With the 2013 NFL Draft just months away, various prospects' names have been swirling around with regards to just who the Buffalo Bills will select. The Bills hold the No. 8 overall pick and need help at a variety of positions, including quarterback, wide receiver, and linebacker, among others.
With the variety of positional needs, the Bills have a wide range of players they could take in the first round, which makes it difficult to accurately project just who they want.
This slideshow highlights some of the top prospects that general manager Buddy Nix may be interested in when the Bills are on the clock.
Buffalo Bills' General Manager Buddy Nix expressed his desires to acquire a play-making wide receiver in the offseason. Whether that acquisition comes via free agency or the NFL Draft remains to be seen, but he described a large target that can "catch the ball when he's covered."
California's Keenan Allen is one of the more complete wide receiver prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft. He's 6'3" and 205 pounds, and has been productive in his three seasons with the Golden Bears, recording 205 receptions for 2,570 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Allen displays exceptional route running ability and does a good job of creating separation from defensive backs. He can go up and grab balls out of the air, but he has a tendency to receive passes with his body, rather than with his hands. His speed is average, but he utilizes long strides and his high-end agility to compensate for it.
Allen is a true outside wide receiver, and the 22-year old All-Pac-12 selection could definitely be a nice addition to the Buffalo Bills' receiving corps.
The Buffalo Bills used their No. 10 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft on South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore, but there still is a big need at the position.
Aside from Gilmore, the Bills are left with Justin Rogers, Aaron Williams, Ron Brooks, and Crezdon Butler, none of which have proven they can handle a full-time role in the secondary. Recently hired defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine, likes to blitz a lot, which leaves cornerbacks in man coverage situations.
The Bills need to add another lock-down option in the defensive backfield to shut down opposing wide receivers, and Alabama's DeMarcus "Dee" Milliner could be that player.
Milliner has been a remarkable asset to the Crimson Tide's defense, recording 136 tackles, six interceptions, 36 pass deflections, and nine tackles for a loss in his three seasons in Tuscaloosa. He's 6'1" and weighs 199 pounds, giving him adequate size to compete with the ever-growing statures of wide receivers in the National Football League.
Milliner can press receivers at the line of scrimmage, and has an excellent backpedal. He has above average ball skills, and plays passes in the air very well. He displays high-end tackling skills, but could work on his run support.
If the Bills were to use their No. 8 overall pick on Milliner, it would give the team one of the top, young secondaries for years to come.
Ryan Nassib's name has been gaining steam, as the Syracuse signal caller is being regarded as one of the top quarterbacks in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Buffalo Bills hired his former head coach, Doug Marrone, and offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett, which has made the Nassib-to-Buffalo talk pick up considerably.
Nassib is an intriguing prospect, as he's completed over 60 percent of his passes for 9,190 yards and posted a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 70:28.
He's got above average arm strength and excellent pocket presence. He played with sub-par surrounding talent, but still lead the team to eight wins in two of his three seasons as a starter with the Orange.
Nassib seems like the perfect fit for the Bills, as he's familiar with the offensive system they will be running, and has gone as far to say that joining the team would be a "match made in heaven."
The Bills gave curernt starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick a six-year $59 million contract in 2011, but since signing the deal he's played poorly. General Manager Buddy Nix told Buffalo-based radio station, WGR-550 that he plans to draft a quarterback for the future, and Nassib could be the one.
The Bills need a pass rushing defensive end opposite Mario Williams, whom the team signed to a record setting six-year, $96 million deal prior to the 2012 season. Williams recorded 10.5 sacks this year, but defensive end Kyle Moore, who recorded four sacks, is an unrestricted free agent in March.
Barkevious Mingo is the 2013 draft class’ boom-or-bust prospect. While he shows all of the potential in the world due to his extraordinary athleticism, length, and burst, his production hasn’t always matched his expectations. He flashes playmaking ability when getting after the quarterback, and sets the edge fairly well against the run. Mingo’s burst off the line of scrimmage is second to none, and has above-average speed for his size.
Mingo could be the perfect fit for defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's "hybrid" defense, as he has the ability to stand up as an outside linebacker, as well as put his hand in the dirt and rush the passer from a three-point stance.
During an interview with Buffalo Bills' play-by-play announcer John Murphy at the Senior Bowl, Buddy Nix described the need for a linebacker that can cover.
“When you’re looking at linebackers, you want a guy who can run and cover and can match up against a slot or a tight end. See if that guy’s got enough mobility in space to cover.”
While much of the attention to Georgia's defense has been paid to their pass rushing linebacker, Jarvis Jones, inside linebacker Alec Ogletree has impressed scouts throughout the year.
Ogletree's a converted safety that stands 6'3" and weighs 232 pounds. He's got incredible speed for his size that allows him to keep pace with tight ends in the seams and slot receivers over the middle. Ogletree projects to a weakside linebacker in a 4-3 defensive alignment, or an inside linebacker in a 3-4.
In his three years with the Bulldogs, Ogletree has racked up 197 tackles, 20 of which came for a loss. He made six sacks in that span, and forced three fumbles as well. He fits the mold of the new-age linebacker that can stay on the field for three downs due to his athletic ability in pass coverage, and his strength against the run.
Nick Barnett, the Bills' current weakside linebacker has just one year remaining on the three-year deal he signed before the 2011 season, and at 32 years of age it's unlikely he'll be brought back when his contract expires.