In preparation for the draft tonight I am rehashing some of the Bills’ needs, team goals and draft goals. The Draft Countdown Series has so far covered the following articles:
10: Top Ten Players of the Draft (UPDATED)
9: The Ninth Pick History
8: The Eight Teams Drafting Before Us
7: The Seven Free Agents to Target
6: The Sixth Playoff Spot
5: The Five Veterans to Decide
4: The Four Question Marks - Starters
3: The Three Divisional Foes
2: TWO POTENTIAL MOCKS
I have been running a few community mocks (Our Mock) leading up to the draft this year. But what I haven’t done is create my own draft plan for the Bills. There has been a lot of talk about the Bills trading up in the draft to nab a top-5 player. These guys that the Bills would be interested in include DE Jadeveon Clowney, OLB Khalil Mack, OT Greg Robinson, and WR Sammy Watkins. Frankly, the cost of doing so may be too high especially first overall. Having to give up a second or third round selection to trade up with Oakland (for instance) should be more doable, although losing one of these picks would still sting.
For the time being I am going to stay at ninth overall. If OT Jake Matthews is still available at ninth overall (a 50-50 possibility), the Bills would be foolish not to take him. They might also be tempted to draft WR Mike Evans if Tampa passes over drafting him, but given the addition of Mike Williams and other needs, I feel the Bills will not draft him either. With that in mind here are two mocks for your consideration.
1. OT Taylor Lewan – Michigan ______alt pick: OT Zack Martin – Notre Dame
2. TE Troy Niklas – Notre Dame _______alt pick: TE A. Seferian-Jenkins - Washington
3. DE Marcus Smith – Louisville _______alt pick: DE Jackson Jeffcoat - Texas
4. LB Christian Jones – Florida St _____alt pick: LB Yawin Smallwood - UCONN
5. WR Jeff Janis – Saginaw Valley St __alt pick: WR Devin Street - Pittsbrugh
7. HB David Fluellen – Toledo _________alt pick: RB Jerome Smith - Syracuse
1. TE Eric Ebron – North Carolina ______alt pick: WR Mike Evans - Texas A&M
2. OT JuWuan James – Tennessee ____alt pick: OT Cyrus Kouandjio - Alabama
3. DB S. Jean-Baptiste – Nebraska ____alt pick: DB Bashaud Breeland - Clemson
4. HB Charles Sims – West Virginia ____alt pick: HB Tyler Gaffney - Stanford
5. DE Ben Gardener – Stanford _______alt pick: DE Michael Sam - Missouri
7. P Tom Hornsey – Memphis _________alt pick: Pat O’Donnell - Miami
Here are some of my thoughts on the draft:
In the first round, the Bills will not be taking a defensive player. The simple rationale is that their defense was ranked in the top 10 in a number of areas; run defense - where they lacked the most - they brought in a pair of linebackers to augment Kiko in their 4-3 alignment. And while losing FS Jairus Byrd hurt the secondary, the Bills have a few young safeties and veteran Corey Graham that can compete for that job. Lastly, while they lack defensive end depth, Hughes should’ve earned the majority of snaps. A guy like Clowney would be cool for our D-Line, but breaking the bank would not be wise for the Bills.
On the offense though, the Bills are developing a young QB. They have the run game and some decent receivers, but they need a few things. First is an anchor on the right side of the offensive line. The second is a tall receiver – but unless they plan on cutting Stevie (they have Woods and Mike Williams also as quality receivers), I doubt they’ll take Mike Evans. That leaves the top pick to a tight end or a tackle. I prefer a tackle (Taylor Lewan over Zack Martin if Jake Matthews is not available).
With our Day 2 picks we will likely target the other position we did not take in the first round. After that we will use BPA to determine when/if to take a defensive end, linebacker and/or receiver. Do not be surprised if the Bills also draft a running back in the mid-rounds given its uncertainty after this season. The Bills could also target a defensive back or quarterback; despite having young players at these positions, we could bolster the depth here. Lastly, Moorman is getting old so taking a punter with a big leg could be prudent for our organization.
But this all starts with the Bills first round pick…