The 2014 NFL Draft is in the books, and it ended up being one of the busiest weekends for the Buffalo Bills in recent memory. Orchestrated by GM Doug Whaley, the Bills flew up and down the draft board as they've never done before, and also executed two other trades that shipped away a popular veteran and brought in a young prospect with upside.
This post is a poll and discussion thread meant to let Bills fans grade the team's efforts over the last three days, and discuss the snap-judgment merits of the big-picture implications of the direction that Whaley and the Bills charted. The poll is at the bottom of the post and the comments section is open for business; first, let's review everything that transpired. Buckle up.
For over a month, the Bills were rumored to be interested in trading up into the Top 5, and that's exactly what happened. Here's what it cost to make the move up:
- 2014 Round 1, No. 9 (traded to Minnesota)
- 2015 Round 1 pick
- 2015 Round 4 pick
- 2014 Round 1, No. 4 (WR Sammy Watkins)
Considered the most explosive receiver in the draft and, by many, the best receiver prospect to come into the league since the 2011 duo of A.J. Green and Julio Jones, Watkins walks into Buffalo as the team's No. 1 receiving target.
With Watkins on board, one of the Bills' most popular and marketable players over the last four years suddenly became expendable.
- WR Stevie Johnson
- 2015 Round 4 pick (Round 3 conditional)
Trade No. 3
The Bills and the Rams executed a trade in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, then did some more business in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. In both instances, the Rams moved up, while the Bills moved down.
- 2014 Round 2, No. 41 (CB Lamarcus Joyner)
- 2014 Round 2, No. 44 (OT Cyrus Kouandjio)
- 2014 Round 5, No. 153 (OG Cyril Richardson)
A top recruit whose draft stock faltered a bit, Kouandjio received a first-round grade from the Bills, and will almost certainly become the team's starting right tackle in 2014.
Limited athletically, Brown nonetheless has plug-and-play ability as a two-down middle linebacker at the NFL level, which may not be relevant in 2014 as he's slotted to back up Brandon Spikes.
Cornerbacks with size, ball skills and some positional versatility are not easy to come by in the middle rounds; Cockrell gives the Bills much-needed depth at corner.
After eight running backs were selected on the second day of the draft, the Bills finally pulled the trigger on a trade they'd been working on for months, giving themselves some upside and a 2015 Plan B with their top two running backs heading toward free agency.
- 2015 Round 4 pick (conditional)
- 2014 Round 7, No. 224 (DT Beau Allen)
- RB Bryce Brown
- 2014 Round 7, No. 337 (OT Seantrel Henderson)
Trade No. 4
For the second time in the draft, the Bills executed a trade down - but this time, their return yielded a future draft pick instead of one in the same round this year.
- 2014 Round 5, No. 149 (OT Kevin Pamphile)
- 2014 Round 7, No. 221 (LB Randell Johnson)
- 2015 Round 5 pick
A two-time Big 12 award winner for offensive line play, Richardson slid a bit due to some technical issues in need of refinement and a bad Senior Bowl week. The massive, powerful run blocker has a shot to compete for a starting job, perhaps even as a rookie.
The seventh round is all about athletic projects, and Johnson (6'3", 242, 4.6 speed, 38.5-inch vertical) certainly qualifies as athletic. He projects as a strong-side linebacker in the Bills' defense.
Again, the seventh round is all about athletic projects; Henderson, a former No. 1 recruit, has prototypical size and talents for the tackle position, but must overcome concerns about his motivation and, more importantly, a very long line of off-field concerns.
|1||4||Bills (f/CLE)||Sammy Watkins||WR||Clemson||6006||211||4.43||link|
|2||44||Bills (f/STL)||Cyrus Kouandjio||OT||Alabama||6066||322||5.59||link|
|5||153||Bills (f/STL)||Cyril Richardson||OG||Baylor||6046||329||5.31||link|
|7||221||Bills (f/TB)||Randell Johnson||LB||Florida Atlantic||6032||242||4.60||link|
|7||237||Bills (f/PHI)||Seantrel Henderson||OT||Miami (FL)||6071||331||5.04||link|