Round 2 of the 2015 NFL Draft begins tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET, and after taking the first round off, the Buffalo Bills are scheduled to make two picks this evening.
We already know what the team's top needs are, and now that the first 32 picks are officially in the books, it's time to start talking about the players that Buffalo might seriously consider with their No. 50 overall pick this evening. With a spot of help from Dan Lavoie (who was basically my "this list isn't terrible, right?" sounding board), these are the Top 18 names on my radar tonight regarding the Bills' second-round pick. The goal was simple: find the 18 players that would either fill a need along the offensive line, defensive line, or at tight end, and if that fails, pick out other players at premium positions whose value is simply too difficult to ignore.
Oh, and before you ask: yes, even though this board has 18 names on it, it would still make a lot of sense for the Bills to try to find a way to trade down. Unless one of the top three or four names on the list slides into their laps, at any rate.
1. Randy Gregory, ER, Nebraska
A Top-10 edge rushing talent, Gregory fell into the second round due to a lengthy list of off-field issues, which culminated with a failed drug test at the Combine. He's a character risk, and his game isn't perfect, but a pass rusher as talented as Gregory could be utterly dominant playing for Rex Ryan.
2. T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh
Read this, then try to tell me that Clemmings wouldn't thrive in Buffalo's run-first offense. The former defensive lineman is raw, but he's supremely athletic and capable of playing right away - especially if they start him at guard, eyeing a future permanent move to right tackle.
3. Eddie Goldman, DL, Florida State
Buffalo needs a two-gapping run plugger for their base defense, and Goldman (6'4", 336 pounds) has what it takes to be a top-tier run defender at the NFL level. The presence of a true nose tackle would also let the Bills' coaching staff be a bit more creative with Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams.
4. Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon
Fisher has the ability to play either the left or the right side in the NFL, and in the Bills' offensive scheme in particular. I think he would immediately supplant Seantrel Henderson as the Bills' second tackle of choice, and he has a bit of versatility, which could help them in their efforts to field the best five blockers they can.
5. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Oklahoma
Talent is too difficult to ignore in the second round, even if it comes in risky packaging, and even if it's a product that you don't necessarily need. Green-Beckham has a chance to be special, and the Bills lack exactly his breed of receiver (tall, long, and fast) on their current depth chart.
6. Carl Davis, DL, Iowa
Same rationale as Goldman above, just with a more frustrating prospect: Davis (6'4", 321 pounds) can play multiple positions on the line, and is a great gap-clogger when he wants to be, but there are major consistency issues with effort. You'd better believe Ryan thinks he can abate those.
7. Jordan Phillips, DL, Oklahoma
Another massive defensive lineman (6'5", 329 pounds). Again, same thing: the gap-clogging foil to the current interior defensive linemen. Phillips has enormous upside, but he's also a bit raw, having only played two seasons in college. He can contribute right away, and also be groomed as an heir apparent.
8. Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
Tall, long, fast cornerbacks are always valued early in the draft. Collins, much like current Bills corner Ron Brooks, was buried behind elite talent during his career at LSU. Unlike Brooks, Collins has starting potential in the NFL. He'll likely be snapped up quickly this evening.
9. Landon Collins, S, Alabama
Safety should not be a big priority for the Bills, but Collins is a rock-solid prospect that can play center field and support the run. He's not a matchup cover guy like either of the Bills' projected starting safeties, but in a versatile sub-package role, he could contribute right away as a rookie.
10. P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State
Another tall, long, fast cornerback, and he is skilled. He also has a recent DUI arrest to his name that knocked him out of the first round, so there's a touch of buyer beware here. But there are much bigger character risks, even on this list, and Williams projects as a future starter.
11. Eli Harold, ER, Virginia
Harold is a productive, albeit not especially athletic or dynamic, edge defender that would play a rotational role as a rookie in Buffalo. He's talented enough to produce in that role as a rookie, spelling Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes on the edges of Ryan's defense.
12. A.J. Cann, OG, South Carolina
Widely regarded as the best guard prospect in the draft (even though Laken Tomlinson was selected in the first round), Cann would likely be a plug-and-play starter for the Bills, at whichever guard spot Richie Incognito isn't occupying. There isn't much positional value here, but Cann is just a good football player that makes a weak area better.
13. Nate Orchard, ER, Utah
Much like Harold, Orchard is an athletically limited, somewhat overachieving edge defender that would add some pass-rushing ability and production that is lacking from the Bills' current end/linebacker depth chart. He wouldn't have a huge role as a rookie, but playing a premium position, he'd still offer value.
14. Devin Funchess, TE, Michigan
The Bills need tight end depth, but Funchess is a bit of an odd situation - he's half flex end, half size receiver, and won't offer much in the way of blocking. Still, he can be moved around the alignment and gives the Bills a receiving dimension they lack, so they could do worse.
15. Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
Williams is more of a traditional tight end than Funchess is, though there are some character concerns, and he's still not going to be a top-notch blocker. He offers more upside there, and similar receiving ability, though he is not as fluid in space as Funchess is.
16. Donovan Smith, OT, Penn State
There isn't as much upside, or even immediate return, with Smith as with the three offensive linemen listed ahead of him, but he's a big, powerful blocker with guard-tackle versatility, and that type of player is going to be high on Buffalo's list this year. Drafted early, he would likely be expected to start.
17. Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State
McKinney is intriguing. He's not the best athlete, and wouldn't necessarily contribute on passing downs. But he's physical and instinctive, and has enough size (6'4", 246) and length to plausibly offer some strong-side versatility in Ryan's hybrid fronts. That could boost his attractiveness at a position the Bills don't have an urgent need to address.
18. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
Quarterback is the big wild card for the Bills going into this evening, and Petty remains the name that is most frequently connected with the team on that front. It would not be surprising if he's gone by the time the Bills pick. It also would not be surprising if the Bills were blowing a little smoke. But he's a talented passer, and worth keeping in mind.