As there are a number of different scenarios that can occur on draft day, we try to take all of that into account by breaking down every pick the Bills own (which are 10 in all in 2012) into three distinct options: best case scenario, a realistic option, and a worst case scenario.
We approach this mock by looking at team needs, who should be the best athletes available when the Bills are on the clock and also with the thought of addressing depth and more competition at key positions.
In case you are curious as to how we have done in prior years, you can find the link to the 2011 version of this exercise right here. As far as the 2010 mock draft for the Bills, that version can be found with this link.
As we go through each of the Bills 10 draft picks, please note that for each player we highlight, we will include their scouting report courtesy of the National Football Post, which does a very solid job on their player evaluations.
If you want to check out a different perspective, here is the link to the computer simulated mock drafts conducted at Draftek.com. But, I can assure you that the player evaluations there are far different from what you will see at National Football Post. But that is just part of what makes the NFL draft so fascinating, how widely different various opinions can be when talking about the same player.
On to the presentation.
Once the NFL regular season concludes, and the calendar flips over to a new year, my attention starts to focus on the upcoming NFL draft.
From January to April 26, my daily routine is to watch whatever shows are available on the NFL Network that will provide additional insight for this column. That includes practices for the East-West Shrine Bowl, practices for the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combines workouts. It includes recording every Path to the Draft show on NFL Network, and watching as many college bowl games as was possible.
Extra attention is paid to everything that NFL draft expert Mike Mayock (pictured) says, as I have come to respect his opinion very much. Other opinions that are valued here include Michael Lombardi at NFL Network and Chris Brown from Buffalo Bills.com. We check out Buffalo Bills.com on a daily basis.
For another opinion or outlook, I watch all of the relevant shows over at ESPN as well. Maybe this is overkill or the waters have become too muddied when it is all said and done, but I would like to think by absorbing as much popular public opinion, combined with reading up on articles from Pro Football Talk, NFL Network, ESPN Insider, National Football Post, etc., that we are operating from a position of a strong knowledge base.
But as much as there is a part of us all that would like to play the role of general manager for our favorite team, (myself included), there is only so much we can control at the draft itself. Months of scouting and preparation can be thrown out the window when that player you really wanted to draft is taken with the pick right before you are on the clock.
Teams trading up or teams trading down can throw the whole projected order of players coming off of the big board out of whack. So, you conduct your due diligence, have faith in your scouts and coaches and rely on where you have graded your players and draft according to what your big board tells you to do.
If you disagree with my picks, no problem here, as it is a mock draft after all. So many variables can throw a monkey wrench into our picks and even though we did our homework for the 2010 and 2011 versions of this, I look back at what I previously wrote and ask, what was I thinking?
We can tell you that this was done with the knowledge that the Bills have acquired Mario Williams and Mark Anderson to shore up the defensive line and improve the pass rush. The Bills have brought back Terrence McGee with a re-worked deal, and signed Steve Johnson, Rian Lindell, Kirk Morrison, Tashard Choice, Derek Hagan and Scott Chandler. The Bills have lost Demetress Bell to Philadelphia and Roscoe Parrish to San Diego.These moves no doubt will have an impact on the Bills draft plans.
Okay, so with all of that now out of the way, let's proceed to the mock draft.
Please note that we are conducting this mock with the primary thought that the Bills are going to execute their draft picks from where they are currently slotted. Although we would be a strong advocate of trading down in the first round this year, the bottom line is that Buddy Nix doesn't seem to be very keen on doing much movement with his draft picks, (okay none if you prefer to be exact about it) on draft day.
My No. 10 overall pick best-case scenario is Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly.
After watching all of the NFL Scouting Combines workouts, one of the most impressive athletes was Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly. The kid is an athlete and you could see that by the way he moved through the drills and how he plays on tape.
Buddy Nix has gone on record as stating that he is open to drafting the best player available when the Bills are on the clock. That player in my opinion will be Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly. He stands 6'3" and weighs 242 pounds.
The 2012 draft class has six blue-chip players: Stanford QB Andrew Luck, Baylor QB Robert Griffin III, USC T Matt Kalil, LSU CB Morris Claiborne, Alabama RB Trent Richardson and Oklahoma St. WR Justin Blackmon. After those six players are off the draft board (which should probably occur after the first-six draft picks are turned in) things will start to unravel as to who goes where from the seventh pick on.
