Preparing for the worst is important, but here's hoping for a best case draft scenario:
The talk of all this year's "big 3" QBs falling like Geno Smith did last year could very well be hype and click-bait. Geno fell to the 2nd round last year, but as Bills fans well know, a QB did come off the board in the middle of Round 1 last year. If NFL GMs view Bridgewater, Bortles, and Manziel as more pro-ready (or as having a higher ceiling) than EJ, they could all come off the board earlier than he did last year. In that case, Buffalo could end up with one of the "big 5" non QBs at pick 9!
1. HOU: DE Jadeveon Clowney. The Texans think hard about quarterback, but decide they simply cannot pass on a talent this rare. Houston has faced a similar choice twice before. They got it wrong in 2002 when they took David Carr over Julius Peppers, and they got it right in 2006 when they took Super Mario over Vince Young. They decide not to unlearn that lesson in 2014. JJ Watt cannot do it all by himself, especially with talk of Romeo Crennel making him 2-gap. No one is scared of Houston's existing OLBs as far as pass rush is concerned.
2. STL: OT Greg Robinson. The Rams pick up a monster run blocker to help their offense in the toughest division in football. They see Robinson quickly developing the pass blocking skills to thwart the Seattle, 49er, and Arizona edge rushers.
3. JAX: QB Teddy Bridgewater. The Jags have had enough of poor quarterback play, and are excited to land the most pro-ready QB in the draft. Gus Bradley can get creative with the defense, but innovative schemes won't be enough for the offense to succeed without a major upgrade at QB.
4. CLE: QB Blake Bortles. The Browns waited for Brady Quinn in 2007, and waited for Brandon Weeden in 2012. Neither did anything to turn the fortunes of the franchise. The previous Banner/Lombardi front office had it's eyes on Manziel, but new GM Ray Farmer wants a "Big Ben" sized QB to take the punishment in the rough and tumble AFC North. Brian Hoyer can start early in the season and give Bortles time to develop.
5. OAK: WR Sammy Watkins. The Raiders are gambling that they will get more of 2012 Matt Schaub than 2013 Matt Schaub. They decide the most highly touted receiver in a historically strong class gives them the best chance possible of getting the Schaub they need--especially without bringing Andre Johnson along with him.
6. ATL: OT Jake Matthews. There is no doubt the Falcons are hungry for pass rushers, but this is not a team that counts on defense to win games. Atlanta wins with Matt Ryan, Roddy White, and Julio Jones. They decide that Matthews, who would be going first overall in many other drafts, is just what's needed to give Ryan the time to carve up opposing defensive backfields--especially given they face Carolina's beefed up front seven twice a year.
7. TB: WR Mike Evans. The Bucs traded away Mike Williams due to character concerns, not because they didn't need a big target for receptions. Mike Glennon and Josh McCown are serviceable QBs, but McCown was far more productive with access to big WRs Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in Chicago. Tampa makes a reach with this pick, but one they hope will cover up some QB inaccuracies.
8. MIN: QB Johnny Manziel. The Vikings decide Manziel will give opposing defensive coordinators something to think about besides crashing eight men down on Adrian Peterson. Taking Manziel also gives the offense hope of getting the most out of Cordarrelle Patterson. Minnesota has three picks remaining in the first three rounds to think about addressing defense, but decide they won't be able to advance in their division without a QB who can make use of the big investments they have made in offensive weapons.
9. BUF: LB Khalil Mack. Doug Whaley was excited to see if Keith Rivers could become the answer at Sam Linebacker this year. But the combination of Kiko, Spikes, and Mack can finally make linebacker a strength of the Bills defense along with the defensive line and the secondary. The linebacking corps can now step up against the run--and Mack can help Mario, Kyle, Hughes, and Dareus to torment opposing QBs in the passing game.