NFL Draft Rumors: Mark Barron Would Make Bills a Threat in AFC East

Zachary D. RymerMLB Lead WriterApril 25, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 19:  Defensive back Mark Barron #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs some practice drills before the game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Most NFL mock drafts have the Buffalo Bills taking an offensive lineman (i.e. Riley Reiff) with the No. 10 overall pick in the draft. Others have them taking a wide receiver.

I for one haven't noticed any mocks that have the Bills taking Alabama safety Mark Barron, but he might just be the guy for them at No. 10.

According to a report from Joe Buscaglia of WGR 550, the Bills are "extremely interested" in Barron. They apparently view him as a "playmaker" and a "day-one starter."

I know what you're probably thinking, and I thought the same thing when I first read the report. This has to be a smokescreen, right?

That's always a possibility with these reports. And more often than not, any report that comes out during draft week connecting Team X to Player Y ends up being much ado about nothing when the first round of the draft comes and goes.

This, however, is a report that makes sense. The Bills do need an offensive lineman, and they do need a wide receiver, but drafting a safety wouldn't be the worst idea in the world.

The Bills know who holds the keys to the AFC East. The New England Patriots have won the division eight out of the last nine years, and recently they've been winning division titles on the strength of their offense. Tom Brady is simply ridiculous, and he has more than enough toys to play with in New England's offense.

The Bills signed Mario Williams to help neutralize Brady. If they draft Barron, he could help neutralize two of Brady's primary targets, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.

We tend to think of Barron as a big hitter first and a cover man second, but that's not exactly a fair assessment of him. Greg Cosell of NFL Films, who watches more film than just about anybody, wrote that Barron "offers tremendous scheme and position versatility," and that Barron's ability to cover tight ends one-on-one is his best talent.

Bottom line, Cosell thinks Barron is one of the top players in the draft, regardless of position.

The Bills have the pieces on offense to contend in 2012. Whether or not they have enough on defense to contend is the question. The addition of Williams was huge, but he can't help out the secondary. If the Bills so desire, Barron could be their big secondary acquisition this offseason.

If they do choose to draft Barron, the Bills won't automatically become a candidate for double-digit wins in 2012. They won't be that stacked on defense. They will, however, match up much better against the Patriots, and that's the first and biggest step towards winning the AFC East.

So whatever you do, don't write this off as a mere smokescreen. The Bills could very well go for Barron at No. 10.

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