The 2016 NFL Combine is taking place this week (and this weekend) in Indianapolis, and much like every other Buffalo Bills fan out there mulling the first Bills first-round pick in 24 months, I'm coming down with a rollicking case of draft fever.
As much as possible, I defer to Dan Lavoie when it comes to draft-related content published here, as he puts in far more work than I do evaluating players. But I'm not a perfect man, and that means that I have draft opinions to foist upon the masses this fine Tuesday morning.
The list below contains the names of 19 prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft. You've heard of all of them. They are listed in the order that, if available, I would like to see the Bills prioritize them. This list isn't final - the draft is still two months away, after all - so I'm treating it more as the 19 prospects I am most interested in seeing perform at the Combine this weekend.
- Myles Jack, LB, UCLA: Rare athleticism and range at a highly important position that, more and more, requires a unique skill set.
- Jalen Ramsey, S, Florida State: Elite ball skills and athleticism, plus positional versatility, equals a likely transcendent player at the pro level.
- Noah Spence, ER, Eastern Kentucky: The best pass rusher in the draft only needs to check out off the field to go early.
- DeForest Buckner, DL, Oregon: Disruptive, prototypical build, and versatile enough to play any technique in any gap. All of that is highly valued.
- Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame: Only his likely early unavailability due to injury knocks him out of the Top 3 on my list.
- Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi: Would walk into the starting lineup for the Bills, but will be long gone by the time they pick.
- Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama: Lacks elite athleticism, but is a tone-setter with upside that should start in the league for a long time.
- Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State: He's not the most explosive edge rusher you'll ever find, but Bosa's a clean prospect, and he'll play in the league for a long time.
- Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State: Might best fit into a more traditional 4-3, but Lee's athleticism makes him a fit in any system.
- Sheldon Rankins, DL, Louisville: Disruptive interior pass rusher from a program that the Bills think highly of.
- A'Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama: Strong run defender with ideal size and upside as a pass rusher, and a likely immediate starter.
- Leonard Floyd, ER, Georgia: Has upside as a pass rusher, plus the athleticism to offer some different skills as a hybrid outside 'backer.
- Kevin Dodd, ER, Clemson: If any NFL coach has the connections to suss out whether this guy is just a one-year wonder, it's Rex Ryan.
- Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State: Right tackle that could also play guard, and possesses the perfect demeanor and skill for Buffalo's run-happy offense.
- Jarran Reed, DL, Alabama: Less disruptive than some of his peers, but Reed will walk into a starting lineup as a quality run defender.
- Vernon Butler, DL, Louisiana Tech: Parlaying a strong Senior Bowl into soaring draft stock. His versatility will serve him well.
- Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Mississippi: Immense physical gifts outweighed by off-field concerns and lackluster college production.
- Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State: When have we ever known the Bills to not prioritize long, athletic cornerbacks with untapped potential?
- Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson: Another Clemson product, this one doesn't have much on his CV, but has the physical skills to start for a long time.
Any bones to pick with this list, Bills fans?