With the 2012 NFL Draft just around the corner, the Buffalo Bills need to capitalize on the success of last year's draft. With the team switching back to the 4-3 defensive front, there is a dire need for a pass rushing defensive end, and with the issues regarding wide receiver Stevie Johnson's contract, the Bills could go in a multitude of directions with their No. 10 overall pick.
So who could be the top targets for the Bills come draft day?
Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
Courtney Upshaw, a cornerstone of the Alabama Crimson Tide's defense, could bring the Bills the defensive force they have lacked since former defensive end, Aaron Schobel, departed. Although General Manager, Buddy Nix, stated earlier in the week that they were keeping their pass rush options open (noting the depth at the position in this year's draft class), a prospect like Upshaw is tough to pass up.
Upshaw's strength is his power at the point of attack, and his ability to bull rush opposing linemen. In his career with Alabama, he recorded 140 tackles—35.5 of which for a loss—and 16.5 sacks, while forcing four fumbles.
Not only can he effectively rush the passer, but he is stout against the run (another area of need for a team consistently at the bottom of the league in rush defense).
Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
Regardless if the Bills re-sign wideout Stevie Johnson, they need a big, physical playmaker opposite him. Floyd is reliable and has the ability to beat a variety of coverages. At 6'3" 224 pounds, his separation in small areas is unbelievable.
Floyd displays strong hands and a high vertical of 36.5", and runs a 4.4 40-yard dash. In his four years as a member of the Fighting Irish, he was a major contributor, racking up 266 receptions for 3,645 yards and found the end zone 36 times.
With the Bills, he could be the perfect No. 2 receiver opposite Johnson, with the ability and potential to become a top-notch wideout in the National Football League.