This is my second of three mock drafts for the 2014 season. It has an entirely different set of players from my first, and I tried to exclude guys that I have seen in other mocks here on Rumblings.
1) Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M) 6’5 225lbs
Size wins in the NFL. Questions about Evans’ pure speed and route running could very well be warranted, but players with his blend of talents are not easy to come by. He can outmuscle practically any defensive back for the football thanks to his strong hands, physicality, and size. Forget about the receivers, Mike Evans represents the type of physically imposing athlete of which the Bills have far too few.
2) Antonio Richardson (OT, Tennessee) 6’6 327lbs
The theme here is the same. Richardson is a physically imposing player who is powerful in the run game and light in his feet in the passing game. He maintains a good pad level for a player his size, and generally jolts defenders on initial contact. While I am not confident that Richardson could be a long term starter on the blind side (he tends to lunge at defenders when dealing with quickness), he has the look of a plug-and-play right tackle with significant potential down the line.
3) Terrance Mitchell (CB, Oregon) 6’0 189lbs
One of the (quietly) more pressing needs this team has is at cornerback. There is not a single backup CB on the roster that can reasonably be expected to play well on the outside if Gilmore or McKelvin goes down.
Mitchell is a feisty player that plays the game with a bit of an edge, and openly came out early with a chip on his shoulder after receiving a less-than-favorable grade from the advisory board. Personally, I have no idea what those people were looking at. I see an athlete with quick feet, good vision/awareness, natural ball skills, and the (severely underrated) ability to adjust in real time to the nuances of a given play. Mitchell also has the size and athleticism to make it as an NFL corner, and gives the Bills a viable backup to groom for the outside.
4) Charles Sims (RB, West Virginia) 6’0 214lbs
In the short term, the Bills essentially have no third running back. In the long term (or short... as I knock painfully hard on a gigantic piece of wood), they are not remotely prepared for the day when Fred Jackson’s age finally catches up to him. An infusion of talent here is needed in either case, as Nate Hackett’s offense is going to rely heavily on the ground game as is currently constructed.
Charles Sims brings a very well-rounded skill set to the table. He is a capable blocker, has the speed and quickness to bounce runs outside, is powerful enough to carry the ball up the gut, and is a plus receiver out of the backfield. Sims lacks true home run ability, but still boasts deceptive speed. My biggest complaint is that I would want someone with his size and lower body strength to drop their pad level more often and plow smaller defenders over.
5) George Uko (DE, Southern California) 6’3 275lbs
Uko is an tricky prospect, as his frame is that of a true ‘tweener’. In my mind, he is just athletic enough to play outside of the offensive guards if his weight stays down near 270. Uko is quick off the snap, excels at hand fighting, and has a "helmet on fire" sort of play style (which is to say he hustles like a maniac). More of a project athlete at this point, but I would think he has a good chance considering his athleticism and high motor.
6) Nic Jacobs (TE, McNeese St.) 6’5 260lbs
Jacobs would probably be a more recognizable name if he had stayed at LSU following his sophomore season, but as it stands he is an early entrant from McNeese St. after transferring last year (worth noting that he was suspended for 4 games by LSU for undisclosed reasons). I am not certain of his speed (he looks like a 4.8 guy to me), but Jacobs is a player with plus size and soft hands that shows quickness in his routes and blocks with a mean streak. This is purely an upside pick that would probably need to make his mark on special teams to warrant a roster spot as a rookie.
7) Viliami Moala (DT, California) 6’2 315lbs
I doubled up on defensive linemen, except here I selected a player that belongs inside of the offensive tackles. Moala was a top recruit that has thus far failed to live up to the billing, and was not even invited to the combine. However, there is starter’s upside here with his thick/powerful frame and natural movement skills. Moala has a lot to clean up, but offers quite a bit as a developmental backup.
I have always thought that the Bills need to add as many Pacific Islanders as possible, and (fun fact) the Tongan Moala would give them a fourth to my knowledge (Unga and Moeaki are both also Tongan while Summers is Samoan).
Questions? Comments? We are in the heart of the pre-draft season, and I fully invite just about any sort of draft related discussion.