With the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft in the books and the trade front quiet, Buffalo Bills fans are going to see their team's first selection this evening, with the No. 50 overall pick. While most of the first round went as expected, there are still a number of intriguing prospects filling up the board heading into the second round. Bills GM Doug Whaley is not averse to taking calculated risks when he feels confident in the results. Will one of these talented players strike the Bills' fancy tonight?
- La'el Collins, OT, LSU
- Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
- Randy Gregory, ER, Nebraska
These are the players who look great on the field, but have teams concerned with their lives off the field. Collins was caught up in a murder case involving an ex-girlfriend days before the draft, and is being brought in for questioning, though he is not considered a suspect. Green-Beckham had a history of domestic violence and drug usage that led to his dismissal at Missouri, and he spent a year on the bench at Oklahoma before entering the draft. Gregory failed the Combine drug test, after reportedly failing multiple drug tests during his college career.
While the circumstances are different in each case, NFL teams were concerned enough about these players to save their picks for one round. Will the Bills think differently about one of these players?
- Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
- Bryce Petty, QB, UCLA
- T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
- Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
- Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (OH)
These players have the athleticism to become an effective NFL starter, but haven't quite put the technique together yet. Hundley played in an offense that limited his ability to audible and adjust plays pre-snap. Petty's offense was based on timing throws and simple reads, and he needs to seriously improve his footwork. Clemmings may be the most physically gifted tackle prospect in the draft, but he was a right tackle this season, is new to the offensive side of the ball, and has a slew of technical flaws to his game. Collins shows flashes of being a strong cornerback, but the footwork and his route-tracking could use improvement. Rollins only converted to football as a senior after four years playing point guard for his basketball team. He showed good improvement over the course of one year, but there are things that could be worked on.
An NFL team selecting one of these players would have to bank on them being able to develop their talent into properly integrated technique. Does Whaley think one of them can do it?
- Carl Davis, DT, Iowa
- Mario Edwards, Jr., DT, Florida State
- Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
- Clive Walford, TE, Miami (FL)
These are the players who may not jive with every team because they can be tough to motivate, on or off the field. Davis looked capable of being a first-round pick on many plays last season, but he would also offer long stretches of quiet play. Edwards is athletic enough to be a dominant lineman, but too often seemed content to let the play happen in front of him. Will a team be able to get those players to make a consistent impact?
While Williams and Walford aren't considered to be lazy players, both were knocked recently by scouts for having arrogant, me-first attitudes, especially when criticized. Any team considering them, including the Bills, will have to decide if they can corral the behavior and get them to buy into the team spirit.
- Devin Funchess, TE, Michigan
- Eric Rowe, CB, Utah
These players may not have a defined position in the NFL. Funchess was designated as a tight end for most of his college career, but rarely blocked, and was essentially a full-time receiver. He's too skinny to be a tight end, and too slow to be a wide receiver. Rowe spent time at both safety and corner in college, and teams might be looking to convert him one way or the other.
If the Bills want one of these players, they have to weigh the risks of a position switch. Will Funchess lose even more explosion if he bulks up to play tight end? Do they keep Rowe at cornerback, where he still hasn't learned all his technique, or convert him back to safety, and risk confusing him with the transition?
- Jordan Phillips, DT, Oklahoma
- Owamagbe Odighizuwa, ER, UCLA
These players have enormous potential, if teams can get behind their lingering injury concerns. Phillips is a massive nose tackle with the fluidity of a much smaller man. He also had a back injury that required surgery in 2013. Back injuries can linger on big guys, and that has teams justifiably concerned. Odighizuwa is fast, explosive, and powerful, but he missed the entire 2013 season after having both of his hips surgically repaired.
- Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA
- Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon
- Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State
- Xavier Cooper, DT, Washington State
- Ali Marpet, OG, Hobart
- A.J. Cann, OG, South Carolina
This last list is a sort of catch-all for the little things people will use to push a player down a board. Kendricks is too small, being built closer to a safety than a linebacker. So are Fisher and Bennett, both on the skinny side for their size. Cooper is productive, but has very short arms. Marpet played Division III, and needs to adjust to the pro game. Cann was an effective, but not very athletic blocker, and is a pure guard.
As Whaley said about this year's quarterback class, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." There are a lot of talented players on the board (including some not mentioned here). Do you see someone worth taking a risk on? Who do you want to see Buffalo select with their first pick tonight?