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Rumblings Authors Mock, V2.0 - Ron's Take

As I sit down to write this latest installment of the Rumblings Authors Mock series (gotta love having a Monday off), I have the distinct feeling that my seven round tradeless draft is going to be ugly. Way back on Valentine’s Day I put up a mock draft in which I predicted the Top 10 shaking out like this:  OT Eugene Monroe, OT Andre Smith, DE Everette Brown, WR Michael Crabtree, LB Aaron Curry, CB Malcolm Jenkins, DE Brian Orakpo, DT B.J. Raji, LB Aaron Maybin, QB Matt Stafford.

That was back before the Jason Peters contract debacle, his subsequent trade to Philly, and even before the Combine. Naturally, things have changed a bit and I see the Top 10 going a little differently now.

1 - DET - QB Matthew Stafford
2 - STL - OT Jason Smith
3 - KC - LB Aaron Curry
4 - SEA - OT Eugene Monroe
5 - CLE - WR Michael Crabtree
6 - CIN - OT Andre Smith
7 - OAK - DE Everette Brown
8 - JAX - DT B.J. Raji
9 - GB - DE Brian Orakpo
10 - SF - QB Mark Sanchez

The Bills think Andre Smith is the best OT in the draft irrespective of his weird behavior and flabby gut. Aaron Maybin apparently won’t be the pick. OBD thinks highly of both LB Clay Matthews and TE Brandon Pettigrew. Given that Dick Jauron needs to save his job this season, here's my "no trades" mock draft...

1-11: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State.  Matthews has ‘upside’. That won’t help Jauron, since it will take Matthews time to develop. Pettigrew, by all accounts, is a fairly well-polished all around TE and will be able to step in and play effectively immediately. Besides, the Bills lost games due to offensive ineptitude, not shoddy linebacker play. Yes, Pettigrew is off the board much earlier than his ‘value’ dictates, but Buffalo has been happy to buck conventional wisdom in the past.

1-28: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee.  There is a better chance than some think that Ayers will be available late in the first round. Oher, Freeman, Maualuga, Jenkins, Maclin, Heyward-Bey, Jackson, Maybin, and Jerry figure to round out the Top 20 in some order. Houston is the wild card, as they play a 4-3 and could take Ayers even though they have other needs. After that Philly, Detroit, Atlanta and Indy are the only 4-3 teams standing between Ayers and #28. All of them have bigger needs than DE that they could choose to address instead. If he's gone then Max Unger could be the pick instead.

2-42: William Beatty, OT, Connecticut. The Bills will be drafting 2-3 offensive linemen. If Ayers is gone at #28 and Unger is the pick there then Barwin could be the choice here. It's simply inconceiveable that Buffalo would completely ignore a huge area of need early in the draft. Whatever the order, Buffalo should come away from the first two rounds with a DE and OL.

3-75: Kraig Urbik, OG, Wisconsin. Naturally, if Unger was the pick at No. 28, then Urbik won’t be the pick here. He’s enormous, something Buffalo seems to like in offensive linemen, and should be on the board here. If no DE was taken earlier, then DE Lawrence Sidbury from Richmond would be the guy at  No. 75.

4-110: Michael Hamlin, SS, Clemson. Considering both the quality of the guys manning Buffalo’s FS and SS positions and the fact that they will all be free agents within the next two years makes it important to begin to develop a SS now. Plus, Hamlin should be a demon on special teams.

4-121: Trevor Canfield, OG, Cincinnati. Buffalo needs interior line depth. Butler has missed games each year he has been in the league and Chambers could be recalled to his swing tackle duties if Walker, Bell and/or Beatty go down. Barring injury, Canfield - like Urbik - would have time to develop.

5-147: Nic Harris, LB, Oklahoma. Yes, this pretty much means that Keith Ellison will be starting for yet another season.

6-183: Kevin Ellison, SS, USC. Yes, the Ellison brothers are hitting the town together. Lock up your women and preferably any ball carriers. For a late round flyer the younger Ellison should, if he makes the team, at least help on special teams. Let’s just hope that tackling isn’t a genetic thing…

7-220: Brannan Southerland, FB, Georgia. The Bills, according to Turk Schonert, aren’t going to be using much in the way of a true fullback. Of course, with the Lynch suspension, someone is going to have to carry the ball. Also, having a mammoth offensive line just screams fullback in third and short situations.

Well, it’s not quite as ugly as I thought: TE Pettigrew, DE Ayers, OT Beatty, OG Urbik, SS Hamlin, OG Canfield, LB Harris, SS Ellison and FB Southerland. Of those guys, I see Pettigrew making an immediate impact. Ayers should at least push for significant playing time, though he's not going to solve the pass rush woes. Urbik and Beatty would likely be training camp battles just to see if they could see the field, and everyone else but Southerland would be dedicated special teamers. Better than I thought but not enough.

