Only one NFL team - the Miami Dolphins (at least for now) - will have their pick of the NFL Draft litter when they're scheduled to make the top pick in a little over a month's time. Picking ten spots later, the Buffalo Bills will not have such luxury - much of what they do on draft day will be directly impacted by what goes on in the top ten picks. Playing off of the ever-popular "What If?" question, however, is a sports fan's favorite pastime; what if the Bills had their pick of the litter?
Last off-season, when this blog was brand new, one of our more popular early features was a Top 5 Best-Fit Prospects for the Bills, in which we discussed NFL Draft prospects not from a mock draft perspective, but from the way each prospect would fit in Buffalo's respective schemes. We'll do that again today for a little more Sunday afternoon Draft discussion. So keep the following in mind when perusing this list: these players are the best fits in Buffalo's offensive and defensive schemes. Draft status, injuries, projected availability on draft day, and all other contingencies are completely out of the window on this one. This is based purely off of what the Bills like to do on both sides of the ball and the talents of the prospects mentioned - and that's it. So here they are, folks - the Top Five 2008 NFL Draft prospects that would fit most snugly in Buffalo:
1 - Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio State
- I'm not exactly going out on a limb here when I say this, but Gholston is the best pure athlete in this year's draft. He plays the defensive end position ferociously, displaying excellent leverage, top-notch speed and quickness and the type of power you wouldn't expect from someone his weight (266 pounds). He's athletic enough to play end in any 4-3 alignment - he'd be especially devastating in a Cover 2 scheme which further emphasized his exemplary pass rushing skills - and he even has the ability to play outside linebacker in a 3-4. You simply don't find players like this very often - and with a little NFL coaching and game experience, he could quickly become one of the top pass rushers in the entire league.
2 - Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan State
- Limas Sweed and Malcolm Kelly are the big names, but Thomas is a better fit in Buffalo for one reason, and one reason alone: what he does after the catch. There's a reason that Thomas is an elite kick returner - he's got outstanding vision, and when coupled with his 4.4-second timed speed and solid frame (6'2", 216 pounds), you begin to see just how difficult he can be to bring down in the open field. Thomas needs some polish, but he has the highest ceiling of any receiver available in this draft, and he could pull double duty as a kick returner in the early portion of his career - whether he's a starting wideout or not. Think Eric Moulds in his early prime - that's what this kid could be. His YAC abilities make him a great fit in a scheme with a QB like Trent Edwards, who prefers check-down throws and needs YAC receivers to make big plays.
3 - Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
- Forget about the lingering injury concerns, the height/weight drawbacks, and his seemingly drooping draft stock - Glenn Dorsey is the best defensive tackle prospect in this draft. By a considerable margin. Even though he's just 297 pounds, has average speed and stumpy arm length for the position, Dorsey makes up for his shortcomings with a terrific motor and outstanding technique and leverage. He can play either one-technique or three-technique in a Cover 2 scheme; he's probably not a good fit in the 3-4, however. You don't see a player as dominant as Dorsey was in college very often.
4 - Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
- Ellis would be a solid fit in any Cover 2 scheme thanks to his explosiveness off the snap and ability to shed blocks - even the double team. He's had average post-season workouts, but he's a model citizen with a terrific work ethic and plenty of room to grow (football-wise, not physically). There's a reason he's called "Baby Sapp" - Warren Sapp was the poster boy for Cover 2 defensive tackles, and Ellis has that type of ability.
5 - Owen Schmitt, FB, West Virginia
- No, he's not an elite draft prospect. The chances are slim that he'll be picked within the first three rounds, and he may last well beyond that point. But for a Bills offense that is severely lacking in identity, and is supposedly built on power running, Schmitt's presence would work wonders. Want to make Marshawn Lynch, the face of the franchise, happy? Find a way to get him the draft's best pure run blocker. Schmitt is an old school, blue collar, nasty football player that will earn his paychecks by smacking the hell out of his opponents. He'd be an instant fan favorite in blue-collar Buffalo, and he'd finally give the Bills a smash-mouth mentality coming out of their two-back sets.
Again, folks, not advocating the drafting of any of these players - just looking for some interesting discussion. Feel free to add names, and subtract names, from this list. But most of all, have a very Happy Easter.