5 Players the Buffalo Bills Should Target on Day 2 of 2013 NFL Draft
They found a trading partner—the St. Louis Rams—to do a dance with and picked up two extra picks for sliding down eight spots in the round. The Rams picked up Tavon Austin, while the Bills somewhat surprisingly selected EJ Manuel as the first quarterback off the board.
Although, if you have been paying attention to articles in the Bills' Team Stream as of late, Manuel was one of the few names that was flying under the radar for Buffalo in the first round.
In case you missed the compensation for moving down in the first round, Buffalo received picks No. 16, No. 46, No. 78 and No. 222. St. Louis took No. 8 and No. 71.
Buffalo has selected its quarterback of the future, but where does it go in the second round now that it has two picks in the top half? Including their original third-round selection, the Bills now have an opportunity to pick up three more starting-quality players to plug holes across the roster.
Linebacker and wide receiver are now the biggest needs, and there is plenty of talent still on the table at those two positions.
S Jonathan Cyprien
Safety was not one of the positions of need I mentioned in the introduction, but Jonathan Cyprien from Florida International provides an interesting value should he fall to pick No. 41.
Cyprien was one of the hot names in a decent safety class, and many draftniks believed that he could sneak his way into the bottom half of the first round. He was passed over for better-known commodities like Eric Reid and Matt Elam, but Cyprien could end up being one of the steals in the second.
The Bills currently have one of the best free safeties in the league with Jairus Byrd—who is dealing with contract negotiations after getting the franchise tag slapped on him—so why would they take another one?
First of all is the value should he fall there. Second, Buffalo’s new defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine, runs a scheme that does not necessarily designate a difference between free and strong safeties.
In fact, the Jets ran more with two strong safeties, Laron Landry and Eric Smith, last year. Playing two rangier guys is not out of the question.
This pick is a long shot, but Buffalo could decide to go with the best-player-available approach with three picks on Day 2.
LB Arthur Brown
Arthur Brown is one of my favorite linebackers in the draft, and he has been constantly undervalued. Dion Jordan, Barkevious Mingo and Jarvis Jones got all the big press during the offseason, which turned in to first-round selections for all three players.
However, Brown is a different type of outside linebacker who would fill a big need in Buffalo. He is not the type of player who will be a consistent pass-rusher, which is a position that fans have become enamored with over the last decade.
Brown can fit in multiple schemes, which would be beneficial for a hybrid scheme that Pettine will run in Orchard Park this season. In 4-3 packages, Brown is athletic enough to line up on the strong side and stick his nose in the run game. In 3-4 packages, Brown can slide inside and cover tight ends out in the flat or upfield.
The visit by Karlos Dansby to the team's facilities this week is telling that the coaching staff is not satisfied with the depth at the position. That means Brown could be a pick for them on the second day.
ILB Kevin Minter
Kevin Minter is another linebacker prospect who could end up being one of Buffalo’s two second-round picks on Friday.
The Bills are familiar with Minter; he was the backup at inside linebacker to Kelvin Sheppard at LSU. Sheppard was supposed to be a difference-maker after being drafted in the third round of the 2011 draft, but he struggled in his first season as a full-time starter.
Minter could be a solution to the problem.
Minter is a better athlete up the middle than Sheppard, although both struggle a bit with lateral speed. Minter is better at diagnosing plays early in their development, and he is a sounder tackler than Sheppard. He makes up for his lack of elite quickness by having a good knowledge of angles to a ball-carrier.
His weaknesses of range may ring eerily similar to Sheppard, but he is better in pass defense, which may be worth the selection alone.
WR Justin Hunter
Justin Hunter fell into the second round, while his college teammate Cordarrelle Patterson snuck into the last four picks of the first. Unlike Patterson, Hunter had a few more years of collegiate production at Tennessee, but injury history and a case of the drops kicked him out of the first round.
He fits the bill of a tall, athletic receiver which Buffalo has been craving since Eric Moulds ended his fantastic career. Hunter finished with 106 receptions for 1,812 yards and 18 touchdowns during a three-year career with the Volunteers, including an injury-plagued sophomore season.
That type of production shows the potential that Hunter could just be tapping into, especially considering he jumped up to 73 receptions during his junior season. The drops are a bit troublesome, but according to John Pollard of STATS LLC., Hunter was second in clutch-reception percentage among the top-rated receiving prospects.
Taking into account the big-play potential and a second year of staying healthy, Hunter could outperform the receivers taken in the first round during his rookie season.
TE Zach Ertz
Tyler Eifert finished Day 1 as the only tight end off the board, but there are a handful of tight ends who will have their phone ring on Day 2.
Zach Ertz is another player who was buried behind talent before a breakout season in 2012. He was the backup to All-American Coby Fleener in the explosive Stanford offense in 2011, but he became the main receiving option once Fleener and Andrew Luck left in the draft.
He struggles as an in-line blocker, but the Bills already have a few purely blocking tight ends on the roster. With Scott Chandler's injury situation up in the air for 2013 and Dorin Dickerson too small to play the position, Buffalo needs a big tight end more than public opinion may lead you to believe.
Ertz not only provides young EJ Manuel with a safety outlet up the middle, but he gives the rebuilding Bills yet another weapon on offense. Should they select a receiver in the second or third round as well, their offense will have a much different and explosive look next season.