Relax, though - there's hope.  Head on in past the jump to read "Ron’s Wheelin’ & Dealin 7 round draft", where things get... a bit more interesting.  And lengthy.

Okay, we’ve seen how a draft without trades, so now let’s see what kind of draft the Bills could have with a couple of do-able trades. The Bills have already swung a trade with Philly, sending perpetually petulant Peters packing (alliteration!) for 28 and 121 (plus a 2010 sixth rounder).

The Bills are, as of this writing, set to begin draft day with 11, 28, 42, 75, 110, 121, 147, 183 and 220. However, there are rumors of a Parrish to Pittsburgh deal in the works. Since Buffalo seems willing to move Parrish (and Kelsay, as if anyone would give up anything of value for him) and Pittsburgh is in need of both a WR and return man I'll factor in a pre-draft deal. Most folks seem to think that Parrish should bring a 4th or 5th. I'm going to err on the conservative side of things and send Parrish and 121 to Pittsburgh for 96. On the trade charts that works out to about a mid 4th round selection in terms of cost to Pittsburgh, not an unreasonable asking price. It also doesn't deplete the Steelers' stock of picks. So, after two pre-draft trades (one completed, one just a possibility at this point) the Bills enter the draft with 11, 28, 42, 75, 96, 110, 147, 183 and 220.

The teams at the top of the board have been trying to trade down but have apparently not found many takers--mainly due to the cost of those top 5 picks. I don't see Cincy trading out of #6 given their dire need at OT nor do I see Al Davis passing on DE Brown.

1 - DET - QB Matthew Stafford
2 - STL - OT Jason Smith
3 - KC - LB Aaron Curry
4 - SEA - OT Eugene Monroe
5 - CLE - WR Michael Crabtree
6 - CIN - OT Andre Smith
7 - OAK - DE Everette Brown

The Jags, on the other hand, are in terrific position to drop back (particularly if Henderson is still on the roster) and are reportedly eager to do a deal. With Sanchez and Freeman on the board QB starved teams will make efforts to move up and Jacksonville is going to benefit. With picks to burn and a dire need at QB, Denver outbids everyone and makes Jacksonville an offer Del Rio would be brain dead to refuse: #12 and #48 for #8.

8 - DEN - QB Mark Sanchez
9 - GB - DT BJ Raji
10 - DE - Brian Orakpo

Buffalo’s phone starts ringing mainly because QB Josh Freeman and OT Michael Oher are on the board. Teams like San Diego and Washington want to move up but can only offer their 1st plus a 2010 pick. Jauron tells them he won't be around in 2010 to use the pick if he doesn't get guys to help him win in 2009. The Jets, interested in Freeman but not completely in a panic over the thought of waiting, offer the Bills #17 and #76 for #11 and #110. Tampa Bay, not entirely confident in Griese or Leftwich, offer #19 and #81 for #11. Detroit, wanting Oher to protect Stafford, has the juice to beat those other offers. Needing to also retain a goodly number of early round picks (to offset their lack of 4th and 5th rounders) the Lions offer #20 and #33 for #11 and #75. With Oher not ranked much higher than the OTs left on Buffalo's board and with Pettigrew, Matthews or Ayers certain to be on the board at #20 it's just a question of which deal to take. The Jets offer is quickly dismissed. The Bucs offer gives the Bills an extra third while simultaneously screwing the Jets. The Lions deal, however, is too tempting to pass up.

11 - DET - OT Michael Oher

The Bills now have the No. 20 (Lions deal), No. 28 (Philly - Peters deal), No. 33 (Lions deal), No. 42, No. 96 (Steelers) No. 110, No. 147, No. 183, and No. 220. Freeman is still on the board and Jacksonville, needing WR help and knowing they'll have options later in the round, fields calls from the Jets and Bucs. The Jags take the Jets' offer (17 and 76 for 12 and 107), mainly because the Jets are likely to take a WR if they don't get a QB.

12 - NYJ - QB Josh Freeman
13 - WAS - LB Rey Maualuga
14 - NO - CB Malcolm Jenkins

Philly is right behind Buffalo and knows that the Bills may well take Pettigrew. With their LT position solidified, the Eagles use their 3rd rounder (which Buffalo oddly turned down) and #21 to try to trade up with Houston. The Texans, without gaping holes to fill, are more than happy to add a 3rd rounder for dropping back.