If one of the blue-chippers miraculously falls to the Bills at No. 10, you run up to the podium and draft him. You can never have enough blue-chip players. But the Bills now have two of them on the defensive line in Marcell Dareus and Mario Williams.That is something that you can build around.
Mike Mayock of NFL Network has Kuechly ranked as the best linebacker in the 2012 draft class, as does the draft analyst for the Sporting News, Russ Lande. According to Lande, Kuechly is "the best coverage linebacker to come into the NFL in many years." Lande praises Kuechly's "speed, instincts, and athleticism," and calls him the toughest linebacker prospect in the 2012 class.
That is the kind of player that Bills fans can wrap their arms around. Here is the link to the National Football Post scouting report on Kuechly.
We will also provide the selection of Draftek.com, for another opinion. We will include their selection, as well as their two alternate picks that they also provide. Selection is Riley Reiff. Alternate picks are So. Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore and No. Carolina LB Zach Brown.
No. 10 overall draft pick - realistic case choice is Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd. Floyd is listed at 6'3" and weighs 224 pounds.
Even after the Bills had signed Steve Johnson to a long-term contract, they still attempted to bring in other free agent wide receivers such as Robert Meachem and Mario Manningham to upgrade the No. 2 receiver in the Bills offense. So, you know full well that the Bills are looking to draft somebody since they struck out on their preferred options in free agency.
The question is will Floyd still be on the big board when the Bills are up at 10, and do they have him graded out as being worthy of a selection at No. 10?
Over the past few months, Floyd has been closing the gap between himself and top-ranked wide receiver Justin Blackmon. Floyd had a strong effort at the NFL Scouting Combines, and has kept himself out of trouble during his senior year. Here is an interesting video link from ESPN.com Sport Science, that takes a closer look at why Floyd is one of the top receivers in the 2012 class.
He had strong production at Notre Dame. In his senior year, Floyd exploded with 100 catches for 1,147 yards and nine touchdowns. That was good for an average of 11.5 yards per catch.
James Walker, AFC East blogger for ESPN.com, wrote this article, stating that if the Bills drafted either Floyd or Iowa tackle Riley Reiff, nobody would care if they were taken at either No. 10 or at No. 15, as long as they were deemed as a franchise-building block type of player.
Floyd ran a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash. Here is his scouting report link from National Football Post.
No. 10 overall worst-case scenario is Iowa left tackle Riley Reiff. Reiff is a physical specimen at 6'6" and weighs 313 pounds. He was very well coached at Iowa and is thought to be the second best tackle behind Matt Kalil of USC. Here is Reiff's scouting report from National Football Post.
Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Riley Reiff personally. The biggest problem I have is the thought of the Bills drafting him with the No. 10 pick. If the Bills drafted Reiff at No. 18, I like Reiff more. If the Bills draft Reiff at 20-22, I am loving that pick. Get my drift?
Mike Mayock of NFL Network stated in a recent broadcast of "Path to the Draft" that he sees Reiff as the kind of tackle that would need to play at right tackle for the first two years, and then slide him over to play left tackle after he has gained that much experience. He just doesn't think that Reiff is ready to handle the left tackle job from day one. That is a big red flag for me, because if the Bills draft Reiff, that is exactly what they would be expecting him to do.
You draft a player in the No. 10 slot because he is somebody that you are expecting to become a starter for you from day one. The Bills already have a right tackle in Erik Pears, and they have signed him to a contract extension, so he isn't going anywhere.
The Bills lost free agent Demetress Bell to the Philadelphia Eagles this week (what is going on that the Bills keep feeding left tackles to the Eagles - first Jason Peters and now Bell?), so that makes the position a priority to address. Nobody seems sold on Chris Hairston being ready to assume the starters job in 2012 at left tackle, and if he is, I would be nervous for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The only quality free agent out there is Marcus McNeill, of the San Diego Chargers. He is coming off of his own injuries from 2011, so he isn't a perfect candidate either. The Bills will have to address the position at some point in the draft, but it might occur in a later round.
