|LB Patrick Willis|
In light of the recent goings-on in regards to the SB Nation Mock Draft - and since I'm the newcomer in these parts - I thought I'd provide a little deeper analysis on my first-round pick of LB Patrick Willis.
When the first nine picks transpired as they did - and Willis was available to pick 10 - I saw the opportunity to move up to take the top player on my board. Houston was looking to move down, and San Francisco was primed to select Willis at pick 11. Armed with two third-round picks, I had the ammo to move up. After extensive conversations with Houston, I pulled the trigger.
The move turned out well. Houston was able to move down twice and pick up even more draft picks, and I was able to nab Willis. It turns out that Fooch from Niners Nation had already composed a write-up for his Willis selection, so the move turned out to be a bit more inspired than I had first imagined.
Willis is exactly the type of linebacker the Bills will look for for their Cover 2 scheme - he is VERY fast (4.37 in the 40 at his Pro Day), is always around the ball, and is great against the run. He also has promise dropping back in coverage, which is a must in Perry Fewell's scheme. Drafting Willis would allow Angelo Crowell to stay at his position on the outside, where he has been effective the past two seasons. Keith Ellison would also assume a starting role on the outside. This would give Buffalo a promising young linebacking corps.
I'll admit, trading away a first-day pick to move up 2 spots was a lot harder than it may have seemed. This team has needs at the offensive skill positions (especially RB), LB, CB and backup safety. I did have a few other considerations before I moved up (Marshawn Lynch, Leon Hall, Darrelle Revis and even Robert Meachem, for example), but none of those players would make the immediate impact we need like Willis would. Trading away pick #92 was, in that sense, worth it.
Obviously, linebacker was a huge need for us - in the opinion of a lot of Bills fans, it is by far our biggest need. Takeo Spikes was traded to Philadelphia after a subpar season, and London Fletcher-Baker left for greener pastures in Washington (at least in a monetary sense). That left Crowell as our only experienced linebacker, with Ellison and converted safety Coy Wire as our depth. Mario Haggan and Josh Stamer would be in contention as well.
Yeah - we need linebacker. Moving up to draft Willis goes a long way towards fixing that problem, although depth is still needed.
The second round should be interesting, there's no doubt. I will likely not tip my hand too much, but I have several positions that I am looking at with our pick. They include cornerback and running back, of course, where player defections (Nate Clements, Willis McGahee) have left pretty big holes on our team. WR, TE, LB, S, and potentially FB will be targets as well - we need depth at a lot of positions.
We are now up to pick 24 in the Mock, awaiting the pick from Pats Pulpit. Stay tuned for our second-round pick, which comes at pick 43.