The Buffalo Bills have had high picks in recent years, selecting third, ninth, 11th twice, 12th and eighth in the past six drafts. No matter where Buffalo is slated to select in the 2012 NFL Draft, there are certain positions of need that are already glaring before the 2011 season even kicks off.
General manager Buddy Nix and head coach Chan Gailey are now laying down the foundation by picking Marcell Dareus to play alongside Kyle Williams in the 3-4. Without the foundation, there would be no leaks to seal. The team can now focus on putting players around its last two first-round selections in order for the team to thrive.
Here are players that the Bills should keep an eye on throughout their college seasons.
Coples is a leftover from Butch Davis' successful recruting. He's a big body at 6'6" and close to 290 pounds that reminds some of former Tar Heel Julius Peppers. While the athleticism of Coples isn't on the same level of Peppers, he can get to quarterbacks.
Buffalo hasn't had a player with more than eight sacks since 2003. Standing Coples up in a 3-4 is something Bills' scouts would have the defensive end do in pre-draft drills to see the potential in their system.
Kalil is a super athletic left tackle currently blocking for future NFL quarterback Matt Barkley in Lane Kiffin's pro-style offense. Nix could get a gift that keeps on giving to his former high draft picks like C.J. Spiller.
The jury is still out on Ryan Fitzpatrick as Buffalo's future quarterback, but assuming he has a good season, Kalil would keep him upright for deep passes to Stevie Johnson. The offensive line for the Bills is the worst in the league. Center Eric Wood, picked 28th in 2009, is the only piece set in stone up front.
Potter is a smart redshirt senior that would provide at least solid play for the Bills. Boise State's system breeds wise on-field players that have low bust potential, and that could be exactly what Gailey needs right now for his system.
Andrew Luck's left tackle is very talented (not to mention intelligent, given Stanford's academic standards). Martin's size is prototypical at 6'6" and 305 pounds, and he can easily take on finesse rushers.
He'll have to improve against bull rushing like that of Cameron Wake, but he'd definitely start right away like the other offensive line prospects. It will come down to whom the front office prefers out of all the line talent.
Speaking of that Cardinal quarterback, Luck will easily be the best player in the 2012 draft and his senior season doesn't even have to be played. His dad is speculated to have hard feelings towards the organization.
Hopefully his son wouldn't pull a John Elway or Eli Manning if he were to be selected by the Bills.
With that said, there will be worse teams in the league than Buffalo this season. If Nix happens to get the No. 1 pick, he'll find a way to get low-end draft picks out of Fitzpatrick from a team that isn't "fortunate" enough to have the selection.