Now is as good a time as any to introduce my dark horse or sleeper choice for the Bills at No. 10. If Buddy Nix explores the potential trades and comes up empty, who is the best player on his draft board. I wouldn't be surprised at all to find out that it was Stanford guard David DeCastro.
Based on all of the feedback we have discussed so far, what is the best option for the Bills at left tackle in 2012? What about plugging in Andy Levitre at left tackle? He did an admirable job filling in there in 2011. You bump Levitre out to left tackle and draft DeCastro, who is the best interior lineman in the draft class, to play left guard. Maybe that is too radical an idea for some, but if it happens just remember that you read it here first.
For what it is worth, DeCastro is ranked as the No. 3 player on the big board at National Football Post. Where do they rank Reiff? Try No. 33. That is what I am afraid of, that Reiff would be considered to be a reach. The Bills don't need to make a reach at No. 10. Here is the NFP scouting report on DeCastro.
Our best-case scenario draft pick at No. 41 for the Bills is Nebraska defensive end Jared Crick.
Now that we are already down to the No. 41 overall pick, things are starting to get a little murkier. If we had the ability to already know who the Bills had drafted at No. 10, and who was off the big board in the first round, it would surely make the projections for this pick that much easier. But since we don't know all of that.....
We start to go out on a little bit of a limb. The names I have been considering at 41 (or rather hoping for in the past month) have included cornerbacks like Stephon Gilmore from South Carolina or Jamell Fleming from Oklahoma, linebacker Lavonte David from Nebraska or even wide receiver Stephen Hill from Georgia Tech. Some of those are pipe dreams, I admit.
Crick is a big defensive end at 6'6" and weighs 285. Why Crick? He is another talented pass rusher that can provide some relief to spell Mario Williams and Mark Anderson. Chris Kelsay is going to turn 33-years old during the season, so Crick would be groomed to succeed him. That is the kind of move that annual contenders like Pittsburgh would make. It is only coincidence that both of them hail from Nebraska.
By the way, on Day Two of the draft, if Crick is off the board by then, you could substitute him with Vinny Curry of Marshall or Chandler Jones of Syracuse. The point is that there is talent available in this spot if you want to groom a younger replacement for Chris Kelsay.
In the second round for the Bills, Draftek.com came up Janoris Jenkins as the pick at No. 41, with their two alternates being Utah St. linebacker Bobby Wagner and Rutgers wide receiver Mohamed Sanu.
Corner Stephon Gilmore from South Carolina has been quite the moving target over the past month. On different web sites, I have seen him projected to go anywhere from the first round to the third round in the draft.
If he is still available at No. 41, the Bills would have to be considering him strongly. He was battle tested in the SEC and held up well against stiff competition. As far as Mike Mayock in concerned, he has Gilmore ranked as his No. 2 corner in the entire draft class, which is why he could be gone by No. 41.
Gilmore is a taller corner, listed at 6'1" and weighs 193 pounds. He had a solid showing at the NFL Scouting Combines. Here is the link to his scouting report from National Football Post. They have Gilmore ranked at No. 30 on their big board, which is why he might never be an option for the Bills at 41. But if he is, he would form an interesting pair of cornerbacks for the Bills with Aaron Williams for years to come.
If the Bills do draft Gilmore, he could easily challenge Drayton Florence or Leodis McKelvin for playing time.Some people like Gilmore more than Janoris Jenkins, the talented corner from North Alabama, who has made some questionable off-the-field decisions that has caused his stock to tumble.
The big board at National Football Post has ranked the corners as follows: Morris Claiborne (LSU), Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama), Janoris Jenkins (North Alabama), Gilmore, Brandon Boykin (Georgia) and Josh Robinson (Central Florida). In fact, they have all six of these corners ranked in the top 41 players of the overall draft class. That is probably a reaction to the importance of owning multiple good corners in the pass-happy NFL.
The Buffalo Bills have Ryan Fitzpatrick under contract from now through the 2017 season. Fitzpatrick is 6'2" and weighs 225 pounds. He is 29 years old.
Brandon Weeden, quarterback from Oklahoma St., is almost a carbon copy of Fitzpatrick. He is 27 years old now, and turns 28 in October. He is slightly taller at 6'4" but weighs less than Fitzpatrick, at 218 pounds.
