With the Buffalo Bills officially eliminated from the postseason (again), fans will be playing out the string trying to balance the feel-good nature of a couple meaningless wins (including potential growth from young players) against the desire to lose enough games that the team might be in position to select a talented player in the 2016 NFL Draft.
The Bills' loss to the Washington Redskins dropped them to 6-8 on the season, but a large clump of mediocre teams are pushing Buffalo down in the draft order. They're currently slotted at No. 17 overall, and would have ranked 19th (where they were placed last week) with a win. Five teams currently "win" a tiebreaker against Buffalo based on strength of schedule, 11 additional teams have fewer wins than Buffalo, and six of those (potentially seven, if Detroit loses tonight) already have the potential for 10 or more losses. Thus, don't expect to see Buffalo placed in the Top 10 of the draft this year, like they were after 6-10 seasons in 2012 and 2013.
SB Nation's Dan Kadar published a 2016 NFL mock draft on Monday, slotting USC linebacker Su'a Cravens to Buffalo:
17. Buffalo Bills: Su'a Cravens, S/LB, Southern California
Cravens is a do-it-all prospect on defense, capable of playing near the line of scrimmage as a linebacker and dropping in coverage as a safety. With that type of versatility, Cravens would give Rex Ryan a useful chip to use all over the field.
Cravens is an intriguing 6'1", 225-pound defensive swiss army knife. He has excellent fluidity, and effectively covers in both man and zone coverages. While he's not built to take on blocks, he uses active hands to disengage from opponents and make plays. He doesn't quite have the timing and burst of Duke safety Jeremy Cash, but he's a more complete defender. In Buffalo, he could replace Nigel Bradham, or take over a role as an in-the-box safety.