Every April it's the same - teams, media "experts", fans and scouts all break down information on NFL Draft prospects. Every year, each person who follows the Draft closely comes away with their "favorite" prospects. FreeSafety36, a valued Diary Writer here at Rumblings, wrote a great diary detailing Draft Prospect Infatuation. You should check it out, Bills fans - he makes a lot of very interesting observations.
To me, what a team does on draft day comes down to a lot of factors - in Buffalo's case, the Bills look for high-character players with good instincts and high intelligence. That's why players such as Keith Ellison and Terrance Pennington were able to hold their own as late-round starters last year. I'm sure there are other traits that factor in as well, but those are some of the big ones.
The biggest factor of them all, however, is fit. How often do you ask yourself, when analyzing a particular draft prospect, "Does he fit the scheme? Does he fit the team's direction?" Or, as I like to (wittily?) phrase it, "Does He Fit the 'Bill'?"
There are a lot of draft prospects who fit the character, intangible, and intelligence molds that the Bills desire that will be passed up because their athletic abilities do not fit the schemes that the Bills employ. Therefore, I thought it prudent to detail the Top 5 "Best Fit" prospects for the Bills.
The following five players made this list based on the following criteria: Fitting the Scheme, Intelligence, Intangibles, Character and any Miscellaneous items I could find. These players were chosen without regard to team needs or potential draft strategy.
1. Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville
In my humble opinion, there is no better fit at any position for the Bills in this Draft than Amobi Okoye. This kid is the real deal - he has adequate size with the frame to get bigger, fantastic speed for the position and the strength of a bull. What's more, he is such a young prospect that his ceiling is a bit higher than any other prospect to come along in a while. He has been described as a very hard worker and a bright kid. Regardless of how the Bills feel about their current DT situation, it is going to be very tough for them to pass on Okoye should he fall all the way to Pick 12.
(Props to Dock Ellis for touting Okoye so boldly in his most recent diary. Dock is another valued member of the Rumblings team, so be sure to check out his Diary series as well!)
2. Leon Hall, CB, Michigan
No cornerback is more perfectly-suited for the Cover 2 than Leon Hall. He has good size and plays a very physical brand of football. He proved doubts about his speed wrong by posting a 4.39 40 at the Combine. Cover-2 corners need to be good in run support, and Hall is second to none in that category among his peers. He is also one of the hardest-working players you'll meet, and appears to fit the mold of a "Marv Levy guy". This guy could be our #1 corner from the get-go.
3. Jon Beason, LB, Miami (FL)
Beason appears to be tailor-made for the weakside linebacker spot in a Tampa-2 scheme. His speed times have been somewhat disappointing in pre-draft workouts, but coming from Miami, there is little doubt that he is fast. He is a bit undersized, but the Buffalo brass does not worry too much about that - Ellison and Coy Wire are prime examples of that. Speed is the priority instead. Beason has more character issues than most prospects, but they seem minor and a professional job may iron those out. I think that Beason would be a very valuable asset to a young defense were he to be drafted.
4. Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee
Every day, I fall more in love with the potential that Meachem possesses. No receiver in this draft (other than a certain Johnson guy) has the elite size-speed combination that Meachem has. His size would allow him to make some of the underneath receptions that Lee Evans isn't best suited for, and could turn him into a good possession threat as well. His speed does not limit him to this, however. Meachem is a good kid, a hard worker and would be a huge weapon for J.P. Losman as the offense matures.
5. Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
In a Cover-2 defense, the biggest fundamental need to succeed is pressure from your front four. Adams is by far the best pure pass-rusher in this draft. His size may be a bit of a concern to some people, but when has size ever slowed down Dwight Freeney in Indy's Cover-2 scheme? The Bills were among the league leaders in team sacks last season, but often recorded sacks as a result of superb coverage. With a younger secondary minus Nate Clements this year, a more consistent pass rush is needed. Adams would be a terror in Perry Fewell's scheme.
Anyone you'd care to add to this list, Bills fans?