Weeden would fit in well with the other Bills quarterbacks, in that Tyler Thigpen is also 27 years old now, is 6'1" and weighs 216 pounds, while Brad Smith is 6'2", 28 years old and weighs 212 pounds.
Weeden had an impressive season at Oklahoma St. in 2011, and he bested Andrew Luck and Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl, 41-38 in overtime. You can check out his scouting report here.
The point in this exercise is that Weeden would be very much like the current trio of Bills quarterbacks that are on the roster. He doesn't bring anything new, different or unique to the skill set that the Bills already have on the team. He certainly doesn't bring youth, so whatever team drafts Weeden, he needs to be playing now. That won't happen in Buffalo, as the team has committed to Fitzpatrick as their starter.
For all of those reasons, that is why Brandon Weeden would be the worst-case scenario for the Bills at No. 41.
By the way, in his latest two-round mock draft at ESPN.com, Mel Kiper Jr. gave the Bills Iowa tackle Riley Reiff in the first round and Appalachian St. wide receiver Brian Quick in the second round.
So far we have addressed the defense with our first-two best-case draft picks in linebacker Luke Kuechly and corner Stephon Gilmore. Now, let's turn our attention over to the offensive side of the ball.
With the No. 71 draft pick, I have the Bills drafting California wide receiver Marvin Jones. Jones is a tall receiver, listed at 6'3" and 202 pounds. NFL Films draft analyst Greg Cosell, had this tweet about Jones, claiming that after watching tape on him, "Jones had the widest catching radius of any receiver in the 2012 draft class."
Over at National Football Post, they have Jones listed as their No. 9 wide receiver in the 2012 draft class, right after the pair of Arkansas receivers, Joe Adams and Jarius Wright.
According to this update at Rotoworld.com, Jones measured in at the scouting combine with long, 33 1/8" arms and massive, 10 1/4-inch hands, which are both big pluses for his catch radius. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds.
Jones has been a solid contributor at Cal for the past three years. His production has grown in each of the last three years, which is another reason why I like him. His receptions have gone from 43 to 50 to 62, while his yardage has also grown from 651 to 765 to 846 last year as a senior. He scored 13 touchdowns in his last three years and he has averaged anywhere from 13.6 to 15.3 yards per catch over the past three years.
For his scouting report at National Football Post, click on this link here.
During the past week, you probably read the news that ex-Buffalo Bills left tackle Demetress Bell has signed a five-year deal to play for the Philadelphia Eagles. No doubt this is a situation that needs to be addressed, because the Bills have Chris Hairston on the roster, and nothing else behind him on the roster right now. Hairston went down with an injury in 2011, so it's not like he is invincible.
The best free agent in the market is Marcus McNeill, who Buddy Nix should know well from San Diego. The Bills may need to visit with McNeill based on the results of the draft, but the point is that the Bills are now required to draft a left tackle to create some degree of competition in training camp, and of course to have greater depth at the position.
The photo is of Auburn tackle Brandon Mosley, who goes 6'6" and weighs 305 pounds. He is knocking the helmet off of an Alabama defender in this picture. SEC tackles have gone up against a stiff level of competition, so he is somebody the Bills could consider here. Here is his scouting report from National Football Post.
When you look at the big board options of tackles at National Football Post, you could plug any of these following candidates into this slot: Matt McCants, (Alabama-Birmingham and ranked No. 7 ranked tackle), Mosley, (No. 8 ranked tackle), Zerbie Sanders (Florida St. and the No. 11 ranked tackle) and Bobbie Massie (Mississippi and the No. 13 ranked tackle).
From Mike Mayock's perspective, he only ranks players five-deep at any position, and all of his first-five should be long gone by the time the Bills pick at 71 comes up. For what it is worth, they are: Matt Kalil, USC, Riley Reiff, Iowa, Mike Adams, Ohio State, Jonathan Martin, Stanford and Cordy Glenn, Georgia.
Looking over the group of tackles, of course it will boil down to how the Bills have these guys graded out. But if you wait much longer than No. 71 to draft a tackle, you then have to wonder how athletic will he be, and can he step in and protect Ryan Fitzpatrick's blind side in a pinch or not? That is why left tackle is considered the second most important position on the roster, following your quarterback.
