There have been a ton of names over the last month or so linked to the Bills in Round 1: Melvin Ingram, Courtney Upshaw, Dre Kirkpatrick, Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, Riley Reiff, Jonathan Martin, Stephon Gilmore, Luke Kuechly and Cordy Glenn.
I know what you’re thinking. At pick 10, a prediction shouldn’t be this hard to make.
Well I’m about to throw another name into the ring just for the sake of discussion, and that is Alabama safety Mark Barron.
Let me tell you why.
In a couple of years, this team could go from being the barren Bills to the Barron Bills.
Buddy Nix indicated at the team’s pre-draft luncheon press conference that they’re looking for playmakers—not starters—at pick 10. Furthermore, Nix discussed how looking ahead in the draft and evaluating who will be available at which positions in which rounds plays a factor in the team’s decisions.
And in case you haven’t heard, this year’s safety class isn’t very deep.
So how does this come into play?
If the Bills are looking for a playmaker, they might be willing to nab this year’s top safety prospect with their first-round pick. In doing so, they could address other needs later on at positions which are deeper in the draft.
Barron is a 6’1”, 213-pound safety who is not only an intelligent defensive leader but also a game-changer in the back end. He was a physical enforcer for the nation’s top-ranked defense at Alabama, and is an all-around great football player.
Some of his many strengths include his reactionary skills, his ability to go up and make plays on the ball and his physical presence as a defensive back.
And if you don't think having an elite safety can change a team's identity, consider what Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu have done for their respective organizations.
If Nix is looking for a playmaker, he may like what Barron had to say, according to CBSSports.com: “I like making plays, period.”
As a terrific zone coverage safety, Barron could help solidify Buffalo’s secondary. Taking him at 10, paired with a cornerback later in the draft, would be a great way establish depth at defensive back, adding talent to the crew who will be feeding off the crumbs that Mario Williams and co. leave behind from getting pressure on the quarterback.
Mark Barron isn’t the sexy pick at 10, nor is he the popular one. And I’m not saying he’s going to be or should be the guy.
But if Nix’s draft history and his comments are any indication, he just may be the surprise pick at 10 that no one has been talking about.