With the regular season officially over and 20 of the NFL's teams watching the playoffs with the rest of us, it's about time for one of the most love-hate traditions of the NFL offseason to begin: mock drafts.
The Bills are locked into the No. 19 overall pick (unless Doug Whaley trades it, of course), and we have several months to speculate about how the team can improve its roster and where those improvements may come from. Free agency comes first, but in the meantime, it's the duty of professional and amateur analysts everywhere to attempt to award Buffalo college prospects in a hypothetical draft scenario.
We've already seen a couple mock drafts from SB Nation's Dan Kadar this year, and he published a new iteration on Monday, featuring a player change for Buffalo:
19. Buffalo Bills: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
Buffalo will go into the offseason likely needing a five-technique defensive lineman. Ideally a player like Nkemdiche will slide this far, but that may not happen. If not, Lawson would be a smart pickup. He's a big end who plays with enough strength to handle two gaps.
The reasoning for selecting Lawson is a little noteworthy. While Lawson is, indeed, a strong defensive end who rushes the passer well with power and great hand technique, his 6'3", 270-pound frame isn't quite ideal for the five-technique role, where he would replace the 6'6", 290-pound Mario Williams.
He's also not exactly fluid enough to drop into coverage the way Jerry Hughes has demonstrated this season, although he still moves well in space against the run. Lawson suffered a knee injury playing in the semifinal game against Oklahoma, and is questionable to play in the championship versus Alabama one week from tonight.