15 - PHI - TE Brandon Pettigrew
16 - SD - DE Tyson Jackson
17 - JAX - WR Jeremy Maclin
18 - DEN - DE Aaron Maybin
19 - TB - DT Peria Jerry

OBD has to be thrilled to see both Ayers and Matthews on the board at #20. Taking a look at the 4-3 teams standing between picks #20 and #28 (Houston, Minny, Atlanta, Indy), the Bills realize that Atlanta (LB), Indy (DT, LB), Houston (G, C) and Minny (OT, C) have more needs to address than DE...and that most of the 3-4 teams need LBs. The Bills pass on Ayers, gambling he'll be on the board at #28 and begin the run on LBs:

20 - BUF - LB Clay Matthews
21 - HOU - LB Brian Cushing
22 - MIN - WR Darrius Heyward-Bey
23 - NE - DE/LB Michael Johnson
Baltimore hops in front of the Dolphins and gets one of the better 3-4 OLB prospects left. With the pick values closing rapidly it only costs the Ravens their 4th rounder.

24 - BAL - DE/LB Larry English
25 - MIA - LB James Laurinaitis
26 - ATL - CB Darius Butler
27 - IND - DT Evander Hood
The Bills are ecstatic to see that Ayers has slid through the 4-3 teams to make it to 28. Houston was the real wild card. Ayers is their kind of DE but Cushing's slide saved the day. If Ayers is taken then Mack or Unger would be a good pick.

28 - BUF - DE Robert Ayers
29 - NYG - WR Percy Harvin
30 - TEN - CB Vontae Davis
31 - ARI - OT Eben Britton
32 - PIT - C/G Max Unger

The second round begins... Buffalo needs offensive line help but has yet to address the TE position. Loadholt has the size the Bills like in linemen but not necessarily the speed and agility. With that in mind:

33 - BUF - OT William Beatty
34 - NE - DT Ron Brace
35 - STL - WR Hakeem Nicks
36 - CLE - LB Clint Sintim
37 - SEA - RB Kwonshon Moreno
38 - CIN - C Eric Wood
39 - JAX - RB Chris Wells
40 - OAK - S Sean Smith
41 - GB - Phil Loadholt

For the fourth time in the day, the Bills are on the clock. Alex Mack is on the board and Buffalo still needs an interior lineman. With Hang penciled in at center and the semi-fragile Butler locked in at one guard spot, the thought of having Mack on the roster is certainly appealing. Giving up 75 in the Detroit trade makes this a painful decision as Buffalo won't be able to get a TE before the end of the third. Nevertheless:

42 - BUF - Alex Mack

At the end of an eventful first day, the Bills have LB Clay Matthews, DE Robert Ayers, OT William Beatty, C/G Alex Mack, 96, 110, 147, 183 and 220.

The next day begins with a couple of minor trades between teams but not anywhere near enough action to keep a guy like Dan Snyder engaged.  A joke is made about taking Derrick Dockery's younger brother Cedric, but an icy stare from Jauron kills that conversation. Christmas cards will not be exchanged. The Bills cool their heels until the last non-compensatory pick in the 3rd.

3-96: Cornelius Ingram, TE, Florida.  OBD reaches back to the Willis McGahee days and plucks a player off the board with a significant injury history. At least we won’t have to see how his knee can swing in both directions during slow motion college highlights every Sunday. The Bills possibly have quite the steal with this pick.

4-110: Jason Watkins, OT, Florida.  Buffalo goes Butler-hunting and takes Ingram's less gimpy teammate. He's no threat to Beatty, Chambers or Bell so if none of them prove to be capable of manning the LT position Trent Edwards is in for a Hobbes type year: brutal, nasty and short.

5-147: Courtney Greene, SS, Rutgers.  Watching Kiper and McShay rip each other new orifices helps the time pass quickly.  The Bills would have preferred not to have put this position off for quite so long. However, the combination of holes on the roster and players available when Buffalo was making selections conspired against taking a safety earlier.

6-183: Brannan Southerland, FB, Georgia.  I think we’d all be happier with Quinn Johnson and if he’s on the board he should be the pick. However, I think there’s a pretty good chance that he’ll be taken with one of those compensatory picks at the end of the 5th round. There’s a good chance Southerland would be available in the seventh, but if he’s a guy Buffalo wants, why chance it? The re-signing of the ineffective McIntyre suggests Buffalo isn't done with FB after all.

7-220: Lendy Holmes, S, Oklahoma.  Brian’s story about the entire safety corps becoming free agents inside of two years convinced me. Well, that and the fact that Buffalo hasn’t gotten terrific play from the guys on the roster.

So there it is, sports fans and people with nothing better to do than read this. I tried to err on the conservative side of things in terms of types of trades and trade value that Buffalo might receive. I also selected players who should be on the board when Buffalo picks.

LB Clay Matthews, DE Robert Ayers, OT William Beatty, C/G Alex Mack, TE Cornelius Ingram, OT Jason Watkins, SS Courtney Green, FB Brannan Southerland and FS Lendy Holmes… that sounds quite a bit better than the no trades version. At the very least, Ellison is riding the pine and six of the nine picks figure to see playing time beyond special teams. Rip away!