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Willis Gets Company at LB in Round 3 of SBN Mock

No. 74

Pick by Buffalo Rumblings

Quincy Black
New Mexico

Go ahead and bash me if you'd like. Yes, we traded up to pick Patrick Willis in the first round. Yes, we still have not addressed cornerback (where depth is sorely needed after the Nate Clements departure) or wide receiver (where a future #2 to Lee Evans is likely to be a draft-day target). Allow me the opportunity to defend my pick of New Mexico linebacker Quincy Black.

Even with Patrick Willis on board, linebacker is still a pretty big priority in this draft. Willis completes the team's starting lineup (Angelo Crowell as SAM, Willis as Mike, Keith Ellison as WILL), but depth and athleticism are still sorely needed. Black provides huge additions to both of those categories.

Other than Willis, Black might be the best pure athlete amongst linebackers in this draft. Blessed with solid size (6'2", 240) and above-average timed speed (4.50 seconds in the 40), Black is known for his athleticism, playmaking and intelligence on the football field. According to his scouting report at NFL Draft Countdown, Black is extremely adept when in zone coverage - something that is an obvious "must-have" when dealing with the Cover-2 defensive scheme. He has great instincts, a good motor and is smart with solid intangibles.

Wide receiver Jason Hill was going to be picked here, but he went to Houston one pick before Buffalo's choice. That left the WR crop with a steep drop-off in talent, and none of the options there were worth a choice on the first day. A similar situation developed at cornerback, where some of the best cornerbacks available (David Irons, Michael Coe, Usama Young) simply did not represent great value with this pick. Black's potential in our scheme, coupled with our thin depth at linebacker and his special teams promise makes him an ideal fit with this pick.

Black fits the bill of a "Marv Levy guy" - he is intelligent, loves the game of football and has not had any off-field issues. Rarely do you find athletes this gifted in the third round of the NFL Draft. Black will not have the pressure of playing right away in the defense, and is more of a developmental project - he could be a top-flight starter in this scheme. In the meantime, he will be a solid contributor on special teams while working toward his future starting role.

What's your take, Bills fans? Was the #74 pick too high for Black? Should I have gone with another prospect at a different position? Feel free to bash me just as Kiper bashed Levy, or praise me as we all praise Marv. Let's hear it, Bills fans!