Buffalo Bills Mock Draft: Early Predictions for the 2013 NFL Draft
Ten games into the 2012 NFL season and we don't have a really good picture of what this current Buffalo team is going to accomplish this year.
In a down year in the AFC, the talent is there for the Bills to run the table over their final six games following a Thursday night victory over Miami.
Improbable? Yes, but not impossible.
Despite still being alive in the playoff race, the Buffalo Bills have glaring needs that are already being talked about as being draft fixes. The three linebacker spots and quarterback tend to be the positions that are high on the wish lists for many Bills' fans.
It's still early in the process for all the later round evaluations to be settled, but let's take a look at some possibilities for Buffalo in rounds one through six.
1st Round: ILB Manti Te'o
Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey have shown the propensity to be unpredictable when it comes to first-round selections in their three drafts at the helm.
However, I believe that they only have two real choices in the first-round next year.
Manti Te'o is a Heisman candidate, which tells you all you need to know about his abilities as a big-play linebacker.
He is a leader on a Notre Dame squad that should likely be on their way to a BCS Championship game, which is something that Buffalo desperately needs in the center of their defense.
Kelvin Sheppard played his best game in a Buffalo jersey on Thursday night against the Dolphins, but still remains as a huge liability in the middle of the Bills' defense. He may be best off as a backup linebacker because he lacks the instincts, especially in the run game, that are necessary to be a quality starter in the NFL.
Te'o is the type of linebacker that Buffalo had when Takeo Spikes and London Fletcher were tagging opponents' running backs.
Depending on where they finish, they could play themselves out of the Te'o sweepstakes. If another team takes the Golden Domer ahead of where they draft, then the pick has to be used on a quarterback. I repeat, has to.
2nd Round: QB E.J. Manuel
If the Bills don't pick up a quarterback in Round 1, which seems likely, then the second-round will almost assuredly be one.
We know that Buddy Nix wants to add a "franchise quarterback" before his time is up as General Manager in Buffalo. We also know that by making those comments last week, that he recognizes the huge mistake he made when the team signed Ryan Fitzpatrick to a lengthy contract extension in the middle of last year.
E.J. Manuel is a bit of an enigma when it comes to his pro potential. He has all the tools to be a high-caliber starter at the next level, but has plenty of inconsistencies to go along with those tools.
He's a player that will determine his draft stock during the offseason workouts because he's done all he can in game situations for people to evaluate.
He has the big frame and big arm that is required to be a Buffalo quarterback, while also possessing the escape potential that Chan Gailey likes from his signal caller.
Mike Glennon or Tyler Bray are also possibilities here, but Manuel is the choice at this moment.
3rd Round: WR Da'Rick Rogers
Alright, so this might be a hopeful pick. If Rogers is still tearing it up in the SEC and doesn't carry the character issues that got him kicked out of Tennessee, then we'd likely be talking about a first-round grade with Rogers.
He still could go as high as early second-round if he checks out during pre-draft screenings, but he still holds the immaturity tag.
Rogers is a freak athlete that can make almost any catch thrown within his vicinity, but he lacks top-end speed. If Rogers can overcome these issues, then he has the opportunity to be a special player in the NFL.
4th Round: OLB Trevardo Williams
Buffalo has already upgraded three of their biggest holes in this mock—inside linebacker, quarterback and a big, athletic wide receiver.
Now they turn their attention back to the linebacker spot, but this time they're looking for another outside linebacker.
The Arthur Moats and Kirk Morrison experiment clearly didn't work, as neither is seeing extended playing time after they were once considered sure-fire starters. Moats has been misused since coming to Buffalo and has a good chance of being a roster casualty in the offseason.
Nigel Bradham is still learning the position and has shown some flashes, but hasn't proven to be the guaranteed answer.
Trevardo Williams is a somewhat unknown pass-rushing commodity out of the University of Connecticut. He's undersized at the outside spot, especially if a team running the 3-4 decides to take a run at him.
However, he was one of the only players in the country to average a sack a game last season. That speaks volumes about the type of value he could present in the fourth-round.
Buffalo can always use another pass-rusher or two.
5th Round: OG Omoregie Uzzi
I'll admit that I don't know a whole bunch about Uzzi other than watching a handful of Georgia Tech games over the past two seasons.
The senior guard has started each of the last three seasons at right guard for the Yellow Jackets and is a dominating run blocker at times.
Uzzi could likely walk into the Buffalo locker room right now and be their top reserve at guard. With all of the injury issues that the Bills have had at that spot, adding a guy like Uzzi would be extremely beneficial for improving the overall depth on the team.
6th Round: TE Jake Stoneburner
Buffalo takes a play out of the New England Patriots playbook and grabs another solid receiving tight end late in the draft.
Scott Chandler has been a bit of a revelation for the Bills but isn't used consistently enough to put up gaudy numbers. He is a physically imposing player at 6'8", but he needs a running mate in the mold of Aaron Hernandez.
Jake Stoneburner has been a consistent player for the Buckeyes, especially in the Urban Meyer offense, but he does have his limitations athletically. He isn't the greatest blocker, but that wouldn't matter if the Bills wanted to run two tight end sets with both players lining up as receivers.
Whether it be Stoneburner or someone else, it would not be surprising to see Buffalo add a tight end late in the draft.