I have been charting the mock drafts being conducted over at Draftek.com because it is part of what I do to stay on top of trends in preparation for the NFL draft. In four of the last five mock draft computer-simulated mock drafts they ran at Draftek, they had the Bills drafting a corner, either Brandon Boykin of Georgia or Trumaine Johnson of Montana.
Boykin is 5'10" and weighs 183 pounds. You can read his scouting report from National Football Post by clicking on this link here.
While on the surface there is nothing wrong with drafting a corner in the third round, it just doesn't work out very well for the purposes of our mock draft here. We have already tapped our first two picks on defense in Luke Kuechly and Stephon Gilmore, so coming back with another defensive pick seems like overkill to me.
There is no question that the Bills want to draft a corner in the 2012 draft. They brought in Stanford Routt the first week that he became a free agent. The Bills know that they need to improve their play at corner, but if they do wind up going with defensive picks at No. 10 and 41, they can't afford to turn their backs on the offense.
Somehow with Chan Gailey being the offensive-minded guru that he is, and sitting next to Buddy Nix, chirping in his ear throughout the draft, I am sure that Gailey will be clamoring for some help for his offense. That is why I think that drafting a corner at No. 71 would be the worst-case scenario.
At No. 105, I would like to see the Bills make sure they have invested a pick in their left tackle spot, so we will go with Alabama-Birmingham tackle Matt McCants here.
McCants is a massive tackle, going 6'7" and weighs 295 pounds. As we mentioned on the earlier slide, McCants is the No. 7 ranked tackle on the big board at National Football Post. You can check out their scouting report on him here.
If the Bills were to draft McCants here at No. 105, the pair of Chris Hairston and McCants, would assure the Bills have two reasonably athletic tackles to compete against each other, and have one ready to step in should the other go down to injury.
You also have to realize that whoever the Bills draft, they will be able to improve their game every week in practice, as they will be lining up against either Mark Anderson or Mario Williams every day in practice. If going up against talent like that doesn't make you a better player, then I don't know what would.
Photo courtesy of http://billsdrafttalk.blogspot.com/
Assuming that Michigan St. quarterback Kirk Cousins is still on the board when the Bills are on the clock at No. 105, I wouldn't be surprised if the team drafted the quarterback here.
Cousins had a solid 2011 season, and has been impressing everybody leading up to the draft. He scripted his own Pro Day workout at Michigan St., something that impressed Mike Mayock, in his report from Michigan St. on the "Path to the Draft" show.
While we were not in favor of the Bills drafting Brandon Weeden in the second round, due to his age being almost identical to Ryan Fitzpatrick, Cousins is much younger at just 23 years old.
If you check out his stats at Sports Reference.com, you will note that Cousins was active in all four years at Michigan St. He totaled 66 touchdown passes to 30 interceptions, which is better than a 2:1 ratio. His percentage of completions is also favorable, ranging from 60.4 percent to a high of 66.9 percent. His passing yards in the last three seasons has continued to grow: 2680, 2825 and then 3,316 yards as a senior. His college QB rating has ranged from 142.6 - 150.7 every year, which is very good.
Cousins is described as a developmental quarterback. I am fine with drafting him here, but the problem is that quarterbacks often are overvalued, so some other quarterback-needy team might scoop him up prior to the pick at No. 105.
When the Bills are on the clock at No. 105, there is a reasonable chance that change-of-pace running backs like LaMichael James (pictured above) from Oregon or Isaiah Pead from Cincinnati are still available.
James is 5'9" and weighs 195 pounds. You can find his National Football Post scouting report here. Pead goes 5'11" and weighs 200 pounds.
Buddy Nix likes to draft the best player available, and while somebody like James or Pead could easily fit that description, you would have to wonder how much time would they ever see on the field?
The Bills are struggling to find enough carries to keep Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller content. They drafted running back Johnny White from North Carolina in the 2011 draft, and he barely saw any playing time as a rookie. Buffalo picked up Tashard Choice off the waiver wire in 2011, and they re-signed him to come back in 2012, so how exactly would a player like James or Pead ever get any touches?
Maybe there is the possibility of special teams, but the Bills are seemingly loaded with potential options for the return game, despite losing Roscoe Parrish, who left to sign with the San Diego Chargers in free agency.
