Hello, Buffalo Rumblings. Welcome to today's Morning Joe!
For today's Joe, I decided to mix it up a little bit. I didn't want you all to think that I'm just a guy who only talks about controversial topics all the time. I like to think that I'm pretty well versed, and that I can do little bit of everything.
Today, I'll be talking about the NFL Draft, which is a topic that I hardly ever discuss. I don't talk about it for a few reasons, but the main reason is that I just don't have the time to break down the film for all these college players, which makes it really hard for me to form an educated opinion. Instead, I rely on the experts on this site (DanRoc) and others to kind of give me a general idea of which players I should pay a closer attention to, and from there I rely on my football IQ to evaluate talent.
Prior to the combine, I reached out to my good Twitter friend Joe Marino (@TheJoeMarino), who is the assistant editor at buffalobilsdraft.com. He's a guy whose opinion I trust, and that I often agree with when it comes to player evaluations. So I asked Joe to give me a list of prospects that the Bills should or may consider in this year's draft. I wanted him to focus on the mid to late round guys, because these are the building blocks of a great team. Just ask Seattle.
So I'm going to give you the list of guys and include a basic overview that I got from NFL.com, provide you with a highlight video, and of course my opinion. I's hard to draw an informed opinion on a highlight reel, but do the best you can, and hopefully you can let me know what you think.
Check out the NFL Draft tracker for more details.
WR Allen Hurns, Miami
6'3", 195, 4.55 40, 14 reps, 31 vertical, 10ft broad, 7.23 cone
Projected Round: 6-7
Finished career at Miami seventh in school history with 121 receptions and 1,891 yards.
2013: Second-team All-ACC. Played all 13 games, starting 11. Led team in receptions (62) and yards (1,162). Second on team with 6 TD grabs. 1,162 receiving yards is a school record.
2012: Played 11 games, starting 8. Had 28 catches for 314 yards. Tied for team lead with 4 TDs.
2011: Played all 12 games, starting 7. Finished third on team in catches (31) and yards (415). 2010: Played 9 games, mostly on special teams. High School: Three-star recruit (Rivals) out of Florida.
As soon as I turned on the tape, I noticed his size. He's not that tall, but he has long legs and is pretty solid at 198 pounds. For that size, you will like for him to have a little bit more speed, but he's fast enough to get behind a secondary. As I continued to watch the film, he can definitely be a Keenan Allen type. A guy who isn't overly fast, but is a good route runner, and a catcher of the football. He's not overly agile, so he's not going to make many people miss in the open field, as his speed is more straight-lined. He didn't seem to shy away from contact while coming across the middle, but that's not his game. He will be a good outside wide receiver, who can beat you deep, get the jump balls, and can be relied upon to catch the occasional curl route. Because of his smaller upper body, he might struggle against press coverage, so working on his release and having a guy like Stevie can be beneficial. Because the WR position is so deep this year, the Bills may be more inclined to wait to draft a WR this year. If developed properly, Hurns can be a good find in the later rounds.
TE Crocket Gilmore, Col. St
6'6", 260, 4.89 40, 33.5 vertical, 10ft broad, 7.42 cone
Projected Round: 7-undrafted
2013: First-team All-Mountain West. Started all 14 games. Caught 47 passes for 577 yards, 2 TDs.
2012: Played in 11 games. Finished with 19 receptions, 263 yards, 2 TDs.
2011: Second-team All-MWC. Led team in receptions (45), receiving yards (468) and TD catches (4). Moved to TE 9 days before spring game. Started all 12 games.
2010: Converted to DE before opener, filling an injury void. Played 11 games. Had 11 tackles, 1 sack. High School: First-team all-district as both a WR and DE. Won 34 of 38 games over final 3 seasons. Caught a school-record 22 TDs as a senior.
