2012 Buffalo Bills Draft: Michael Floyd, Vinny Curry and 5 Targets
The franchise has needs across the board, especially with the transition back to the 4-3 defensive front.
Areas that need improvement include a true 4-3 defensive end, a cornerback and an offensive tackle, among others.
Here, we will take a look at at a few prospects the Bills should be looking at come April 26th, when the team is on the clock.
DE Quinton Coples , North Carolina
Quinton Coples has been rising quickly up many draft boards as of late, as the 21-year-old North Carolina Tar Heel's versatility makes him attractive to teams that run any defensive front.
At 6'6" and 276 pounds, he has the measurables to rush the passer as a 4-3 defensive end.
Furthermore, when former Tar Heels Robert Quinn and Marvin Austin were suspended, Coples didn't miss a beat, kicking in from end to an undersized defensive tackle, having the most productive season of his career.
The only knock on Coples have been questions regarding his work ethic and hustle on the field, but his strong Senior Bowl week seemed to prove otherwise.
He has both the speed and strength to play on the defensive line or as an outside linebacker, if need be. He already utilizes strong, powerful bull-rush moves but can also be finesse and spin around blockers, which allows him to get a first step on opposing linemen.
During his career as a Tar Heel, Coples has racked up 120 tackles (32 for a loss) and 24 sacks in four seasons.
DE Vinny Curry, Marshall
If the Buffalo Bills opt against selecting a pass-rusher with their No. 10 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, Vinny Curry is definitely a prospect worthy of their second-round selection.
A four-year player as a member of the Marshall Thundering Herd, the 6'3" 266-pounder has recently shot up draft boards after a stellar collegiate career in which he recorded 112 tackles (49 for a loss), 26.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and 32 quarterback hurries.
Curry is a perfect fit for the Bills' hybrid 4-3 defense they will be utilizing this upcoming season, as he is a natural defensive end but has the body type to stand up and play outside linebacker in the 3-4 or nickel situations.
In his junior campaign, he led the nation in tackles by a defensive lineman with 94, adding 12 sacks.
Watching some film of Curry, it's evident that he can set the edge and has a burst of explosiveness off the ball. He has a strong bull-rush and doesn't stop until the whistle blows.
He can sometimes get caught off-balance in his pass rush, but his relentlessness makes him successful more often than not.
Another pro on Curry for the Bills is his ability to stop the run. He doesn't give up on plays, hustles to chase down running backs and is instinctive enough to read and react to plays.
Curry is unique in that he can use both speed and strength to beat blockers, as he comes off the snap quickly and with force.
DE 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 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).
WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
With the Bills recently signing wide receiver Stevie Johnson to a five-year contract extension, they still could use 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 he 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 finding 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.
ILB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State
One of the biggest problems the Bills have had in recent years is stopping the run and covering tight ends.
Vontaze Burfict out of Arizona State does both and would be a solid upgrade over the aging Andra Davis.
Alongside rookie Kelvin Sheppard, the two could grow together and bring the ferociousness that the Bills have lacked inside.
Burfict is 6'3", 250 pounds and can get off blocks with ease. In his three years at Arizona State, he has racked up 218 tackles, seven sacks and three forced fumbles.
Burfict was once seen as a mid-to-late first-rounder, but after a poor combine, he could fall to the Bills in the third or fourth rounds, adding depth to a position of need.