After a decade of busts, poor scouting, and terrible personnel draft decisions on behalf of the Buffalo Bills, it is time to look ahead at the 2010 NFL Draft. The Bills have multiple holes to fill, most notably at Quarterback, a position fans want addressed right away with a first round pick, most likely in the top ten.
While watching college football, I always ask myself whether any of these top ranked guys will be able to make the transition to become top caliber performers in the NFL, a league where defenses are bigger, stronger, faster, and have higher football knowledge than themselves.
College Football offenses are totally different than that used by NFL teams. The spread offense and the option which allows most NCAA quarterbacks to succeed, does not translate to a pro-style attack.
After over viewing the team, I came to the conclusion that the Bills need improvement on the offensive line, a shutdown defensive tackle, an outside linebacker that can make plays and finish tackles, as well as a top notch quarterback.
The Bills are 4-8 as of now, and I am projecting they finish at 5-11, which would put them at about the 7th or 8th overall pick.
Who do they pick?
Jimmy Clausen, Sam Bradford, and Jake Locker are currently the top ranked quarterbacks by Mel Kiper Jr.
Clausen is expected to be the first quarterback to come off the board, most likely by the St. Louis Rams. The Washington Redskins have been looking for a quarterback since last year when they publicly expressed interest in USC's Mark Sanchez. Jason Campbell, however, has stepped up his play—although their 3-9 record doesn't show it.
If the Redskins don't select Locker with their pick, I would be elated, as I believe Jake Locker is one of the only Quarterbacks that could make the transition and be successful.
Jake Locker 6'3 226 lbs, Washington
Jake Locker is an athletic beast, and looks like the prototypical quarterback. He has a great skill set, and performs with a sub par supporting cast surrounding him. With a little improvement on reading his progressions, I believe he could be a great addition to the Bills.
It is no secret that the Buffalo Bills have one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, which is a major factor in the team being ranked 29th in total offense.
The addition of a solid tackle would fill the void left by Jason Peters, along with the development of rookie guards Eric Wood and Andy Levitre would be an instant improvement, allowing the quarterback more time in the pocket, as well as opening holes for the rush.
Russell Okung 6'5 326 lbs Oklahoma State University
Russell Okung has been a dominating force at the tackle position for OSU, and is definitely one of the main reasons for their success. His combination of quick and smooth footwork, as well as his overpowering strength could easily translate to the NFL.
He has very long arms and gains leverage on pass rushers, taking them out of the play.He is a decent run blocker, but his strength is defending the pass rush.
Last season he recorded 71 knockdowns, and 27 "dominating" knockdowns. With another 10-20 lbs on his already gigantic frame, he could be an elite tackle for a team who desperately needs to fill the void at the position.
Trent Williams 6'5 318 Oklahoma
Trent Williams is another tackle that is ranked very highly by Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay. He is extremely versatile, and plays both right and left tackle. He is a dominating run blocker, but needs to improve his pass protection.
Last season, he had 131 knockdowns, 18 of which coming in the National Champtionship against Florida
Williams stock may drop due to his countless false start penalties, (something Bills fans are all too familiar with!) but could be developed in to a top tier tackle at either side with the right coaching.
Other notable tackles of interest are Anthony Davis of Rutgers, who is 6'6 325. Davis is a psychical speciman and a devastating force at the position, but he may stay another year to improve his 2011 draft stock. Charles Brown of USC is another tackle that with development, could be one of the most dominating tackles. He is also 6'6 318, but he may also stay another year in sunny California.
The Buffalo Bills have allowed 10 running backs to eclipse 80 or more yards on the ground throughout 13 games, mainly due to numerous defensive injury, but lack of skill as well.
Marcus Stroud is actually the only starter on defense to not be injured. His partner, Kyle Williams has been showing signs of ability and tackling skills, but the team needs a dominating force alongside Stroud if they want to improve their disgusting run defense.
Now I know all of you have heard about and seen the star Ndamokung Suh, and I would be ecstatic to have him, but the Bills aren't that bad enough to get him.
But who else is out there?
Gerald McCoy 6'4 297 lbs Oklahoma
Gerald McCoy is an elite defensive tackle in the NCAA, but has not been mentioned, simply because of the spectacular play of Suh. McCoy almost entered the NFL Draft last season, but decided to stay another year to increase his stock. It worked.
McCoy has incredible speed for his weight, and is explosive at the snap. He exhibits incredible work ethic and leadership skills, as well as all the intangibles teams look for in a defensive leader.
He is constantly forcing the quarterback out of the pocket, and also has the endurance to play every down. With a little weight and improvement in swim moves, he could be just as good as Suh.
Terrance Cody 6'5 360 lbs Alabama
Known as "Mount Cody" to Crimson Tide fans, Terrance has been the backbone of the defense that is headed to the NCAA National Championship. Cody is one of the greatest if not the best run stopper in the nation. But run defense is all that you will get from him. He has no sacks, but still pressures the quarterback into making bad decisions.
As a Bills fan I could care less how many sacks he records, because we need a dominant run stopper. For a man of his size, Terrance Cody has great agility and is extremely agile, which is why he is so good at stopping the run.
