OK, fellow Rumblers - the time is now for y'all to put on your GM hats and enter the war room. We are only up to pick 7 in the 2008 SB Nation NFL Mock Draft over at Mocking the Draft (pick 8 will air this evening, around 8:00 PM eastern), but this community is scheduled to pick for the Buffalo Bills in just over 24 hours' time. The first seven picks are in, and the six big names (Long x2, Gholston, Ryan, Ellis and Dorsey) plus Leodis McKelvin are off the board. With those picks in mind - and understanding that there are still three more picks to be made (Baltimore, Cincinnati, New Orleans) before we pick, here are the five prospects I'm considering with this pick:
Note: there are no trades in this mock draft, so we're picking at 11. These prospects are non-negotiable - so with proper apologies to the DE contingent out there, the Bills won't be selecting Derrick Harvey in this mock draft.
Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma: Kelly is the one name most frequently associated with this pick. He's very high on Buffalo's list as the team's top-rated wide receiver, and his supposedly creaky knees got a passing grade from Bills doctors. He's got by far the best set of hands of any receiver in this draft (he dropped only one pass in the past two seasons at Oklahoma), he's an outstanding run blocker, a great deep threat, and a tough player over the middle. Injury issues and questionable timed speed aside, his college production was the most consistent of any rookie WR and he's probably the most NFL-ready prospect at his position. Buffalo Rumblings Prospect Grade: 90
Devin Thomas, WR, Michigan State: Thomas is becoming a favorite amongst Bills fans quickly. The knocks on Thomas are that he only had one productive season in college, in which he set a Big Ten record with over 2500 all-purpose yards; his abilities as a deep threat are also questionable. Thomas isn't as big as Kelly or Sweed, but he is a strong runner, has outstanding acceleration, and even though his hands aren't the best, he's probably the most devastating "big receiver" (discounting Cal's DeSean Jackson) after making the catch. He's the type of guy who can take a short pass to the house. Would fit in well with a West Coast offense, and is one of the Draft's best kick return prospects as well. Buffalo Rumblings Prospect Grade: 88
Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida: In terms of the top four cornerbacks available this year, Jenkins is the most underrated when compared to Leodis McKelvin, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Aqib Talib. Jenkins doesn't do one thing particularly well, but is more than adequate in all areas. He's a sound tackler, though he could stand to be a bit more aggressive in run support. He's got good ball skills, but they pale in comparison to Rodgers-Cromartie's. He's an excellent athlete, but his hips are a bit stiffer than those of McKelvin's or DRC's, making him a bit less appealing to man coverage teams. He's also got some minor character concerns. But he's a guy who works hard, plays hard, and brings special teams value as well. He's certainly a darkhorse candidate to be picked at #11 by Buffalo. Buffalo Rumblings Prospect Grade: 87
Limas Sweed, WR, Texas: Sweed is seeing his draft stock slide ever so slightly (how about that for some alliteration?) despite running a 4.4-second 40 at his Pro Day. Sweed is getting knocked for being a bit softer than Malcolm Kelly and a bit less swift than Devin Thomas, but make no mistake about it - Sweed is going to be a good player at the pro level. He's got solid hands and his injured wrist, cause for concern earlier this off-season, is now fully healed. At this point, he is probably more of a late first-round prospect than either Kelly or Thomas is, and would be the biggest reach at #11. Buffalo Rumblings Prospect Grade: 83
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee State: The fastest riser of this year's draft class, Rodgers-Cromartie may not even be on the board when the Bills pick at #11. I'm not as high on him as most, mainly due to the fact that he's not a perfect fit for Buffalo's zone defense (though he certainly could play in it). Blessed with rare athleticism, fantastic ball skills and a very high ceiling, "DRC" could eventually turn into one of the elite corners in the NFL. He'll have to be more aggressive as a tackler, adjust to a very big talent jump and work on his football smarts, but his talent and kick-return abilities alone make him worth a high first-round spot. Buffalo Rumblings Prospect Grade: 83
Clearly, my choice is a wide receiver (I've been stating my case there for weeks now), and right now, I'm leaning ever so slightly toward Kelly. But we live in a democratic society, and although other factors will be considered when we select, the majority of the Buffalo Rumblings community will have a very large say in our decision-making process. So analyze these five names (again - non-negotiable) and make your selection in the poll by clicking "Entry Link". Really looking forward to hearing everyone's thoughts on this!