According to the source, Buscaglia says, “The Bills view Barron as a ‘playmaker’ and a ‘day-one starter’ for their defensive scheme.”
I know some people are wondering, where did this come from? Actually, the possibility of the Bills taking Barron at No. 10 is starting to hold some validity.
In fact, just a few days ago, I proposed this exact possibility in one of my Bills draft articles. The reasoning behind the thought was that the Bills are seeking playmakers—not necessarily starters—with their first-round pick. GM Buddy Nix stated as much in the team’s draft luncheon press conference.
In Barron, they may get both a playmaker and a starter.
It’s no secret that the Bills are looking to upgrade their secondary. But the general consensus up until now has been that if they were to do so in Round 1, it would be to the cornerback position.
Buscaglia’s report does note that the Bills are also very high on South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore. But with such a deep class at the position, it might make sense to hold off and take a corner later in the draft. Not to mention, there’s a decent chance Gilmore may not even be available when the Bills get on the clock.
Barron, meanwhile, is universally pegged as this year’s top prospect in a pretty thin safety class. At Alabama, he was the unquestioned leader of the nation’s top-ranked defense, and he does just about everything very well.
It’s true that the Bills have much more quality at safety than they do at corner. George Wilson is an underrated fan favorite, and Jairus Byrd is a ball hawk with a very bright future. The team also recently re-signed veteran Bryan Scott, and it drafted Da’Norris Searcy out of North Carolina in the fourth round of last year’s draft.
However, Wilson is 31 years old and is coming off a neck injury. Scott, too, is 31 years old, and he is more of a rotational safety who also contributes at linebacker from time to time in nickel packages. It's also worth noting that Byrd played cornerback at Oregon.
Overall, it's a pretty strong group in the secondary, but the Bills could be looking to the future with specific plans in mind. And those plans could include Barron.
Buffalo threw a similar draft-day curveball in 2010 by selecting Clemson star running back C.J. Spiller, even though it already had both Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch on the roster. Head coach Chan Gailey wanted a playmaker, and the team went out and got one at an already established position.
The team later flipped Lynch for a pair of future draft picks, and now Spiller is coming into his own as a potent all-around offensive weapon.
Nix and Gailey have never been people to blow smoke before the draft. Rather, they usually are pretty honest and straight forward when it comes to team needs and general plans (without revealing specific players, of course).
In addition, Nix loves players from the SEC, and Alabama has produced some rare talent under Nick Saban since 2007—especially on defense.
Are the Bills going to draft Mark Barron? Who knows? But it’s certainly looking like it isn’t out of the question.