Arthur Jones 6'4 293 lbs Syracuse
Arthur Jones is a currently a work in progress, due to his weight, but he has the basis of a solid defensive tackle. I am sure he will be putting down a couple whoppers before the combine, but he could be a steal if he drops to the 2nd or 3rd round.
I have watched him play in a couple games and he has great strength for his smaller frame, and has the ability to move guards from their positions, forcing quarterbacks out of the pocket.
Jared Odrick 6'4 306 lbs Penn State
To make it simple, I absolutely love this guy. I'm sure fellow Nittany Lions Paul Posluzny and rookie Aaron Maybin would also love him in red, white, and blue as well.
Odrick has incredible strength and speed, and is an excellent pass rusher. He is not ranked as high as Suh or McCoy, but whatever team he winds up on will be better with him.
Last season, he recorded 9.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, and forced a fumble. Just imagining him with Stroud and Williams makes me happy, because he could also be a potential steal, pending his performance at the combine.
Throughout the entire year, Buffalo's linebackers have been cursed with injuries. In fact, it became such a problem that safeties are taking over the position.
In fact Kawika Mitchell, Paul Posluzny, and Keith Ellison went down. When Middle Linebacker Marcus Buggs came in, there were signs of hope due to his solid play...until he went down as well.
All season long, Buffalo's linebackers have been missing easy tackles, allowing huge rush yardage, and losing games. Linebackers are supposed to be the heart and soul of a defense, yet the Bills' inconsistency at the position has lead them to their current 5-8 record.
Yes, we did draft Aaron Maybin last season, and is also a work in progress, but all Bills fans, as well as Ralph Wilson Jr. want results now.
Sergio Kindle 6'4 245 Texas
Sergio Kindle is a versatile outside linebacker, who has the strength to compete with tackles at the defensive end position as well. Watch a Texas game, and you will see him on the ball holder every down. He can rush the quarterback and he has the speed to keep up with Tight Ends and Running Backs.
Kindle is one of the most explosive blitzers I have seen this season, and is aggressive while getting to the ball. He will be one of the top Outside Linebackers taken this season, and will be have a significant impact on which ever team takes him.
Sean Weatherspoon 6'1 245 Missouri
Sean Weatherspoon was nominated for the Butkus Award, as was Sergio Kindle. Weatherspoon is the play-maker for Mizzou, and has incredible instincts and football knowledge for his age. Last season he recorded a whopping 155 tackles, 19 of which were for a loss, as well as intercepting three passes and five sacks.
At 245 lbs, he runs a 4.5 40 yard dash, and has great agility and can jump for balls. He is a great team leader, and has been one of the lone success stories of Missouri football.
Navorro Bowman 6'1 230 lbs Penn State
Another Penn State linebacker, Bowman is dominating to say the least about his role as a Nittany Lion. He is a star 4-3 linebacker, the same scheme the Buffalo Bills utilize, and has excellent tackling skills, which is what Buffalo needs now. His only downside is that he has had multiple off the field issues with the law, but that is common with Bills players(i.e Marshawn Lynch).
Another Linebacker I believe would help the Bills as a role player is North Carolina's Bruce Carter. At 6'3 230 lbs, he is always the one to make the big play. He has been a stud since his freshman year, and has the skills for coverage as well as pass rushing and run stopping.
Lets face it; Terrell Owens isn't getting younger, and Lee Evans simply cannot be the superstar wide-out the Bills need. If Buffalo were to let Terrell Owens find a new team this off-season, the Bills could be right back where they started.
Sure, there are a few small name free agent wideouts that could be signed, but the Bills are full of surprises.
There have been rumors of interest in suspended Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant. Buffalo needs a top wide-out, and Dez is definitely one of the top future prospects, even after missing his senior year.
Bryant is 6'2 and weighs 217 lbs, and has the skills to be a game changing play maker. Just ask Deion Sanders.
Bryant is surely a top-15 pick, but there is a slim chance Buffalo could decide to draft a skill position player, rather than improving the core of the team.
WHAT THE BILLS NEED ON DAY ONE
1st Round- QB Jake Locker or OT Russell Okung
The Bills have a solid secondary on the defensive side of the ball, and offensive weapons. They need players that can allow these weapons to shine.
I pray for Jake Locker to be on the board when the Bills are on the clock, but I would be equally pleased if we picked up Russell Okung. Whoever the Quarterback is, they need to be protected.
With Levitre and Wood having a season under their belt, as well as Brad Butler returning, Russell Okung could be the key piece Buffalo needs to complete their horrible offensive line.
2nd Round- DT Jared Odrick or Navorro Bowman
Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy may have taken some of the spotlight off of the other premier defensive tackles in the NCAA, which could lead to Jared Odrick and Navorro Bowman falling to the second round.
Both Bowman and Odrick would be a solid tackle to fill the gaps alongside Stroud and Williams, as well as the youngster Aaron Maybin, leading to a great defensive front for the Bills.
Who would you like to see in a Bills uniform in 2010?