In the past years, the Buffalo Bills have done well in later rounds finding players like Kyle Williams (fifth round, 2006) and Steve Johnson (seventh round, 2008). Between Rounds 5 and 7 is where front office personnel earn their paychecks and with solid picks they can help solidify a team's depth.
The Buffalo Bills showed tremendous steps in the right direction last season but it was still very evident they lacked depth at a number of positions. Based on CBS Sports' draft projections for players, these are seven sleepers who could be available late in the draft that would be a perfect fit for the Bills.
Projected Round: 7
With the season Max Bullough was having as the middle linebacker for Michigan State he looked to have a bright future in the NFL. He was the leader of a Spartans defense that went on to win the Big Ten Championship and earn a spot in the Rose Bowl.
This is where things started to unravel and he saw his draft stock plummet, starting with being suspended for the Rose Bowl for violating team rules. He accepted an invite to the East-West Shrine Game but showed up about 20 pounds heavier than his normal weight.
Opinions are mixed for the Spartans' two-time captain primarily due to the question about Bullough's pass coverage skills. However, there is no question about his run-stopping ability with NFL Network's Mike Mayock calling him a "downhill thumper."
Adding a player like Bullough and pairing him with Kiko Alonso, who excels in pass coverage but struggles against the run, could mask each player's weakness. This would provide Jim Schwartz more flexibility when matching against opposing offenses.
Projected Round: 7
With the injuries the Bills had in the secondary this year, it wouldn't hurt for the team to add some depth at the position. One player the Bills should consider is Carrington Byndom out of Texas, who was named to the All-Big 12 second team.
Rob Rang of CBS Sports talked about concern over his lack of size (5'11", 180 pounds) but wrote "his agility and hand-eye coordination quickly established him as a cornerback to think twice about challenging."
Over his collegiate career he has had to face some top quarterbacks like Robert Griffin III and Miami Dolphins' starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who he intercepted and returned for a touchdown in 2011. Adding him to a position group that already includes Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin and Nickell Robey would help solidify the team's depth.
Projected Round: 7
What the Bills decide to do with free agent Scott Chandler will impact how the team addresses the tight end position. If they decide not to bring him back, tight end is something that will need to be addressed earlier in the draft. However if Chandler is brought back, Jordan Najvar could be a good developmental tight end to play alongside Chandler.
Baylor typically does not utilize the tight end position so Najvar did not put up impressive stats in college. But standing at 6'6", Najvar could be the big red-zone target the Bills are looking for. He had an impressive week at the East-West Shrine Game and Bleacher Report's Michael Schottey took notice of his play in the game.
Projected Round: 6-7
Probably the biggest weakness of the Buffalo offense last season was the poor play of the offensive line. The team gave up the fourth highest sack total last year with 48 and struggled getting push on the goal line on run plays.
The guard position, especially left guard, was particularly weak and is something that can be addressed in this draft. John Urschel started 24 consecutive games over the past two seasons for Penn State and was named to the All-Big 10 team.
That wasn't the only recognition he received this year, also winning the William V. Campbell award which Gregg Doyel describes as the "academic Heisman". Adding Urschel to this team would provide offensive line depth behind Kraig Urbik and wouldn't be a surprise if he was competing for a starting role.
Projected Round: 7
Logan Thomas did not impress at the Senior Bowl and looked outmatched the whole game. This did not help his draft stock which has dropped into the seventh round. However if the Bills were able to get him at the end he could be worth a flyer for the Bills looking for a back-up quarterback to develop behind EJ Manuel.
Thomas and Manuel have very similar body types with Thomas standing 6'6" and 250 pounds and Manuel at 6'4" and 234 pounds. Both quarterbacks bring a similar skill set and if Manuel were to go down with an injury, Doug Marrone would not have to change the offensive philosophy.
This is not a player who could step in this year or even next, but given time to develop in practice and learn from the sideline he could help the team in the future.
Projected Round: 4-5
Seantrel Henderson physically looks like a dominating figure (standing at 6'7" and 331 pounds) and has enormous potential. However, off-the-field issues and some technique problems have dropped him down into the latter half of the draft.
One area Henderson excelled in when he was on the field was his run-blocking and this is an area Buffalo could improve on. In Rob Rang's scouting report he wrote, "Henderson is even more impressive in the running game, where he can surprise defenders with his ability to reach them and his strength to latch on and control is impressive."
Rang goes on to compare Henderson to Chargers' tackle D.J. Fluker, who was drafted in the first round last season. There are some concerns, primarily off the field, but if Buffalo feels confident in their ability to correct that, Henderson would be a steal in the fifth round.
Projected Round: 5-6
The last time the Bills drafted a tall wide receiver from Indiana, it did not work out so well with the selection of James Hardy. This should not scare the Bills away from Cody Latimer who could bring a lot to a wide receiver group that was lacking in size.
This would be another player that might take some time to develop, but at 6'2" and 215 pounds, could be a threat for the Bills offense in the red zone. There is a great deal of upside for Latimer according to Derek Stephens' scouting report, with his weaknesses being something that could be overcome with the right coaching:
STRENGTHS: Possesses thick, athletic-looking frame and an impressive speed/agility combination that enable him to separate consistently as a route-runner, and extend plays after the catch both in space and on contact. Flashes soft hands and good coordination when asked to extend and pluck the ball off his frame, and positions his body nicely when adjusting to balls thrown off stride.
Flashes the physicality and initial quickness to develop into a receiver who could beat press coverage at the next level, and is a willing blocker in the running game with room to improve his technique there.
WEAKNESSES: Occasional concentration issues leading to drops. Though Latimer exhibits burst and hip-sink to separate out of cuts, he seems to lack a second gear when asked to pull away vertically and may struggle to consistently threaten the top of the defense. As a route-runner, lacks precision at times as he'll round off his cuts, and he needs to get better at working his way back to the ball on hitches and comeback routes.