To be sure, we are all wondering how many more years Fred Jackson will be able to perform like he has in Buffalo, but drafting a player like James or Pead just seems to be a bad judgement call from a timing standpoint.
The Bills fifth-draft pick of the 2012 draft is now up at No. 124, courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens from the Lee Evans trade.
As a quick refresher in our best-case scenario first four picks, we have gone LB (Luke Kuechly), DE (Jared Crick), WR (Marvin Jones) and T (Matt McCants). I think the pick at No. 124 is a good time to grab a corner, so we will select Jamell Fleming from Oklahoma.
Fleming in ranked as the No. 7 corner on the big board at National Football Post, and we can only hope he is still available when the Bills turn is up at No. 124. You can read his scouting report here.
Fleming is 5'11" and weighs 191 pounds. As an alumni of Oklahoma, I have to admit that I watch more football games of Oklahoma than any other college, so I have been scouting Fleming for years (okay, truth be told, I have been scouting every Sooners player for years, but that is beside the point).
He started the last two years at Oklahoma, and during that time span, Fleming amassed 131 tackles, seven interceptions, and 30 passes defended. The problem is that he might not still be there at No. 124. But if he is.......
When you start getting down into the No. 120 - 130 overall pick range, you are looking for some athletic talents that you think are coachable, and has the potential to improve and become a better player.
That would match the overview for LSU safety Brandon Taylor. Playing in the SEC, you know full well that he has gone up against superior talent during his LSU career.
Mike Mayock has Taylor ranked as the No. 3 overall safety in the 2012 draft class, so if you can get a guy with that much talent here, that would be a true value pick.
Taylor is 6'0" and weighs 195 pounds. He is ranked as the No. 3 free safety on the National Football Post big board, and you can find a link his scouting profile here.
If the Bills were to come out of the draft with players like Stephon Gilmore and Brandon Taylor, to go along with Jairus Byrd, Aaron Williams, Justin Rogers and Da'Norris Searcy, that has the makings for a very solid young secondary that can only improve with experience.
If you happened to be available to watch the NFL Scouting Combines being aired on the NFL Network, one of the offensive linemen you would have watched is Nate Potter, tackle from Boise St. Potter is hard to miss, since he is 6'6" and weighs 303 pounds.
Potter could still be on the board at No. 124. He is the No. 6 tackle on the big board at National Football Post, so there is a reasonable chance he could be gone by then. If you prefer, we could swap in the name of Markus Zucevics, Iowa tackle, who goes 6'5" and weighs 303 pounds. Zucevics is the No. 10 tackle on the big board at National Football Post, so he might be slightly more realistic to be available at 124.
There is nothing on the surface wrong with either of these tackles. But, in our mock draft, we have already secured at least one tackle on the best case scenario side (Matt McCants) as well as on the realistic case (Brandon Mosley) so drafting a second tackle seems to be clouding the picture.
Of course, if either of these tackles are available, and the Bills have a much higher grade and they represent strong value here, then anything is possible.
Terrell Manning is an outside linebacker with North Carolina St. and he stands 6'3" and weighs 224 pounds. Manning has a teammate from North Carolina St. that is ranked almost the same as Manning. That would be Audie Cole, who is a little taller at 6'5" and weighs 239 pounds.
Manning is the No. 14 ranked outside linebacker at National Football post, and you can read his scouting review here. For what it is worth Cole is ranked at No. 12 overall for outside linebackers, which is why I don't believe he will still be an option with the pick at No. 144.
At this stage of the draft, you aren't expecting to find guys that can start as a rookie, but they can fill in for you, play special teams, and be groomed to become a starter down the road.
Jarius Wright is a talented wide receiver from Arkansas. He stands 5'10" and weighs 182 pounds. During his career at Arkansas, Wright caught 168 passes for 2,934 yards and scored 24 touchdowns. He averaged 17.5 yards per catch in college.
Wright would have some competition in Bills camp with the crowded wide receiving corps, but if he can beat one of them and improve the unit as a result, I am all for that.
He is the No. 8 ranked wide receiver at National Football Post, so we might need to move him up a round to really have a chance for the Bills to draft him. Here is his scouting report from National Football Post.
