Buffalo Bills Updated 6-Round Mock Draft
The player performance in this year's Senior Bowl has significantly changed my evaluations of players since my last Buffalo Bills Mock Draft.
Though prospects still have the combine and personal team interviews to impress franchises, playing one last game in a true football setting before the draft is a big opportunity.
This can by considered my Mock Draft 2.0 or my Mock Draft after the Senior Bowl. The 2013 NFL draft is quickly approaching, and players are constantly shooting up and down the draft boards.
For those who didn't know, Buffalo traded their 2013 seventh-round pick to Seattle in exchange for Tarvaris Jackson.
Here is my updated, full six-round mock draft for the Buffalo Bills.
Round 1: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
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The Bills are in dire need of a solid quarterback if they want to transition from mediocrity to a constant AFC East threat.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is clearly not the long-term answer. Ryan Nassib following Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett from Syracuse to Buffalo would have been a great story, but Nassib had a disastrous Senior Bowl. He still has plenty of time to improve his stock, but he will have a extremely hard time proving he is better than Arkansas' Tyler Wilson.
Wilson is 6'2'' and 218 pounds and played in a pro-style offense in college, which will ease the transition from NCAA play to the NFL game.
He has a fairly strong arm and can escape pressure with his mobility. Wilson possesses a very strong presence in the pocket, which allows him to stand strong amid defenders and deliver passes from crowded situations. He can bounce back from hard hits and was arguably the best quarterback at the Senior Bowl.
The main issue with Wilson is that he has a true gunslinger mentality. He tends to force a lot of passes and try to squeeze the ball into very tight windows, which leads to a fair share of turnovers.
Other than that, Wilson appears to be pro-ready. He needs to be coached to tune up his game and must step into his throws and stop relying on just his arm, but every prospect has his flaws.
The Bills need a good quarterback to advance to the next level, and Wilson keeps on impressing. His stock may be quickly rising due to the weak quarterback class, but he can really make an impact for Buffalo.
Wilson owns the strong arm needed to improve the passing game and isn't a project player; he is ready for the NFL now. He could be the guy who takes the reins and thrives for a decade. He has the skill set and isn't much of a risk, providing insurance, which is exactly what Buffalo needs in 2013.
Round 2: Robert Woods, WR, USC
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The Buffalo Bills need a legitimate receiver opposite Stevie Johnson to open up the passing game and USC's Robert Woods could be that guy.
Woods is listed at 6'1'' and 190 pounds. He is a very good route-runner with reliable hands. He also contributes as a punt returner, which could offer Buffalo a cheaper alternative to Leodis McKelvin at the position.
He finished his senior season with 76 receptions for 846 yards and 11 touchdowns and had a jaw-dropping 112 receptions for 1,292 yards and 15 scores as a true sophomore, including a 17-catch, 177-yard, three-touchdown performance in Week 1. Woods has certainly proved his worth as an NCAA receiver and has the tools to be successful at the next level.
The main problem with Woods is that he gets a bit distracted while the ball is coming his way. He may be starting to make a move to advance the ball but must secure the ball before he does anything else. If he focuses on bringing in the pass, he will eliminate silly drops, and his football instincts will allow him to move the ball after the catch.
Woods wouldn't be stealing the show from Johnson in Buffalo, but offers a nice complement to No. 13 for whoever the quarterback is. He has a nose for the end zone and possesses the physical skills to make an impact in the NFL.
His stock may fall due to the solid receiver prospects ahead of him, but Woods would be a nice addition to the Buffalo offense.
Round 3: Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Mississippi
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The Bills' linebackers corps may have been the weakest positional unit in 2012. Jamie Collins is an outside linebacker who can upgrade the unit and make an impact under Mike Pettine this fall for the Bills.
Collins is listed at 6'3'' and 245 pounds. He is very muscular, has strong arms and has the speed to quickly disrupt the quarterback. His long arms can allow him to deflect passes, and he also possesses the legs required to keep up with receivers in the passing game.
The downside with Collins is that on one play, he will get past the offensive line and get to the quarterback, then he seems to be fatigued for a play or two. His tackling could improve, and he needs to focus on locking down his receiver and staying with him. If Collins can work into shape and play with consistency, Pettine can find a decent role for Collins as a rookie.
He has a deadly combination: big, strong and fast. His blend of skills makes him a very well-rounded athlete, and he could help Buffalo improve on defense. He is pretty raw, and if he can play hard every snap and be coached to improve tackling and pass coverage, the sky is the limit for Collins.
In the third round, Collins has a lot of upside and could contribute very nicely for the Bills.
Round 4: Brian Winters, OG, Kent State
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There is the possibility of Andy Levitre walking, and the Bills can always use offensive line depth. Thus, guard Brian Winters of Kent State could be a nice find for Buffalo in Round 4.
Winters is big at 6'4'' and 310 pounds, durable and athletic. He has played in all 49 career games at Kent State and uses his hands well quickly after the snap.
He latches onto the defender very well, and on running plays, keeps driving forward until he hears a whistle. Winters has a large base and keeps his feet moving to successfully shuffle horizontally.
For the NFL game, Winters must try to latch onto the defender lower than he did at Kent State. NFL defenders are a lot bigger and stronger than the NCAA ones, and the higher Winters reaches at them, the more likely the defenders are to push him back and reach the quarterback.
If Winters can get a tad stronger, he can prevent big linemen from pushing him back frequently. He is athletic and very tough, but must latch on lower to create favorable balance matchups.
Winters also has a shoulder injury that must be looked at by Buffalo, but for all of his upside in Round 4, he is worth the pick.
Round 5: Shamarko Thomas, SS, Syracuse
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George Wilson is a great special teams player and solid defender, but he is aging and starting to get vulnerable to giving up the big play.
Having said that, Wilson is still a good player and can still contribute in 2013, but the Bills would be wise to take a safety in the draft.
Shamarko Thomas is 5'9'' and 217 pounds and loves to put his body on the line to make a big hit.
He is versatile and started NCAA games at cornerback, linebacker and safety. Thomas is a sure tackler who throws in the occasional monster hit and is a extremely aggressive defender.
His fierce competitive spirit leaves him vulnerable to biting on play-actions and fakes, which opens up big plays downfield. If he can stay disciplined and contain his want to make a big play, he can turn into a solid player at the next level.
He compares to a Bob Sanders and had the pleasure of playing college ball under Bills coach Doug Marrone. The defense needs some energy and excitement, and Thomas could immediately bring that to Buffalo, along with the potential to improve in the passing game to become a well-rounded player.
Round 6: Ryan Otten, TE, San Jose State
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Ryan Otten is a big tight end at 6'5'' and 235 pounds and athletic enough to be a legitimate receiving option for the Bills as a rookie.
He uses his height to box out defenders, just like the dominant Tony Gonzalez and Jimmy Graham. Otten's figure creates a very difficult defensive matchup, and he can make plays after the catch for the offense. He can slip open after play-action passes and has the potential to be deadly in the red zone.
However, he comes from San Jose State, and fair or unfair, he may be passed over for a kid from a big-name school. He isn't the fastest tight end in the draft and may struggle to lock down pass-rushers on defense.
Otten is huge and sure-handed, and while he won't blow anybody away with his speed, he can earn a few tough yards after the catch. The Bills could target Otten on third downs and near the goal line and take advantage of the height advantages he will have.
Otten would be a nice complement to Scott Chandler and create a solid two-tight end system. For a late-round pick, Otten has a lot to offer Buffalo and will be worth the pick.