Should the Bills draft a QB or WR to help Stevie Johnson in Round 1?
It's early February and mock drafts are in the air!
Go to any major sports site and you'll find a mock draft or two. However, since we're so early in draft season you won't find much consistency among experts.
Eventually, things across the draft landscape will clear up. The NFL Combine (February 23-26) and pro days will help draft experts get a better feel for where players will land.
Most importantly, free agency will be revealing for fans and draft pundits.
Starting on March 12th, teams will begin wooing free agents and filling holes in their roster. In doing so, you'll get an idea for what position teams are trying to fill and which they are waiting to address in the draft.
Buffalo, for instance, has multiple positions to address. Quarterback, wide receiver and linebacker are top priorities. There are other spots that may need to be looked at depending upon what they do with impending free agents Jairus Byrd and Andy Levitre.
We'll be looking at six draft analysts' picks: From ESPN, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, CBS Sports' Rob Rang and Dane Brugler and Bleacher Report's Matt Miller.
Read on to see who each analyst has coming to Buffalo and leave your comments below with your own takes!
Ogletree at eight is a bit of a reach.
Kiper's Selection: Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia
Ogletree was at one time a safety, and you see those kinds of instincts when he plays, because he simply flies to the ball. He's a great pursuit player and a guy who will shoot gaps and make stops in the backfield, but that's also because he has really good instincts. A big key with Ogletree is versatility. There's no reason he can't work on the edge, or inside. He has the ceiling of a player who can do it all.
Ogletree certainly addresses a position of need for Buffalo. Currently, the team has Nick Barnett, Kelvin Sheppard and Nigel Bradham as its starters. This trio was gashed often in 2012.
According to Kiper, Ogletree has the potential to play at any of the LB positions, which would make him valuable to the Bills and many other teams.
Right now, I feel this pick would be a bit of a reach. In my own personal rankings, I have Ogletree as the 22nd-best prospect in the draft.
While Ogletree was explosive enough to make plays in the backfield, his lean frame may limit him in the NFL. Also, Ogletree has the tendency to try and tackle too high on players.
Both of the concerns I have for Ogletree can be fixed, but at pick No. 8, Ogletree may not be the best choice for the Bills.
It's doubtful that Geno Smith will be available at pick eight.
McShay's Selection: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Smith has had some trouble in bad weather, which is clearly a concern for Buffalo, but he is a good fit in offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett's version of the West Coast offense. When he's on his game, Smith's mechanics, smarts and confidence are impressive.
Geno Smith is by far my favorite QB prospect in the draft. He has everything you look for in a future NFL quarterback. At 6'3" he possesses NFL QB size. Smith possesses good arm strength and he is also mobile.
Smith is coming off of a season where he passed for 4,205 yards with 42 TDs and only six interceptions. His completion percentage this season at West Virginia was a gaudy 71.2 percent and his quarterback rating was 163.9. If there is one quarterback that I feel confident in producing immediate results in the NFL, it's Smith.
With all of that said, this is not a realistic pick for Buffalo as I do not see any scenario where he's on the board at pick No. 8.
Jacksonville GM Dave Caldwell seems intent to give Blaine Gabbert one more season as QB. In Oakland, the jury is still out on whether or not the team brings back Carson Palmer. Philadelphia has a young quarterback in Nick Foles, but with Chip Kelly, anything is possible. Kansas City, Cleveland and Arizona all seemingly need a franchise QB and right behind Buffalo, is the New York Jets. There's no doubt in my mind that they'd attempt to jump Buffalo if Smith lingered on the draft board.
Simply put, I think Smith to the Bills at pick No. 8 is a pipe dream. That said, I'd love to be wrong about this come April 25th.
Tyler Wilson at pick eight makes plenty of sense for Buffalo.
Rang's Selection: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
While incumbent starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is far from the team's weakest link, few believe he is the caliber of quarterback that can lead Buffalo to a Super Bowl. Furthermore, general manager Buddy Nix has specifically stated he hopes to find the team's quarterback of the future. Furthermore, he told reporters at the Senior Bowl that he was impressed with Wilson's arm strength.
Tyler Wilson has been falling on certain draft analysts' boards but I've steadfastly had him as the second-best QB in this year's draft.
