Two warnings right up front: This is my opinion, my opinion only. It is based upon watching many games last fall, the Senior Bowl game and the workouts, and the NFL Combine.
I daresay this is going to be controversial at best, potentially very unpopular at worst. But here goes.
To deny that the Bills are in disarray and need to fill many holes would be naive. To say that smart maneuvering and picks in this draft could potentially start the franchise back in the right direction would be understating its importance.
Problem is, this has decidedly been one of the main problems with the Bills in the last 10 years.
So, exactly what is it that I would like to see the team do?
For starters, I don't want the team to pick ninth. I want them to trade down. Twice if necessary.
I would like to see the team with a low first-round pick, keep their second round pick, and add one more pick in the top half of the second round as well as the third round.
Now, what to do with those picks, and why is it so controversial?
This is where it gets tricky. Much depends on how the board falls to them, along with how players rise and fall between now and the draft. Let's start with the positions I'd want to fill with those first three picks.
With the defense switching over to a "34" base, a space eating nose tackle is an absolute must.
A true left tackle for the offensive line is a huge need, and it is time, once and for all, to do something about the vacancy at quarterback that has been there since the retirement of Jim Kelly.
Filling these positions is essential to beginning any reversal in fortune for this team. I'm not saying true left tackles are a dime a dozen, but it is my belief that the other two positions are generally much harder to fill.
Effective nose tackles aren't the easiest guys to find, and I think we all know how difficult franchise quarterbacks are to get. So those two positions would be my first two picks.
So, with that low first round pick, I'm going to roll the dice in a big way. My pick would be Terrence Cody out of Alabama.
He is the prototype at the position, and based on his work from the Senior Bowl to present he seems to understand how critical it will be for him to keep his weight under control. Cody should give the Bills exactly what they need at nose tackle.
Now, for the second round. Bear in mind, there are extra picks in the second and third rounds based upon the earlier moves made.
I'm watching the board carefully at this point, ready to make a deal if necessary with these picks to get the guy I want, because I view him as the key to the Bills draft.
With the Bills first pick in the second round, my choice is quarterback Tim Tebow out of Florida. Here's where the controversy may come up, but I feel that this pick is very defendable.
For long time fans of the game and the draft process, we know that one thing scouts talk a great deal about with quarterbacks is "that intangible it." They can't always describe, it define it or put it into words, but they know it when they see it.
If Tim Tebow doesn't have that "it" factor, then I don't know who ever would. Even for the many of you who don't like him, his work ethic and attitude cannot be questioned. He is a gym rat and a game film addict. His leadership skills are above reproach as well.
Some of you will talk about the throwing motion and the supposed lack of arm strength. So, let's address those.
I am not going to deny his throwing motion is elongated. I've stated on here more than once I found it to be much like Byron Leftwich's in that it is, like a baseball pitcher's, a full windup.
But before seeing him unveil his new throwing motion, I am willing to believe that he'll successfully be able to alter it by eliminating the initial part of it where he drops his arm to his hip by holding his arm above or at his shoulder at the start of the process.
For those who've ever played a sport, it's called "muscle memory," and contrary to common opinion, you can retrain your muscles to instinctively do things differently than before, provided you have the work ethic to do so. Tebow does.
Many say Tim Tebow lacks arm strength. This I vehemently disagree with. One throw scouts, personnel men and coaches all look for is the 20-yard out. They feel that if a quarterback can get this one pass there on time and on target, he's got the arm strength they want.
I saw Tebow complete this pass, on time and on the money many times this past fall. While I'd be lying if I said I knew he had been able to do so in seasons past, I would still submit that now is what matters, and he can assuredly do it now.
Regarding some of the other things I've heard or seen said about Tebow, if he's so inaccurate a quarterback, then why is his career completion percentage at Florida over 65 percent? It's not like that isn't perfectly acceptable for an NFL quarterback, after all.
Besides, with 88 career touchdowns to 16 career interceptions, I think you can say he's not careless with the ball. My honest opinion is that he will be an excellent NFL quarterback after a year or so of watching. I'm willing to invest the time.
Now, with the Bills next pick, I'm ready to draft that offensive tackle. My choice out of the University of Massachusetts is Vladimir Ducasse.
At six foot four, 332 pounds with 34.75-inch arms, with good body control, quick feet and agility, all he needs is some good strong coaching and experience to become a good left tackle at the pro level.
I realize that I've only concentrated on the Bills first three picks. This is because I view these three choices as the key to whether or not the Bills upgrade their personnel enough to begin to turn the ship around, or if it continues to flounder.
This isn't to say the other picks are not important, because they are. But you have to hit on your high picks to succeed in the NFL, and that is why I wanted to break down these important choices.
Let the controversy begin!