2012 NFL Draft: Buffalo Bills Should Consider These 6 in the First Round
After tasting success in the first few games of the regular season, the Bills sputtered to the finish line and showed that they were only a piece or two away from garnering a wild card spot.
A weaker AFC makes the time right for the Bills to take a difference maker in Round 1 and plug him into a playoff-bound roster.
While it's only February, I've narrowed the list down to six players that the Bills should consider drafting in the first round.
Of these six, where will Alshon Jeffery fall? Read ahead to find out.
6. DE Whitney Mercilus
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Leading off the list, the Bills could look at true 4-3 defensive end Whitney Mercilus.
Mercilus is a good player who has a nose for the quarterback and would be a big-time acquisition with the 10th pick.
I expect the Illinois defensive end to open some eyes at the scouting combine and catapult his draft stock into the Top 15.
He is at the bottom of the list right now for potential Bills picks, but he could move up before the draft.
5. QB Ryan Tannehill
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As far off as this may be, we all are aware how quarterbacks' stocks can catapult in the days leading up to the draft.
Tannehill would be a nice fit in Chan Gailey's offense and, at the least, would inspire incumbent Ryan Fitzpatrick to work hard.
The Bills need to find their franchise quarterback, and while Fitzpatrick will be a good stopgap for the next few years, he is not a long-term answer.
If Tannehill can refine his talents and be a consistent player, he will be a 10-year starter at the quarterback position for the Bills.
4. CB Dre Kirkpatrick
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I have some concerns about Kirkpatrick's maturity after he was caught with marijuana, and I have to wonder whether or not he'd be a justifiable selection here.
No one is doubting Kirkpatrick's ability to be a shutdown corner, and if the Bills don't get Stanford Routt this could be a serious possibility.
Buffalo has a somewhat unresolved situation at cornerback and bringing in this Alabama defensive back would serve to quell this quagmire.
I'm sure that Bills brass will look into this player, but I'm not expecting this to actually happen.
3. WR Alshon Jeffery
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It seems like Jeffery's draft stock is plummeting day by day, but I count myself as one of those who still believe in the South Carolina wideout.
He is big and strong with the ability to go up and make the big play—we could be looking at Brandon Marshall 2.0 here.
This may not be the smartest pick for the Bills, but it would definitely be one of the flashiest.
If Stevie Johnson leaves and the Bills can't reel in one of Dwyane Bowe, Marques Colston or Vincent Jackson, this move becomes a lot more realistic.
2. OT Jonathan Martin
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I could have put Reilly Reiff here, but I grade Martin as the better pass-blocker and the Bills certainly need one.
With no guarantee that Demetrius Bell will return, it would be in the team's best interest to spend a pick on an offensive lineman.
Even if Bell does come back, starting Martin (who is better than Erik Pears right now) on the right side isn't a crime.
Martin is a good, reliable blocker who can hold up the pocket for Fitzpatrick and make opposing defenders have a rough go of getting after the quarterback.
1. OLB/DE Courtney Upshaw
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After a big year from Alabama's Marcell Dareus, Buffalo would be hard-pressed not to bring in his former teammate.
While fans speculate on whether or not Mario Williams will migrate to Buffalo, drafting Courtney Upshaw would quell any concern about Buffalo's inability to create pressure.
Past this, being able to punish the quarterback would allow the Buffalo run defense to do work like it did this last season.
Drafting Upshaw would reinvigorate the fan base and set the Bills up nicely for a successful 2012.