Buffalo Bills: Intriguing Late-Round Picks to Consider
Although every NFL team puts a lot of time and effort into the early-round picks, and deservingly so, the late-round picks can make an impact on an NFL field under the right circumstances.
This list looks at a few players who the Buffalo Bills should consider late in the 2013 NFL Draft. For one reason or another, these players aren't receiving high stock for the upcoming draft, but that means nothing once the players step onto the field. For every major NFL bust, there has been five major late-round gems.
The Bills haven't exactly nailed any of their drafts recently, and these listed players should help ensure Buffalo nails their late-round picks.
Here are intriguing players for Buffalo to consider late in the draft.
The Buffalo Bills need help in the secondary, and strong safety Shemarko Thomas may be a smart draft pick with solid potential.
Thomas isn't necessarily the ball-hawking type, but loves to put his body on the line to make a big stop. He has split his Syracuse career as a cornerback and safety, but started every game at safety for the Orange this season and was named First Team All-Big East in 2012.
Thomas was a sure tackler who forced three fumbles and picked off two passes in regular season play, but will slip to the late rounds due to his vulnerability to give up the big pass.
He is so aggressive to make a big play that he sometimes bites hard on play actions and pump fakes, a recipe for disaster in the NFL. This leads to the 5'9'' and 217-pound defensive back being a step behind the receiver, which is one step too many.
If Thomas can improve as a pass defender, he would be a brilliant addition to the Buffalo defense. He is a hard hitter who can swing momentum to his team with consistent tackling and versatile play, but must improve as a pass defender if he wants to thrive at the next level.
Coach Doug Marrone already knows what Thomas is capable of, and if defensive coordinator Mike Pettine can mold Thomas into a player who doesn't give up an abundance of big plays, the Bills might be able to make Thomas a late-round steal.
Josh Boyce is 5'11'' and 203 pounds, the perfect size for a slot receiver.
Boyce set the TCU single-season record with 66 receptions for 891 yards and seven touchdowns. His resume at TCU is extremely impressive, and his NCAA production should prove that he can make plays in the NFL.
He will leave TCU with the most career touchdown receptions, second most career receiving yards and third most career receptions.
Boyce is a very good route runner, and his frame is ideal for the No. 3 receiver position, the slot. Being the slot receiver in Buffalo will make Boyce a possession receiver who can create a favorable matchup against linebackers. If a defensive back is brought to contain Boyce, the Bills can exploit a favorable matchup on the outside.
Boyce will slip in the draft due to some great receivers ahead of him and because teams are looking for the big and tall receivers who are starting to dominate the league. However, Boyce has some serious speed and sure hands, making him an ideal addition to the Bills' receiving core.
Regardless of who is quarterbacking Buffalo in 2013, Boyce will be a solid player who could become similar to Wes Welker in the slot.
If the Bills get Boyce, he compares to a Roscoe Parrish who could actually be a factor with the right coaching, and Doug Marrone has that capability.
In 13 games played in 2012, running back Stefphon Jefferson rushed for 1,883 yards and 24 touchdowns, with a 5.0 yards per carry average. Jefferson was second in the nation with 144.9 rushing yards per game and chipped in another touchdown through the air.
Regardless of who he was playing, Jefferson produced at an extremely high level but is really flying under the radar, mostly because he attends the University of Nevada. He had games of 139 yards against Boise State, 180 yards against Arizona, 147 yards against California and 247 against Northwestern State, failing to reach the century mark in only three games.
Jefferson is listed at 5'11'' and 210 pounds, but has received little recognition for his play. He has a lot of talented running backs ahead of him on the draft boards and playing in the Mountain West isn't all that comparable to the NFL.
However, the Third Team AP All-American pick has a lot of upside and a lot of time to improve his status.
The Bills are set with C.J. Spiller at running back, but Fred Jackson's status is pretty uncertain, especially for the long haul. Jefferson would add depth to the position and be an upgrade over Tashard Choice for years to come.
He has a nice burst and explosive first step, but isn't a great pass catcher and is undersized when it comes to blocking. He would realistically be a special teams player and role player as a rookie while he develops his all-around game. The quicker he adapts to the requirements of an all-around back, the quicker he will get on the field in Buffalo.
A team can never have too many talented running backs, and Jefferson enters the 2013 NFL Draft with a lot of upside but not a lot of recognition. If the Bills were to draft him, it would be relatively late, but the kid can play and shouldn't have much trouble transitioning to the NFL.
All he needs is time to develop, and a coach willing to invest in him. Buffalo should be that destination.
Michael Mauti is an outside linebacker with a 6'2'' and 235-pound frame. The Bills need improvement in the linebacking department, and a pairing between the two could be beneficial for both parties.
Mauti was a co-captain in 2012, showing his leadership and an All-Big Ten First Team selection, showing his on-field production. However, his durability has been an issue and will scare away scouts, causing him to slip in the draft.
Mauti recorded 96 tackles, three interceptions and three forced fumbles in 2012. His 125 interception return yards led the Big Ten and showed his athletic ability; he also chipped in 2.5 sacks.
The problem was that an injury limited Mauti to 11 games in 2012. He tore his right ACL in 2009 and his left ACL in 2011. When scouts saw Mauti carted off of the field with a knee injury on November 17, they had no choice but to deem him injury-prone.
Though Mauti has had a history of injuries, his production when he is on the field cannot go unnoticed. He is very aware of the situation on the field, and, more often than not, makes the correct play. His senior season was going fantastic until his knee injury brought up a bunch of concerns Mauti was hoping to leave in the past.
The Bills gambled on an injured Willis McGahee in the first round some years ago, and the gamble paid off. Mauti will be a late-round pick and the risk is not comparable to the risk of McGahee in the first round. The Bills need playmakers on their defense, and Mauti proved that when he is healthy, he can be the leader and face of the linebackers.
Mauti's incredible senior season and dedication to Penn State revealed both his strong playing ability and strong character. The Bills need to take a late-round chance on this kid, and Mauti deserves an opportunity to succeed.
This potential pick could end up as a great selection as long as Mauti leaves his injuries in the NCAA, but that remains to be seen.