This offseason the Buffalo Bills have been relatively quiet, only signing former Oakland Raiders right tackle Cornell Green a week ago. Defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy and offensive lineman, Wade Smith, were also courted by the Bills, but chose to sign with the Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans, respectively.
The rest of the NFL, on the other hand, has been very active in signing players, and this could greatly affect the way teams address the draft this April. A week ago, the Cleveland Browns were expected to target Notre Dame quarterback, Jimmy Clausen, with their No. 7 pick, but the recent signing of Jake Delhomme could have GM Mike Holmgren eyeing safety Eric Berry instead.
Assuming the Seattle Seahawks, who pick ahead of the Bills, opt for a choice other than Clausen, this could drop him to the Bills at No. 9. The need for an offensive line is clear, but turning down a prospect like Clausen could prove fatal for the team in the future.
Critics of Clausen comment on his seemingly dull leadership ability, and suggest that he has already reached his peak, due to his development under Charlie Weis at Notre Dame. However, I think that this makes him an even more promising prospect than Oklahoma's Sam Bradford, who is projected to go to the Rams at No. 1.
His play has improved in each year in the pro-style offense, and this past season, Clausen passed for 3,722 yards and connected for 28 touchdowns, earning a stellar 161.4 QB rating.
Clausen has proven that he can play under the pressure of large crowds, as well as exhibiting great arm strength. At 6'3", 223 lbs, he has the size to absorb big hits from pass rushers as well.
The need for a left tackle is clear, but if it Clausen trickles down to the No. 9 pick, the Bills need to really consider him as the franchise quarterback of the future, and address the tackle position in the second round. As this will be a dreadful, rebuilding season anyways, I would prefer Clausen on the bench, while Edwards or Fitzpatrick run for their lives while the line continues to develop.