I feel that Wilson is a very realistic pick for Buffalo at pick No. 8. He'd have a legitimate chance to start for the Bills immediately.
Wilson has great mechanics and is a better NFL prospect than Arkansas' last QB, Ryan Mallett. While Wilson doesn't possess the arm that Mallett does, it is still very strong by NFL standards. In terms of toughness, Wilson is the top quarterback available as he played through many injuries and hard hits.
Wilson's senior season at Arkansas ended with him throwing for 3,387 yards and 21 TDs to 13 INT. His completion percentage this season was 62.1 percent and his QB rating was 143.8. These stats should be considered impressive due to the fact that Wilson lost his top three wide receivers in 2011 to the NFL draft and his head coach, Bobby Petrino, was fired for misleading the university about a motorcycle accident and relationship with a co-worker.
Wilson needs to work on stepping into his throws at time, but this is something that can be worked on. In a draft with plenty of question marks at the QB position, Wilson is one quarterback I have confidence in.
Barkley could be a good NFL QB, but Buffalo isn't a match made in heaven.
Brugler's Selection: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
With two quarterbacks already off the board in this scenario, Barkley could be the third after impressing NFL teams during the interview process.
To see my reaction to McShay's pick, please click on the link titled, Noooooo! It's a clip from the television series The Office, when Michael Scott realizes that Toby has returned.
Buffalo's head coach Doug Marrone is very familiar with Matt Barkley. In 2011 and 2012, Syracuse played USC. Barkley's Trojans won both games and in the two games, Barkley threw for 11 touchdowns to one interception.
Barkley is probably neck-and-neck with Geno Smith in terms of accuracy and he does a great job on roll-out passes. The one area that Barkley is best among all of the prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft is his ability to scan the field. He doesn't stare down his wide receivers and he does a nice job of going through his reads.
That said, this would not be a good pick for the Bills. Barkley's arm strength isn't as terrible as some people say. In fact I think it's slightly above average. That said, Barkley doesn't have a strong enough arm to throw into Buffalo's gusty winds, in my opinion.
Barkley has the chance to be a solid NFL quarterback, but Buffalo isn't the best match for the former USC Trojan.
Patterson is the outside wide receiver that the Bills need.
Just as important for Buffalo is finding a wide receiver who can take the top off defenses across from Stevie Johnson. Cordarrelle Patterson can't throw the ball, but he sure can catch it. That will be on the minds of everyone in the Buffalo front office when evaluating how to use the No. 8 overall pick.
Cordarrelle Patterson is an explosive athlete. He has been timed running a 4.46 40-yard dash and he has solid footwork. Patterson is able to change direction easily and has outstanding field vision. After catching the ball, Patterson has the ability to avoid defenders.
He is an extremely dangerous and aggressive wide receiver, which is exactly what Buffalo needs as its outside receiver opposite Stevie Johnson.
One area that Patterson needs to improve is in terms of catching the ball. The former Volunteer wide receiver at times catches the ball with his body rather than with his hands.
Overall, this would be a very solid pick for the Bills. He's the outside wide receiver that the team has been missing since Eric Moulds suited up with the team.
Buffalo needs to find a replacement for Kelvin Sheppard.
The five NFL Draft analysts certainly see what all we Bills fans see. The team's greatest needs are at QB, WR and LB.
Buffalo is still searching for its first franchise quarterback since Jim Kelly retired in 1996. They've gone through their fair share of disappointments and underachievers so no one would be shocked if Buffalo selected a signal-caller in Round 1.
As for wide receiver, the Buffalo Bills announced earlier this week that Donald Jones would not be returning to the team. Besides Stevie Johnson, the team is looking at T.J. Graham, Brad Smith and David Nelson as its wide receivers. It's pretty apparent that the team needs to address its depth at WR via free agency or the NFL Draft.
Last, the linebacker core in Buffalo needs upgrading, in the middle more than anywhere else. Kelvin Sheppard has proven himself to be a below-average MLB. He lacks the speed and instincts to consistently make plays and needs to be replaced.
On the outside, Nigel Bradham improved as the season wore on and Nick Barnett was still serviceable.
The team would be wise to sign or draft at least one ILB and OLB in free agency and the NFL Draft.
Who do you have Buffalo drafting in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft? Share your thoughts below!