The National Football League's 2011 draft is tomorrow, and the Buffalo Bills hold the No. 3 overall pick. Their roster is in need of playmakers in several positions, and have a wide variety of prospects to choose from.
While it is expected that the Bills will be focusing on drafting defensive players after struggling with transitioning to the 3-4 last year, they still need an offensive line, a quarterback and a tight end.
Predicting the ultimate choice will be challenging, but speculation has revolved around a shrinking handful of players.
As of now, it seems like the Buffalo Bills are leaning towards selecting Texas A&M's pass rushing specialist, Von Miller. Aaron Maybin, a high first-round draft pick in 2009, has been a complete bust, and Miller would bring the heat on opposing quarterbacks.
Buffalo did sign former Pro Bowler, Shawne Merriman, after he was placed on waivers, but adding Miller would bring a lot of depth and skill to the Bills' linebacking group that has struggled for years.
As an Aggie, Miller racked up 182 tackles, 50.5 tackles for a loss and 33 sacks in his four years.
He stands at 6'3" and weighs around the 255-260 range, but has unbelievable speed and hustle, and could make Bills fans remember the days when Bruce Smith was punishing quarterbacks in the early 90's.
The Bills' defense ranked worst against the run, allowing about 170 yards per game on the ground, and really need a big gap-stuffer to take some of the workload off of nose tackle, Kyle Williams.
Buffalo released Marcus Stroud, who converted to defensive end last year, leaving Dwan Edwards, Williams, Spencer Johnson, Torell Troup and Alex Carrington as the lone defensive linemen on the roster.
Dareus is one of the top prospects in the draft, and if he falls to the Bills, there is no question that he will and should be the pick.
At 6'4" 304 pounds, he would be a solid run defender and make a fearsome tandem with Kyle Williams.
The Bills secondary was primed to be an elite corps of guys this past season, after free safety Jairus Byrd was coming off of a nine interception rookie campaign and cornerback Leodis McKelvin "developing." The Bills have one of the best ranked pass defenses in the league; however, their league-worst run defense inflates that number significantly.
So why add another skill position, especially at cornerback where we have Leodis McKelvin and Terrence McGee? Well, McGee is getting up there in age and hasn't been able to stay healthy in recent years, while McKelvin never really developed into the top tier corner the Bills thought they had when they grabbed him in a draft class that featured Arizona Cardinals corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Peterson, who stands 6'2", weighing in at 222 pounds, has blazing speed, the strength to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage, and the ball skills to break up passes. Add a few pounds to him and he can move to safety, which would bring a ton of versatility to the defense. He can play the run and is a force on special teams.
At LSU, he racked up 135 tackles, while intercepting seven passes, all while teams weren't throwing at him. He added another 70 kick/punt returns for 1,350 yards, scoring four times.
I know, I know. Steve Johnson had a breakout year last season, while Roscoe Parrish flourished in his play in the slot. Lee Evans is still a viable threat, and David Nelson looks like a promising wideout.
Oh yeah, forgot about the undrafted rookie Donald Jones, who has been absolutely stunning in his special teams play and looked solid in his limited play toward the end of the season. "Rookie" Marcus Easley, who was placed on injured reserve prior to the preseason will also figure into the Bills' offense.
Scouts drool over Green's game-changing play and compared the Georgia standout to Calvin and Andre Johnson. At 6'4" and 212 pounds, Green could command the double team, allowing the Bills to operate a pretty nasty spread attack featuring Stevie and Green on the outside, with Evans and Parrish in the seams.
Green missed the first four games of the 2010 season due to suspension and still managed to record 57 receptions for 848 yards, while scoring nine touchdowns; and for the record, in those four games Green missed, Georgia went 1-3.
In his three years at Georgia, he caught 166 passes for 2,619 yards and 23 touchdowns.
While Green doesn't fit a "need," he is definitely a prospect worth looking at and will open up the rushing attack for C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson.
Newton is entering the draft as a junior, and last season was the only year he saw the field after transferring from University of Florida to Blinn Junior College, then finally to Auburn. Despite the lack of experience under his belt, the 6'5" 250-pounder managed to complete 185 of his 280 pass attempts for 2,854 yards, while tossing 30 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. Furthermore, he added another 1,473 yards on 264 rushes, scoring another 20 touchdowns.
There is no doubting his talent, but what I am doubting is how he chooses to use that talent once he signs that rookie deal (and the Under Armour one). Will he take the constant scrutiny and defamation as motivation? Or will he go the Jamarcus Russell route, sign the check and become complacent?
He has the athleticism to work under coach Chan Gailey's offense, but he will really need to be coached up to be an elite quarterback.
When Stanford quarterback, Andrew Luck, declared he was returning for another year in school, Missouri's Blaine Gabbert shot up draft boards.
However, he had a pretty uninspiring 2010 season, throwing just 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions, in an offense that usually allows the quarterback to have gaudy stats. Gabbert did complete 62.2 percent of his passes while leading the Tigers to a 10-2 record.
His decision making is solid, but he tends to check down too often, rather than take chances downfield, like Ryan Fitzpatrick does.