This is the first in a series of posts that you'll see every day this week in which five authors of Buffalo Rumblings put together their pre-free agency, seven-round Buffalo Bills mock draft. First up? Yours truly. If I'm predicting the type of draft I think the Bills would come away with if the draft were tomorrow, here's what it would look like.
Round 1: Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas
- The 6'4", 260-pound Orakpo is inexplicably getting a bad rap in the land of Bills fans because of an ESPN segment in which his workout skills are portrayed, and the fact that he went to the University of Texas - a school that, thanks to former OT Mike Williams, is largely ruined for Bills fans. But those are frivolous factors that have little to do with football. If you have an issue with Orakpo, center it around inconsistency, because everything else about him screams elite prospect. I still have Florida State's Everette Brown atop my "best fits" list at end for the Bills, but I don't think he'll make it to the eleventh overall pick. Orakpo is a terrific consolation prize.
Round 2: Eric Wood, C, Louisville
- Most Bills fans are ga-ga over Cal center Alex Mack - and with good reason - but in speaking with some scouts, most of the conversation that I'm hearing is that Wood is the 1A to Mack's 1. One scout even had the 6'4", 309-pound Wood ranked ahead of Mack. Wood isn't an upside prospect by any means - he's not the type of guy you draft and know he'll turn into a superstar - but he's a solid, dependable blocker in both the passing and running game that doesn't make mistakes and plays with a nasty demeanor. That's all I need to know. I doubt he makes it out of round two, so he's the smartest pick for the Bills here.
Round 3: James Casey, TE, Rice
- At 6'4" and 235 pounds, Casey - a former pro baseball prospect that's much older than your average NFL rookie - he'll be 25 this coming September - but he's got a great frame and outstanding college production (111 catches in his final college season). Buffalo could certainly address tight end before their third round pick, but considering their wide variety of needs, it's not going to be shocking if they have to wait. A solid prospect like Casey, who is a superb athlete, would lessen the pain of having to wait to address this area.
Round 4: Sammie Lee Hill, DT, Stillman
- Most of you are aware that I've made plainly known my desire for Buffalo to add a massive run-stuffing DT prospect at some point in the draft. (Yes, the draft, not free agency.) The 6'4", 328-pound Hill fits that description perfectly. Hill is a small-school prospect, but he's played end in a 4-3, believe it or not, and he's also reportedly been a fantastic basketball player in his time. I like athletes. Hill is an athlete with elite measurables, and he's also apparently quite the driven player. If he's still kicking around in the fourth round - and his name will likely climb draft boards quickly as draft day approaches, so that's far from certain - Hill would be an outstanding pick for the Bills.
Round 5: Lee Robinson, OLB, Alcorn State
- Unfortunately, with so many needs, a rather important one has to wait until the fifth round (again, this draft is based on current needs, not what may potentially be addressed in free agency). Robinson is a mid-to-late round prospect with enough size (6'3", 243) to play the strong-side in Buffalo's defense. He's also got solid special teams potential. Obviously, Robinson wouldn't come close to starting as a rookie and making an impact, but he's as solid a prospect as you can find in the fifth round, so he's worth bringing in as depth.
Round 6: Conredge Collins, FB, Pittsburgh
- When it comes to fullbacks, I'm a guy who likes bowling ball guys. Collins is short (6'0") and stout with the room to get a bit stouter (230 pounds). He's also been part of a pro-style offense at Pittsburgh, blocked for one of the nation's best runners (LeSean McCoy), and he's shown some value as a short-yardage back and a receiver, as well. There are bigger names at fullback, but the Bills would be just fine drafting Collins and plugging him into their fullback role from day one.
Round 7: Terence Moore, S, Troy
- If you're not painfully aware that I'm less than thrilled with Buffalo's safety play of late, welcome to Buffalo Rumblings. Moore is certainly not going to change the team's safety play as a rookie, but he's got two things going for him - good athletic build (6'2", 218 pounds) with solid production as a senior (6 interceptions). Plus, he's spent some time playing next to our very own Leodis McKelvin, which is about as strong a deciding factor on a seventh-round draft pick as you're going to get.
Thoughts? Opinions? Just want to trash this draft? Don't shoot the messenger, folks - the theme here is that the Bills have a lot of work to do in free agency before they can come close to putting together a high-impact draft. Of this lot, only three - Orakpo, Wood and Collins - could be counted on to play significant roles as rookies. The rest are, at best, developmental prospects with high upside. The Bills have had enough of those drafts in recent years to choke a donkey, and it hasn't worked. Still, this is the position they're in at this point in time. Scary, right?