The Buffalo Bills, like every other NFL team, are allowed 30 prospect visits prior to the 2013 NFL Draft. The team has already confirmed the names of 23 visitors, and reports indicate that four more (quarterbacks Tyler Bray and Tyler Wilson, cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and safety Phillip Thomas) are on the way. That brings the unofficial count to 27 names, meaning that three more we're not yet aware of are on the docket.
Keeping in mind that every first-round pick Buddy Nix has made with the Bills was brought in on a pre-draft visit, we're close enough to the end of this process that we can start forming lists of potential targets. Clearly, any name the Bills don't bring in shouldn't be scratched - that's especially true of Syracuse players this year - but it's something to keep in mind. We'll update the below lists once the full list of 30 names is confirmed, but for now, this is an interesting discussion starter for a Thursday morning.
Of the 27 players (23 official, four unofficial) that have been brought in, these are the potential targets, in my view, for Round 1 consideration. The list has been broken out into quarterbacks and non-quarterbacks. The comments section is all yours to mull over the lists, and to start up a list of the top prospects not invited to One Bills Drive this spring.
- Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: The only consensus first-round quarterback in the draft, Smith may not be available when the Bills pick at No. 8 overall.
- Matt Barkley, QB, USC: Perhaps the most field-ready quarterback in the field this year, he'd be a fit in Buffalo's West Coast flavored offense.
- Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State: There are definitely flaws with Glennon, but he might the best combination of arm talent and intangibles available this year.
- E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State: As raw as they come with fairly unimpressive tape, Manuel nonetheless possesses the required athletic traits to eventually be a starter as a pro.
- Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon: A freakish athlete with outstanding versatility and significant upside, he'd be a great fit as either a defensive end or a stand-up linebacker in Mike Pettine's hybrid scheme.
- Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU: A very similar athlete to Jordan, Mingo is rated just a notch lower in the versatility department thanks to less experience dropping into coverage. Again, the potential is enormous.
- Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia: A poor pro day workout has caused Jones to slide down mock drafts, but the draft's most productive pass rusher is still looking like a lock for the first round.
- Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas: Though he also had an unimpressive pre-draft process, the versatile Vaccaro has the coverage skills and size that are coveted by teams trying to handle spread offenses.
- Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia: Character concerns have capped Ogletree's draft-day potential a bit, but the athletic former safety is a big hitter and a great space athlete, making him a three-down capable linebacker.
- Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee: Concerns about the quality of his hands and his continued comeback from a 2011 knee injury linger, but he's productive and athletic enough to potentially sneak into the first round.
Have a quibble with the order? Want to try to figure out where Ryan Nassib fits into the equation? Curious what a non-invite list looks like? The comments section is open for business.