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Who are your 2019 NFL Draft crushes?

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If the Bills draft [PLAYER NAME] you’ll be over the moon.

The 2019 NFL Draft is only a week away, and after three months of news about the incoming rookie class, everyone has an opinion about the players in the group. That includes the draft “crushes”, the players you think will be a star (or you don’t think the Buffalo Bills should pass up). The Buffalo Rumblings staff has shared their crushes below. Add yours in the comments!

Dan Lavoie

Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State

For me, this is a no-brainer of a choice, including in the first round. Otherworldly size and catch radius. 4.48 speed and 10’8” broad jump that easily demonstrate rare athletic ability, production that completely dominated his team’s receiving this year, and no significant injury history. He was a supreme deep threat, capable of “Moss”-ing defensive backs on the regular, and impossible to tackle in space. Butler is my #1 receiver this year and a top-ten player on my board.

Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

I’m a sucker for disruptive, athletic defensive tackles. Oliver is the newest model. Let’s review: at 6’2” and 281 lbs, he benched 225 lbs 32 times. He had a 36” vertical jump (same distance as Mr. Butler above). 4.73 40-yard dash with a blazing 1.63 ten-yard split. 7.15 three-cone drill (in the same neighborhood as Aaron Donald). And this guy was a three-time first-team All-American, and an Outland Trophy winner, who notched 53 TFLs in three seasons while playing out of position at nose tackle. Put him on the line and let him wreak havoc.

Foster Moreau, TE, LSU

Anytime a player has a “why are the coaches misusing him” article written, I sit up and take notice that we may have a diamond in the rough. This is a leader who wore the vaunted number 18 for the Tigers. Also to wear it: our own Tre’Davious White. At the Combine, he was the most athletic tight end not named Noah Fant or T.J. Hockenson. He has plenty of experience as a run blocker, but I think there’s untapped potential in the passing game due to his (lack of) usage at LSU. If you’re working with the second- and third-tier tight ends from this draft, Moreau might be a fifth-round steal.

Anthony Marino

Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State

It is a bit rare in this draft that a prospect at wide receiver has the college production, measurables, and testing results of Hakeem Butler. When you combine this with the comparisons to A.J. Green, and I can not figure out how so many project him as a second round pick. While I am not even close to being a draft expert - I put plenty of stock in the opinion of guys such as Greg Cosell of NFL Films and Josh Norris from Rotoworld. Both Cosell and Norris see Butler as the top wide receiver in the class, and I would love to see what he could do with Josh Allen as his quarterback.

Sean Murphy

Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State

Count me in on Butler, who I think is just going to be an absolute star in the league for all of the reasons Dan and Anthony listed above. Butler’s size (6’5” and 227 lbs) combined with that otherworldly athleticism make him a must-have for me. While nine might be too high, waiting until 40 might be too long, and while I’m not much for trading up in most cases, if the Buffalo Bills can move up from 40 to secure Butler, I’d be all for it.

David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State

While we’re talking about Cyclones, here’s my other crush from the great Midwest. While he may not be the athletic specimen that some of his counterparts are, he has the vision, toughness, and patience to excel as a runner at the NFL level. Some scouts worry about his workload, as he has carried the ball 515 times over the last two seasons, but at 21 years old, he has plenty of mileage left. In terms of someone who would fit the system and the “type” of a Brandon Beane-era Bills running back, you can’t find a much better fit than Montgomery, who prioritizes keeping the offense on time over making splash plays.

Derrek Thomas, CB, Baylor

I’m going to go way out on a limb here, because this is a guy with limited tape and experience at his position. However, he has a rare combination of size and speed for a corner, standing at 6’3” and 189 pounds with a 4.44-second forty-yard dash. Head coach Sean McDermott is a former defensive back, as is defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, and neither coach will shy away from trying to help Thomas, a wide receiver-turned-corner after transferring to the Bears from Temple, reach his greatest potential. Thomas had 21 tackles, an interception, and seven pass breakups in his 12 games at corner during the 2018 season. As a flier in the sixth or seventh round, I’d be thrilled with Buffalo taking a chance on the big, athletic corner.

Andrew Griffin

Greg Dortch, WR, Wake Forest

It’s hard to get noticed on the football field when you’re 5’7” and 175 lbs, but despite that handicap, Dortch was one of the most productive receivers in the ACC. He’s deadly from the slot, his routing is superb and he has decent enough speed to be a weapon in the return game. Most of all, he’s physical. Dortch is destined to be a Day 3 pick, but my bet is for him to be a useful weapon, wherever he gets drafted.

Matt Warren

Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

I don’t watch a lot of college football, so I don’t have a long list of crushes. I’ll keep this short and sweet. Oliver can do so much for the Bills’ pass rush. I’m a big believer in generating pass rush from the defensive tackle spot and there is a hole there for the Bills. Oliver is so talented. I’d love to see him next to Star Lotulelei.

I discuss this a bit more at the start of this week’s Rumblings Q&A Podcast, which I’ve embedded below.