Senior Bowl practices are finally over in Mobile after a full week of poking and prodding the top seniors from across the country.
For some guys the professionally run practices are standard, but for others the environment is extremely unfamiliar. Regardless of the program, nothing can truly prepare these players for what may end up being one of their final auditions for NFL teams.
The evaluations done at the Senior Bowl either reinforce attributes and tendencies already put on tape or they reveal new information about a player that will move them around the draft board.
For most purposes the Senior Bowl game itself is irrelevant compared to the five days of practice and weigh-in's that the players complete Monday through Friday. However, the game gives fans one last opportunity to see the players they will be clamoring in the draft.
Buffalo's three big needs coming into the week were quarterback, wide receiver and outside linebacker. Will any of the players in the Senior Bowl be a part of the solution?
Quarterback seems to be the one position that no one can figure out in this draft. I am not sure that any of the players at the position in Mobile did anything to solve the mystery.
Ryan Nassib has been the hot name in Buffalo ever since the Bills hired his head coach and offensive coordinator away from Syracuse. While familiarity and continuity work at the college level, it does not necessarily translate to the faster play that characterizes the NFL.
Nassib practiced well, according to Bleacher Report's own Matt Miller, who was down in Alabama covering the event.
There will be plenty of disagreement about who looked best this week, but Nassib takes the award for me. He showed off a strong arm and validated film study that shows great velocity, quick feet and some ability to make plays outside of the pocket. Nassib does a good job squaring to throw when forced to move his feet.
Mike Glennon and Tyler Wilson are probably the two other logical players whom Buffalo was looking at during the week. Both players reside in those southern and Atlantic Coast pipelines from which the Bills have drawn a number of players in recent drafts. In fact, Buffalo general manager Buddy Nix has drafted 15 players from the SEC or ACC over the last three drafts.
Glennon showed off the biggest arm in Mobile, but there seems to be a concern about his scrawny frame and inability to scramble away from pressure. Wilson also showed good arm strength during the week, as he enjoyed better pass protection than he endured at Arkansas during the season.
Geno Smith did not participate in the Senior Bowl, nor did Matt Barkley, as neither wanted to hurt their draft stock with workouts where they cannot control the conditions.
Glennon, Wilson and Nassib all showed pluses and minuses during the week, but that is what you are going to get from this collection of quarterback prospects. Quarterback is going to be a position filled by the Bills during this draft, but they will have to go through some growing pains regardless of whom they select.
There was a nice crop of receivers down in Mobile this week for the Senior Bowl festivities, with my favorite being Quinton Patton.
Patton was listed in one of my midseason mocks as a potential fit for Buffalo, standing at 6'2" and possessing the big-play potential that the Bills sorely lack. Back then I slotted him to go in the third or fourth round, but there is no way he will fall that far now.
The Louisiana Tech receiver made play after play for the Bulldogs this fall and reportedly looked very good during this week of practice. According to BJ Kissel of Arrowheadpride.com, Patton was able to show a variety of moves down the field, and he used his big body to make plays over the middle of the field.
Terrence Williams from Baylor is really the only other guy that Buffalo should consider drafting to play opposite Stevie Johnson. The Bills need a bigger receiver who combines size height with good speed. Patton would fill that void but so would Williams.
The issues with these two players is that both will likely garner late first-round status after solid weeks of play against talented cornerbacks. Buffalo would need to trade down for these players, because neither provides good value at the eighth spot.
The linebacking spots could have the most fluidity and changeover this offseason for the Bills. One would think that Nick Barnett has a spot somewhere on the field, but new coach Doug Marrone would be wise to draft a few backers and launch an open competition.
Nix might have to break his ACC/SEC rule to draft a quality linebacker in the second or third round. That is because some of the best players at the position this week come out of the Big East.
Khaseem Greene from Rutgers is a player whom Bills fans should have on their radar in the second round. He is a rangy outside linebacker who made a ton of plays in the backfield as a senior, averaging almost 11 tackles per game for the Scarlet Knights. He was was also near the top of the Big East in tackles for loss.
Buffalo Bills.com beat writer John Murphy caught up with Greene during the week and asked about his possible fit with Buffalo.
Greene has the ability to get to the quarterback as a 4-3 linebacker, which would be interesting in Buffalo, where defensive coordinator Mike Pettine expects to install a flex-formation defense.
Sio Moore from UConn is another guy who could be a potential fit for Buffalo in the middle of the draft. Moore shined in the Shrine Game last weekend and was a late add for the Senior Bowl after Kansas State's Arthur Brown was scratched due to injury.
Moore is another guy who can get to the signal-caller off the edge, and he has shown that ability throughout the week. His stock is all over the place, but he could present good value in the fourth round if he is available when the Bills are on the clock.