1. Ryan Nassib - Probably not the best player available at 8 but I have him somewhere in that 10-15 range and frankly when it comes to QBs that's close enough for me folks. This team isn’t going anywhere without competent play behind center and Nassib is plug and play in Hackett/Marrone’s system. After looking at everything I could find on him (same things we’ve all seen no doubt except I have the whole Syracuse-Rutgers game on the DVR which came in handy) here’s what I see:
He’s decisive and he’s got really good velocity on his short and intermediate throws. Stevie Johnson isn’t a tremendous vertical threat but what he can do is create momentary separation that requires a quick, decisive and strong throw. Those two would work well together.
Note: Every single player I list below is a better NFL prospect than Nassib overall, and it makes me ill frankly to sacrifice an opportunity to add one the them, but that’s the situation we’re in…
2. Tavon Austin – There was only one CJ Spiller in 2011, and there’s only one Tavon Austin in 2013. Although the Bills want to put Stevie Johnson in the slot that doesn’t mean that have to. Johnson has proven to be a perfectly capable perimeter receiver so there’s room to fit Austin into Buffalo’s offensive arsenal. Having multiple short and intermediate-range weapons can really go a long way towards fixing OL and QB deficiencies. If OBD who is obviously well-schooled on Nassib at this point think he is not worth the 8th overall pick, I add Austin and never look back.
3. Ezekiel Ansah – Ziggy has slid down my list if only because I’ve been talked into the notion that his lack of football background will make him much more of a development than I had previously thought. But if I go by my eye??? Well. Different story, because that kid has instincts that leap out at you. It’s actually scary to think he has room to improve in that area. Athletically he’s a freak and there are no off-field issues. Scheme-fit might be a bit of an issue but if you’re taking a great defender and scheming around him I see no reason not to rate this guy very high.
4. Alec Ogeltree – Three down, versatile backer in my eyes and those guys are very hard to come by in free agency or later in the draft. Olgetree perfectly fills the hole left by Nick Barnett and really rounds out a revamped linebacker corp after the addition of Lawson. Buffalo has not had reasonable play on the second level in some time; this would improve the line and secondary indirectly.
5. Tyler Eifert – I’ve noticed this is the sexy pick around here of late. But besides an elite signal caller, most elite offenses in the NFL these days have vertical threat TE’s that provide matchup problems. Taking Eifert at 8 would go a long way towards modernizing Buffalo’s offensive attack.
So there you have it, any of those guys will put a smile on my face Thursday night.
Now here is a brief summary of why some other popular names didn’t make the cut:
Warmack – Would love the idea of Spiller and Jackson running behind this guy, but he is a guard at the end of the day and that’s not how I roll, personally.
Jordan – Too raw with too much bust potential, and probably a situational player for a year or two.
Patterson – I just suck at projecting perimeter receivers to the NFL, so I don’t do it anymore. You tell me why he should be above the 5 guys I picked.
Mingo – The #8 position is not for situation defenders, and that’s what he’ll likely always be.
Geno – I wouldn’t cry because OBD knows better than I, but I am scared off by his apparent lack of smarts.
Milliner – I happen to think we’re better than average at the corner spots with good depth ready to emerge. Spread the wealth, please.
Barkley – Not much separation between Nassib and Barkley for me in terms of prospects, but Nassib prevails due to his relationship with the staff and his better velocity. I do like Barkley's pedigree.
Floyd/ Lotulelei – Either Dareus or K. Williams is under-utilized in this scenario, so I don’t like it all that much.