I see a guy who has really good size, especially for the TE position. A willing blocker in the run game, and has the knack for finding the open areas in zone coverage. He's not going to blow you away athletically like an Eric Ebron on Austin Seferian-Jenkins, but he's good enough. Because of his size, he can win some battles against smaller defensive backs, but will struggle getting open and gaining separation in man coverage. I did notice that he had a tendency to round off-routes, and drop a few easy passes, this is something he's need to work on at the next level. If drafted by the Bills, I can see him battling it out with Lee Smith as the "blocking" TE, but have a more of an upside in the passing game. If we choose not to take a TE early in the draft, he might be worth a look as an un-drafted free agent.
LB Derrell Johnson, ECU
6'1", 248, 4.79 40, (No Combine invite; Pro Day 27 Mar)
Projected Round: 7-undrafted
Two-time second-team All-Conference USA (2013, '12). Started 49 of 50 games in 4 years (including 11 of 12 games as true freshman). 15.0 sacks in last two seasons.
2013: Second-team All-Conference USA. Started all 13 games. Led team with 8.0 sacks, 14.0 TFL, 9 QBH, Tied for lead with 80 tackles. 2.0 sacks at Marshall.
2012: Second-team All-Conference USA. Started all 13 games. Led team in sacks (7.0), TFL (11.0), FRs (2) and QBH (8).
2011: Started all 12 games. Forced fumbles in back-to-back games vs. UAB, Virginia Tech. 2010: Played in 12 games, starting 11 as true freshman.
High School: 150 tackles as a senior. Named to All-Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association team. Misc: Brother, Durand, is a forward on the University of Pittsburgh basketball team.
Your classic 3-4 rush outside linebacker. He shows some good pass rushing skills, and good hand placement as he disengages from offensive line men in the run game. He demonstrates that initial pop that you like for from your pass rushers. Has a really high motor and shows good instincts. At 6'1", he does lack the ideal height and length that you would want from your pass rusher, and at times he seem to struggle with bringing down the ball carrier, so upper body strength may be an issue. In our old defense, this guy could be a great late round find, as he's the hybrid player that we often sought. He can stand up or put his hands in the ground. Like Jerry Hughes, he shouldn't be asked to play in coverage because it isn't his game, but he won't be a complete liability either. If the Bills decide not to extend Hughes at the end of the season, because the price tag might be too high, we might want to consider using a pick on Johnson as the skill sets are eerily similar.
RB Antonio Andrews, WKU
5'10", 225, 4.82 40, 20 Reps, 29.5 vertical, 9ft broad, 7.42 cone
Projected Round 6-7
Led nation in all-purpose yards each of last two seasons. Two-time first-team All-Sun Belt (2012-13) selection.
2013: Was a Doak Walker Award finalist (given to nation's best running back). Started all 12 games. Broke his own school record with 1,730 rush yards. Led nation for second consecutive season in all-purpose yards with 2,619. Most all-purpose yards in two-year span in NCAA history (5,780).
2012: Broke school record with 1,728 rush yards. Led nation with 3,161 all-purpose yards ... that's the second-most all-purpose yards in a season in NCAA history (Barry Sanders had 3,249 yards in Heisman season of 1988).
2011: Played in eight games. 2010: Joined team in fall camp after transferring from Air Force Prep. Played in nine games. High school: Was Mr. Football in state of Kentucky as a senior. His teams went 29-0 in final two seasons while playing quarterback.
I saw a guy who can do it all. Run, catch, return, block, you name it Andrews can do it. If you judge him solely on his athletic numbers, you're making a huge mistake. He shows great balance and vision while making his cuts. He is your classic one cut running back; put one foot in the ground and get north and south. If I had had to compare his running style, it would be to a Alfred Morris as they are built similarly. Even though Andrews is built like a power back, he isn't. He's a guy who is better suited in a zone-block scheming, similar to what Houston ran last year. The Bills have zone-blocking principals in their run game, and a guy like Andrews can be great add as the RB position in Buffalo may look totally different at the end of the season.
Okay Bills fans, let me know what you think. Should I just stick the controversial pieces?