First off, thanks everyone for the FANTASTIC feedback with the first round of Our Mock. It was a nail-biter finish, but in the end, linebacker just barely edged past the wide receiver with 167 votes to 161. The winner, and also the majority leader was Buffalo OLB Khalil Mack. And with the Bills losing their excellent DC Mike Pettine and possibly their OLB coach Jim O'Neil, putting a solid defender in the front 7 may not be a bad idea. Having new DC Jim Schwartz (former Lions head coach), the Bills will still be aggressive defense, but possibly playing more 4-3 with blitzes. As such I've added 2 defensive ends to the list for this round.
Here’s our mock so far.
Round 1: OLB Khalil Mack – Buffalo
Our top vote getters were LB Mack (18.3%), WR Watkins (18.1%), OT Greg Robinson (16.5%), LB C.J. Mosley (14.7%), and WR Evans (12.2%).
Just remember that between the Senior Bowl, Combines and Pro Days, players stocks will change. Also, there is no consensus to the top 100 or 200 players out there, so if you do not see your favorite player below, I may include him later or in the next series. Needs still are the same, as the Bills could double at linebacker. For a rehash, here’s my list of priority needs for the Bills assuming we re-sign our top free agents and don’t bring anyone else into the fold: OG, WR, LB, OT, TE, S, HB, CB, P, QB, & DL.
WR Odell Beckham Jr. – LSU [6-0, 187, 4.40]
Beckham Jr. is nowhere near the tall receiver the Bills may be looking for, but he is physical, has speed and makes tough catches. He had 59 receptions for 1,152 yards (19.5 avg) and 8 TDs .
WR Jordan Matthews – Vanderbilt [6-3, 205, 4.60]
Matthews falls along the taller, but slower receivers in the draft. The senior has been a consistent threat for the last few years, and 2013 was no different in which he made 112 catches for 1,477 yards (13.2 avg) and 7 TDs.
WR Davante Adams – Fresno St [6-2, 216, 4.57]
Although just a sophomore, Adams declared early due to the fact his QB, Carr, is a senior this year. Adams had a great year with 131 catches for 1,719 yards (13.1 avg) and 24 TDs, but played against easier corners than other top WRs did.
TE Troy Niklas – Notre Dame [6-6, 270, 4.75]
The top three tight ends may be gone by the end of the first round. A solid day two option right now is Niklas. Notre Dame turns out TEs in spades and Niklas had some promise shown in 2013, but only has one year as a starter. In 2013 he made 32 catches for 498 yards (15.6 avg) and 5 TDs. He is a decent blocker and could be a good development TE as long as you bring in a starting one to help him.
OT Antonio Richardson – Tennessee [6-6, 332, 5.31]
The Bills could use an upgrade on their right side of the O-Line and Richardson has a lot of talent to do just that. He needs more consistency though to elevate his game stemming with his footwork.
OT Morgan Moses – Virginia [6-6, 325, 5.38]
Another right tackle prospect is Moses. He has experience on both sides and although he has had problems with weight management, has good mobility. Hopefully he can part defenders as well as he does seas.
OG David Yankey – Stanford [6-5, 311, 5.05]
Yankey is potentially a first rounder, although he is better suited at guard making him less likely to be drafted on the first day. Yankey excels in run blocking over pass blocking.
OG Xavier Su’a Filo – UCLA [6-5, 315, 5.19]
Su’a-Filo is a sophomore guard and as such needs fine-tuning, but has tons of potential. Su’a-Filo is a big, powerful blocker that has excelled in zone blocking, but as I said, needs work to be more consistent.
OG Cyril Richardson – Baylor [6-5, 335, 5.30]
Richardson was thought a potential late first rounder but showed up at the Senior Bowl a little flabby. He also had some problems blocking Hageman, but still has been a been a force to reckon with this year.
OG Gabe Jackson – Mississippi St [6-4, 340, 5.33]
Jackson is one of the best run blocking guards in the draft, and if he can show better aptitude in passing situations, he can be an early day 2 lock. Jackson had a strong senior campaign and has looked good at the Senior Bowl.
DL Aaron Donald – Pittsburgh [6-0, 285, 4.70]
Size be darned. Donald is one of the best penetrating defensive linemen and would be a sure first rounder except for the fact that he is very undersized for his position. The Bills could look for a starting 3-4 DE if Carrington leaves or maybe plug Donald in as a 4-3 DE. This year Donald had 59 tackles (28.5 for loss!), 11 sacks, 16 hurries and 4 FFs.
DE Trent Murphy – Stanford [6-6, 261, 4.80]
With a new DC in Jim Schwartz, the Bills may look to add a 4-3 DE to complement an additional linebacker this year. Murphy is a potential late first rounder, but questions with his speed may keep Murphy a second round prospect. He had 62 tackles (23.5 for loss), 15 sacks, 5 hurries, 2 FFs and broke up 6 passes this season.
DE Michael Sam – Missouri [6-1, 255, 4.71]
Though a bit on the shorter side, Sam has been dominating as a pass rusher at the Senior Bowl and could also fit well in a hybrid defense. In 2013 Sam recorded 48 tackles (19 for loss), 11.5 sacks, 5 hurries, 2 FFs and 2 passes broken up.
DB LaMarcus Joyner – Florida St [5-8, 195, 4.53]
Joyner is a small guy but makes plays constantly and plays hard. The Bills could be hurting at safety if Byrd does not return and some say that Joyner could do well at that position. This year he made 69 tackles (7 for loss), 5.5 sacks, 3 hurries, 3 FFs, 4 passes defended and 2 interceptions.