head coach who has worked largely with O-Lines during his career, we could see a new face or two come training camp.
Not an area of concern