Our turn to pick for the Buffalo Bills in the annual SB Nation NFL Writers' Mock Draft has come. After consulting with our resident NFL Draft expert, Dan Lavoie, on the matter, we announced just a few minutes ago that the No. 50 overall pick in our 2015 NFL mock draft has been used on Texas A&M offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi.
You can read the pick - and most importantly, grade it - as well as read Dan's scouting report on Ogbuehi from last month - you can click through to those stories in the fancy little box over there on your right. But if you're looking for a (slightly) deeper dive into the reasoning behind our selection, this post is the place to be.
It is, of course, important to start with availability. There were already 49 players that we couldn't pick, and their names (broken up by position) are below.
- QB (2): Jameis Winston (TB), Marcus Mariota (TEN)
- RB (3): Todd Gurley (MIA), Melvin Gordon (BAL), Jay Ajayi (JAC)
- WR (8): Kevin White (NYJ), Amari Cooper (STL), DeVante Parker (CLE), Dorial Green-Beckham (TEN), Jaelen Strong (OAK), Nelson Agholor (MIN), Breshad Perriman (SF), Phillip Dorsett (MIA)
- TE (2): Maxx Williams (CHI), Clive Walford (KC)
- OT (7): La'el Collins (WAS), Brandon Scherff (NYG), T.J. Clemmings (SD), Andrus Peat (KC), Jake Fisher (PHI), D.J. Humphries (DET), Ereck Flowers (CAR)
- G/C (3): Cameron Erving (TB), A.J. Cann (STL), Arie Kouandjio (NO)
- DL (8): Leonard Williams (OAK), Danny Shelton (CHI), Malcom Brown (SF), Preston Smith (ARI), Arik Armstead (DEN), Eddie Goldman (IND), Carl Davis (NE), Jordan Phillips (CLE)
- ER (8): Vic Beasley (JAC), Randy Gregory (ATL), Dante Fowler Jr. (NO), Alvin Dupree (HOU), Shane Ray (CLE), Eli Harold (WAS), Owamagbe Odighizuwa (NYG), Trey Flowers (SD)
- LB (3): Shaq Thompson (GB), Denzel Perryman (NO), Eric Kendricks (NYJ)
- CB (4): Trae Waynes (MIN), Marcus Peters (PIT), Kevin Johnson (DAL), Eric Rowe (ATL)
- S (1): Landon Collins (CIN)
Dan and I went into the decision with a pretty open mind regarding positional need; nearly every area was concerned, if only from a best-player-available standpoint, and ultimately five positions were very seriously considered. Our deliberations began right as the picks in the 40s started to roll in, and two players that we were interested in - A.J. Cann and Jordan Phillips - were quickly gobbled up. Another target, Clive Walford, went one pick before us to Kansas City.
We'll get to the pick, Ogbuehi, in a minute, but let's talk through some of the other guys we passed up on (in no particular order).
- Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA: Yes, quarterback was considered. I deferred to Dan on which one we'd take, and he sided with Hundley's upside. Dan actually lobbied pretty hard to pick Hundley outright - Dan Kadar wanted that to happen very badly, too, for the record - but ultimately, given the "win now" vibe surrounding this team and the presence of two project quarterbacks on the roster, we couldn't justify spending a top pick on a guy that had no chance to contribute in 2015, and maybe not even beyond that.
- Henry Anderson, DT, Stanford: This is a guy that Bills fans should be talking about. He's a good football player, and would immediately fill a need for a rotational, run-down player in Rex Ryan's base defense. He's also a nice athletic foil to the team's existing defensive linemen, and would work in conjunction with them nicely. Ultimately, however, we passed on Anderson because he didn't offer as much upside as some of the other players.
- Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut and Jalen Collins, CB, LSU: Cornerback was the position that offered the best value. Only four had been selected in the first 49 picks, and both Jones and Collins are long, fast athletes with good skills and big-time starting potential down the line. Jones would have been the pick had we gone cornerback, and to be honest, it was quite difficult to turn a prospect like him down; he projects into Ryan's defense exceedingly well, and the Bills are not as depth-flush in the defensive backfield as we'd like, especially in the next year or two.
Walford would have been tough to pass up on were he there, and even with Cann gone, a guard - Laken Tomlinson - was still seriously considered. Ultimately, we didn't see plug-and-play value in any of the guard prospects available, so they fell off of the short list pretty quickly. One name I wish we'd spent more time discussing: Utah pass rusher Nate Orchard. He didn't really factor into the decision at all, but he should have. Still, it's doubtful that we'd have taken him over Ogbuehi, who was our clear top choice when the time came to submit a pick.
Cordy Glenn is a free agent next year. Seantrel Henderson undeniably has the ability to improve, but was subpar as a full-time starter last year. There's little to nothing to go on regarding Cyrus Kouandjio, and we have now exhausted the meaningful extent of the Bills' tackle depth chart. Ogbuehi is looking at a redshirt year - there's a chance he could be back before the end of the 2015 season, but that shouldn't be counted on - but as a prospect, he is talented enough to walk into Buffalo's starting lineup in 2016, at either tackle spot (or perhaps even guard). Given the thrust of the offense being installed, that was simply something that we could not pass up.
I would imagine that most critics of this pick would cite the lack of 2015 impact as reason to ding it, and that's fair. But without any plug-and-play starters left along the line - 10 linemen had already been picked by the time we were up - and only small roles up for grabs otherwise, we opted to fill a need over the long-haul with a bona fide Round 1 talent. Had we made it into the third round and been able to pick, we'd have fairly easily been able to fill one of those other roles up for grabs.
What do you think of our pick of Ogbuehi as a future Bills starting tackle? Let us know in the comments.