Trying to decide which round to put these guys would be so much easier if we had the Bills draft grades. Oh well. Guess that is why they call it a mock.
Vontaze Burfict, the troubled linebacker from Arizona St. is an interesting option at No. 144. Burfict has the size at 6'3" and 245 pounds to make an impact, but he has more than his fair share of red flag issues.
It is anyone's guess right now where Vontaze Burfict might be ranked on all 32 NFL team's big board. As the college season was starting to wind down, he was typically thought of as a to-50 overall type of pick, and since then he has been working his way steadily down draft boards, and in some cases he has even been written off completely.
According to this update on Burfict over at Rotoworld.com, in an episode of NFL Network's "Path to the Draft" show, the word on Burfict from Steve Wyche was: " that Arizona State ILB Vontaze Burfict has already been removed from some teams' draft boards after a red flag-filled offseason. "This guy had a second-round grade at one point," noted NFL Net's Charley Casserly.
Burfict is going to work out for NFL teams again next week, but he's been out of shape and thoroughly underwhelming throughout the pre-draft process. Rotoworld doesn't expect Burfict to be drafted before the sixth round.
When you see that many teams bailing on a player, there is usually good reason for it. This makes it easy to place Burfict in the worst-case scenario group, as you probably want to avoid him with a 10-foot pole. If you want to bring him in to camp as an undrafted rookie free agent, that is another story altogether. But to burn a draft pick on him? I don't see the point.
Another quarterback that the Bills have their eye on is Russell Wilson, the talented quarterback from Wisconsin. Wilson isn't very big, at just 5'11" and 210 pounds. He is well put together though, and is quick and agile to move away from bigger defenders, ala Doug Flutie.
Wilson is the No. 10 ranked quarterback at National Football Post. You can read more about him via their scouting report on him.
Wilson would be more of a developmental pick for the Bills, but at least he would be allowed to compete with Tyler Thigpen to see who earns the right to be the backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Based on the limited appearances we saw from Thigpen last year, Taylor might be able to overtake him.
There is no doubt that Wilson is a talented athlete, as evidenced by what he did at the NFL Scouting Combines. He ran the 40 in 4.55 seconds, had a broad jump of 9'8" and a 34-inch vertical leap.
Travis Lewis is a talented outside linebacker from the University of Oklahoma. He is 6'2" and weighs 227 pounds. He is the No. 9 ranked outside linebacker at National Football Post, and here is the link to Lewis' scouting report from National Football Post.
Lewis had a very productive four-year run at Oklahoma, as he gained plenty of starting experience. Lewis made 446 tackles in all at O.U., made 31 tackles for a loss, had seven sacks, nine interceptions, forced four fumbles and defended against 21 passes.
In short, Lewis was a playmaker, and you can never have enough of those on your team.
From this point forward, we are excluding the worst case scenario picks, because this far down in the draft, there really isn't that much to distinguish between players. Everybody has some pluses and minuses to their game and as such we will focus on the final four draft choices with just the best-case and realistic scenarios for those final picks.
Okay, here we are at No. 178 overall, well into the sixth round. What are the odds that we can find a gem here. It is funny how many good to great players the Bills land either in the seventh-round, or that they sign that went undrafted, but how few great players they drafted in the fifth or sixth round. Not sure why that is, just a general rule of thumb observation.
What do the Bills need to round out their draft class? So far, for our best-case picks, we have gone: LB, DE, WR, T, CB, LB and QB. So, we are now going to plug in a fast receiver that is designed to challenge Marcus Easley. The Bills still are looking for that one speedy receiver that can stretch the field. Easley has proven to be unreliable due to health issues, so the Bills can afford to take a shot here with the sixth-round.
The receiver the Bills draft is Tommy Streeter from University of Miami, Florida. Streeter is the No. 21 ranked wide receiver at National Football Post, and here is his scouting report. Streeter is also a tall receiver, at 6'5" and weighs 215 pounds. He ran a very fast time of 4.40 seconds at the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combines.
Let Streeter and Easley battle it out at summer camp to see who deserves to be on the roster and who belongs on the practice squad. Of course, they would be prime candidates to be scooped up by another team that would want that speed on their active roster.
