When will the Bills draft a quarterback in the first round to replace Ryan Fitzpatrick?
I'm not going to lie, it's a bit depressing to be looking forward to the 2013 NFL draft, but I'm going to forge ahead anyway.
At 3-5 the Bills would be picking ninth in the first round.
Let me stress that with eight games left to play, anything can happen with the Buffalo Bills and their draft position. Realistically though, I think it's safe to say the Bills will draft early in the first round, but not early enough to select Geno Smith or Matt Barkley.
Below are Buffalo's picks if the draft were to happen today.
Round 1: Pick 9
Round 2: Pick 39
Round 3: Pick 69
Round 4: Pick 108
Round 5: Pick 139
Round 6: Pick 170
Our sixth- or seventh-round pick will be shipped to Seattle as part of Tarvaris Jackson trade that took place in August. Right now, it seems that we'll be sending our seventh-round pick, so for that reason I will not be selecting a player in the seventh round.
Without any further ado, here is my midseason Buffalo Bills' mock draft for 2013.
Mingo would start for the Bills from day one.
At No. 9, the Bills are guaranteed to get a very good NFL prospect, but something tells me that their prime targets will be gone.
Geno Smith and Matt Barkley? Doubt they both make it out of the top three.
Jarvis Jones? Top-five pick.
Manti Te'o, the best ILB prospect in the draft? I have him currently going to the Bengals at No. 7.
At pick nine, it comes down to two choices: Tyler Wilson and Barkevious Mingo.
As much as the Bills fanbase is clamoring for a quarterback, you don't want to reach for one if you aren't convinced he's a franchise QB. I like a lot about Wilson, but I can't say that he's a franchise quarterback.
The truth of the matter is, the 2012 Buffalo Bills' biggest problem has been its defense. Taking Mingo, LSU's top defensive player, would be the Bills' best bet in this scenario.
|Year:||Games Played||Tackles||Sacks||TFL||QB Hurries|
Mingo's stats have fallen off a bit from his outstanding 2011 campaign. And while he currently lacks ideal strength, he has shown the edge speed and coverage ability to disrupt the quarterback.
The Bills inability to get to the quarterback is one of its biggest defensive weaknesses, so Mingo would be a welcome addition.
Could Aaron Murray be the answer the Bills have been looking for at QB?
The Buffalo Bills have no one to push Ryan Fitzpatrick. Tyler Thigpen isn't even a quality backup quarterback and Tarvaris Jackson will most likely be active for only the final six games. If he's available for more than six games then the Bills would have to send Seattle a sixth-round pick, rather than a seventh-rounder.
The bottom line is that the Bills need to address the quarterback position early in the 2012 draft. Luckily, General Manager Buddy Nix seems to agree.
Nix, known for his honesty, was pretty blunt when asked about drafting a quarterback:
Let me be as honest as I can...I think we really need to address it this year. The thing we can't do is you can't create one. You can't go out, thinking 'I've got to make this guy a player.' If you do, then you're going to be in a bigger mess. We don't want to do that. We try to guard against that.
Georgia's Aaron Murray in the second round would not be a forced pick. While he lacks ideal height (6'1"), he has the arm strength, athleticism, accuracy and intelligence you want in an NFL quarterback.
Through nine games, Murray is having an outstanding season. He's completed nearly 65 percent of his passes for 2,448 yards and has a 3-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio (21 TDs, 7 INTs). He is currently ranked sixth in the nation in passer rating at 168.9.
The Bills need to address the quarterback position and draft someone who they believe can be a franchise quarterback. Murray would be as good of an option as any, including Geno Smith and Matt Barkley.
Reed has plenty of potential at tight end.
In the last thirty years, the Bills have only drafted three tight ends in the first three rounds of the NFL draft.
In 1983, the Bills took the immortal Tony Hunter two picks ahead of Jim Kelly in Round 1. Lonnie Johnson was drafted in the second round of the 1994 NFL draft and Kevin Everett was selected in Round 3 of the 2005 NFL draft.
I think it's safe to say that the Bills are due to take a tight end early in the next NFL draft. The 2013 class is one of the better classes in recent years, so the Bills selecting a tight end early wouldn't be the worst idea.
While I am not trying to select all SEC players, I have the Bills selecting Jordan Reed out of Florida.
While he needs to improve his blocking, Reed is very a very athletic receiver who also played some snaps in 2010 as a spread-option quarterback. He has plenty of potential.
Reed's current stats through ten games: 38 receptions, 456 yards receiving, 3 touchdowns.
Hawthorne is a dual threat at cornerback and as a kick returner.
Terry Hawthorne is having a solid senior season for the Fighting Illini.
While he's suffered a concussion and ankle injury, Hawthorne has been one of the few standout players on a team that is 2-7.
On the season, Hawthorne has 34 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack, and six pass breakups.
He also has a 23.4 yard average on kick returns for Illinois.
The Bills are likely to part with Leodis McKelvin and Terrence McGee next season. The Bills will likely sign a veteran corner in free agency, but they'd also be wise to draft a corner.
Hawthorne is someone whose stock may rise in the next few months, but for now he'd be a steal in Round 4.
Anthony White was asked to replace Jerel Worthy at Michigan State. This was no easy task, but White has done a decent job for MSU.
White's biggest strength is his ability to fill gaps in the run game. This is a major weakness for the Bills.
Simply put, drafting White would give the Bills some quality depth at the defensive tackle position.
Mellette pulls in a pass between four Tar Heels.
I'm a big fan of watching players from small schools to see if they have NFL potential. Elon's Aaron Mellette is one of the players who I think could play in the NFL someday.
Mellette would be a candidate for the Bills practice squad in 2013, but there is plenty to like about him. He has good hands, size (6' 3") and decent speed.
The Bills are known for taking project players late, so why not Mellette?