Assigning Odds to Every Potential Buffalo Bills 1st-Round Pick
The Bills are in an interesting position, as they could go in a number of different directions when they are on the clock at ninth overall in the first round. They have already addressed in free agency a number of their weaknesses from a year ago and given themselves a great deal of flexibility.
The following slides look at five players who should be on the Bills radar and the chances they end up being the pick. I created odds for each player based on the likelihood he would be the selection if he were available when the Bills are on the clock.
This is one pick that might come as a surprise especially since the Bills signed free agent Brandon Spikes to play middle linebacker. However, he is only signed to a one-year deal and if he was to leave after 2014 they would have an excellent linebacker ready to step in.
Mosley is arguably the most well-rounded linebacker in this draft and draws comparisons to Tampa Bay's LaVonte David from Bleacher Report's Matt Miller. If the Bills selected him and paired him with Kiko Alonso, they would have an excellent tandem at the linebacker position.
One of the bigger knocks on Mosley has been a concern about his durability. He battled a number of injuries during his time at Alabama but said in March that he did not have any medical "red flags."
If the Bills were to select Mosley, it would seem more like a luxury pick, as there are likely to be other players available who could contribute earlier than Mosley.
After not pursing any players in free agency, it seems like the plan for the Bills is to address the right tackle position in the draft.
If the top two tackle prospects, Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews, are off the board before the Bills pick, Michigan's Taylor Lewan should be in the discussion.
CBS Sports' player overview states that "with better technical coaching in an NFL environment, Lewan certainly possesses the raw tools that if combined with better technique and instincts, could lead him to long-term dominance at the tackle position."
This is something that he would definitely get in Buffalo playing under Doug Marrone, who has experience working with offensive linemen.
There is some concern about off-the-field issues with Lewan, who last month was charged with three misdemeanors stemming from a fight in December. This may not scare away Buffalo, though, who has shown a willingness to look past such incidents, like in last year's draft when they selected Kiko Alonso and Duke Williams.
Lewan should be available when the Bills select at No. 9 overall but probably won't be the pick if any of these next three players are still on the board.
The passing game for the Bills struggled last year, and one of the reasons was the offense didn't have a target who could stretch the field down the middle.
Scott Chandler did lead the team in receptions last year. However he is not nearly as athletically gifted as North Carolina's Eric Ebron.
Even though Ebron is clearly the top tight end prospect in this year's draft, he does not enter the NFL without weaknesses. Ebron did drop some passes and struggled in run-blocking at UNC.
Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke did a good job breaking these down these issues:
Dropped nearly 12 percent of the passes thrown his way, an unexpectedly high number that means he’ll leave folks frustrated from time to time. By his own admission, must improve as a run blocker, especially if the team that drafts him wants to use him as a No. 1 tight end. Should be better than he is making grabs in traffic, which could help explain to some extent his very low TD total.
The potential is there for Ebron to be a dominating force from the tight end position, and he would bring a new dimension to the Bills offense.
The need for a big body wide receiver may have already been addressed by the Bills when they traded with Tampa Bay for Mike Williams.
However, there is some uncertainty beyond this upcoming season if Williams struggles as he did last year after getting a hefty contract extension. If this happens, Buffalo could once again be in the market for a big target at wide receiver.
This is why there is the potential that Mike Evans could still be the Bills' selection even after the Williams trade. Evans has shown ability at Texas A&M to be able to go up and make catches above defenders, and he was able to regularly box out and get position on defenders, particularly in the red zone.
The concern, though, is whether he can continue to use his size against bigger NFL cornerbacks. As Bleacher Report's Matt Miller mentions in the video, Evans does not have great speed, so it is imperative that he is able to bring that same level of physicality to the NFL.
The right tackle position for the Bills is the biggest weakness entering the draft and if Jake Matthews is still available at nine, it is hard to imagine that they would pass on him. He is the most polished tackle entering this draft and could step in from Day 1 and start at right tackle.
The one thing that could benefit EJ Manuel more than weapons like Ebron or Evans would be time in the pocket to read defenses and work through progressions. The Bills would be able to give Manuel that time if they selected Matthews to play opposite of Cordy Glenn at left tackle.
The son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, Jake has the look like he may be on his way to having a career similar to his father. If that is the case, Buffalo may not have to worry about the offensive tackle position for many years to come.
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