Just so you know, this isn't a picture of Marcell Dareus from his college days at Alabama. This is a photo of defensive tackle Josh Chapman, and the defensive tackle might still be there in the late rounds for the Bills to draft.
Chapman has the size you want, and would be drafted to give the Bills some depth in case anyone goes down to injury. Between Kyle Williams, Dareus, Torrell Troup, Kellen Heard and Chapman, that would give the Bills solid options to get them through the year.
In their latest mock draft, which came out on 4/10/12,. Draftek.com had Chapman going to the Oakland Raiders at pick No. 168, so it is possible he could last 10 more picks for the Bills at No. 178. Chapman is 6'1" and weighs 310 pounds. Here is his scouting report from National Football Post.
He is the No. 7 ranked defensive tackle on the big board at National Football Post.
James Hanna is a tight end from the Oklahoma Sooners, that could still be on the draft board when the seventh-round begins. Hanna is a big target at 6'4" and weighs 243 pounds.
Hanna is the No. 10 ranked tight end at National Football Post and you can check out his scouting report here.
Hanna is more for insurance in case one of our other tight ends goes down an injury. The Bills still need quality depth wherever they can find it.
Levy Adcock, a tackle from Oklahoma St. is our choice for the Bills first choice in round seven. Adcock is more of a project type to add some depth to the Bills line, but remember that we drafted Demetress Bell in the round seven, so maybe the Bills strike gold again.
Adcock is 6'6" and weighs 322 pounds. He could go higher than this, but there are players that we project that should go higher every year that fall down to round seven, or go undrafted completely. It happens.
Here is the scouting report done on Adcock by National Football Post.
The final pick of the 2012 NFL Draft is the No. 253 overall pick. The Bills have their final pick at No. 251, just three picks before the draft concludes. Down at this range, you are probably going to be looking at a guy that will wind up on your practice squad, or somebody that you want to try to develop.
This is around the area last year where the Bills took a flier on Michael Jasper.
Why Frederick? As Buddy Nix has often said, when in doubt, draft another cornerback.
Jacquies Smith, OLB Missouri is our final entry in the 2012 NFL mock draft for the Buffalo Bills.
Smith is an outside linebacker, and if he makes the Bills team, it would be as a member of special teams unit.
If you would like to see a one-slide snapshot of who we have drafted for the Bills in this mock, please proceed to the next slide, which will wrap up the mock.
Okay, there you have it. Our mission in now completed for another year. We can only hope that Buddy Nix will do a better job than yours truly. Trust me, doing these aren't easy, and I don't envy Nix for a second.
Now, it is time to hurry up and wait for the NFL Draft and see how many picks we were able to nail, and how far off some of these mock predictions wound up.
We drafted two teams for the Bills fans to consider. Which team do you like best? Feel free to leave a comment, and if you want to throw in your own mock selections, now is the time to do so.
Here is the best-case scenario team we drafted:
Rd 1) LB Luke Kuechly (Boston College), Rd. 2) DE Jared Crick (Nebraska), Rd. 3) WR Marvin Jones (California), Rd. 4) T Matt McCants (Alabama-Birmingham) Rd 4b) CB Jamell Fleming (Oklahoma), Rd 5) OLB Terrell Manning (North Carolina St.), Rd. 5b) QB Russell Wilson, Rd. 6) WR Tommy Streeter (Miami), Rd. 7) TE James Hanna (Oklahoma) and Rd 7b) CB Terrence Frederick (Texas A&M).
Here is our realistic case team we drafted:
Rd 1) WR Michael Floyd (Notre Dame), Rd. 2) CB Stephon Gilmore (South Carolina), Rd. 3) T Brandon Mosley (Auburn), Rd. 4) QB Kirk Cousins (Michigan St.), Rd. 4b) S Brandon Taylor (LSU), Rd. 5) WR Jarius Wright (Arkansas), Rd. 5b) LB Travis Lewis (Oklahoma), Rd. 6) DT Josh Chapman (Alabama), Rd. 7) T Levy Adcock (Oklahoma St.) and Rd. 7b) OLB Jacquies Smith (Missouri).
We recognize that some of these picks are projections that could be drafted lower or higher than where we have them going. It is a mock draft after all. We hope you enjoyed it and thanks for checking out the presentation.