Sorry for the long post, but I had to wait 24 hours for my account to be activated.
I'm going to take a shot at an early mock draft keeping in mind Whaley's "money ball" philosophy, Marrone's ST comments, and his "we've got to get bigger" comments. Obviously we still have free agency, all-star games, and the combine, so a lot can change.
The Bills don't need a top 10 pick! Those are reserved for QB, LT, DE/OLB, DT, and absolute freaks. Our biggest needs are not the glamour positions. Sure, we could take the top LB or WR, but that's not good value. I say trade back. Perhaps we drop back a few picks in exchange for a #3, a bit further for a #2, or down near the bottom of the round for a #2, a 4 or 5, and a 2 next year. Ideally we trade back twice and pick up a mid 3 and a late 2.
1) Austin Seferian-Jenkins: His receiving numbers are down this year, but only because he has developed into a solid blocker for Bishop Sankey. It's funny, because his blocking ability was the only knock on him coming into this year. We should be able to get him in the mid to late 20's. We just need to pick before NE.
*If this is the guy we have targeted (or if we target a Guard for that matter), we don't need to be convinced to make a trade. We just take the best deal(s) offered.
2a) Gabe Jackson: This guy is a force. Defenses stopped wasting bodies rushing him! This might be another opportunity to trade back and pick up a #3. Jackson seems to be dropping. I believe it's because he's standing around a lot just holding his ground lately, because defenders are avoiding the best OL at Miss St.
*2b) Deone Bucannon, S, WSU: I wouldn't gamble on Bucannon being available in the 3rd round. We're thin at safety, and his stock will continue to rise before the draft. This guy is a play maker. He put on 20 pounds this year, and it just made him a bigger hitter. He would give Pettine the opportunity to run his 3 Safety schemes, as well as the luxury of being able to plug in a player who could play FS or SS in the event of a long term injury. Leonard and Searcy have done some things well, but I don't consider either to be legitimate starters. Plus we still have the Byrd situation, and Williams is going into the final year of his contract.
3) La'el Collins, OT/G, LSU or JuWaun James, RT, Tenn: OL fixed! Assuming we have an extra pick in the 3rd, I'd take E.J. Gaines here if he's still on the board, and the RT with the second pick. Collins would give us more flexibility, assuming he's available when we pick. James would be more ready to step in at RT especially with the draft being pushed back.
*3b) If E.J. Gaines is off the board and we go with OL with the first pick 3rd round pick, then this is a luxury pick. We go with BPA or whatever we missed out on in free agency. Some thoughts are Carlos Hyde, Chris Borland, ILB from Wisconsin, Dominique Easley, or a QB.
4) Cody Hoffman, WR, BYU: A good route runner who's 6'4" with good hands. He's not a speed burner, but he uses his size to get open even against solid coverage.
5) Jeff Janis, WR, Saginaw Valley State: A D2 prospect who's 6'3" with good hands, and runs a sub 4.4 forty. Janis is also an option in the return game. I don't like starters back there. It's risky and it takes its toll on them.
6) Eddie Lackey, LB, Baylor: An undersized LB that just makes plays. He might find his way into some sub-packages, but he should be a great addition to our ST.
7) Brandon Oliver, RB, UB: A sentimental pick. Really, why does anybody bother mocking a 7th round pick?
If everything works out, we fix the OL, get a beast of a TE, shore up the secondary, get bigger at WR, and strengthen our depth and ST. For free agency we just need to re-sign our own and pick up a journeyman ILB for run support, unless we move Kiko to weak side LB and get by with Moats or Bradham at ILB and a 3rd safety.