The Buffalo Bills are in a position where they cannot afford to miss on any of their selections in the upcoming 2011 NFL Draft. In my last two pieces, I went over prospects the Bills could be targeting in the first round, including Cam Newton, A.J. Green, Marcel Dareus, and a few others.
Now, I will present another two part series, evaluating six more prospects the front office at One Bills Drive may be eying with their third selection in the second round.
DE/DT Marvin Austin, North Carolina
Marvin Austin was atop most draft boards around the web prior to the season, however, after being dismissed from the University of North Carolina's football team, along with several other highly touted prospects, Austin's stock has fallen rapidly.
At 6'3" 212 pounds, Austin is a mean and nasty lineman the Bills could use immediately, if they choose to go in another direction with their No. 3 overall pick.
He is solid in stopping the run, and commands multiple blockers at times, allowing teammates to make plays.
Austin had a solid performance in the Senior Bowl, which showed his commitment to staying in "football shape" throughout his off-the-field ordeals, but he still has a lot to prove at the Scouting Combine.
In his three years playing for the Tarheels, Austin recorded 103 tackles, nine sacks, while forcing a fumble, and intercepting a pass that he returned for a touchdown.
TE Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame
Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph also missed most of the 2010-2011 season with a leg injury. He fought through the injury for the first five games of the year, catching 28 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns, but couldn't continue after that.
With the National Football League turning more and more to spread offenses, utilizing tight ends, the Bills are in dire need of a guy who can do it all from blocking, to catching the zero routes down the seams.
Shawn Nelson was supposed to be that guy when the Bills selected him in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL Draft, but injuries and competition haven't allowed him to flourish to his full potential.
Rudolph is still the highest rated tight end on most draft boards despite his injury, which indicates that he may not fall this far to the second round, yet the Bills seem to be the only team in the league without a viable, go-to tight end, which may allow him to slip down the board.
In his career at Notre Dame, Rudolph made 90 receptions for 1,032 yards, scoring eight touchdowns. He will have to have some great workouts to prove that his leg is ready to go, but I would be content with Buffalo selecting him in the second round.
G Mike Pouncey, Florida
Brother of Maurkice Pouncey, the rookie standout center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mike is a solid guard, and with talks of Bills guard Eric Wood moving back to his natural position of center, where he played at Louisville, Mike Pouncey would give the Buffalo offensive line the beef and bulk coach Chan Gailey desires.
At 6'5" 320 pounds, Pouncey would be an immediate upgrade to the Bills run blocking, which struggled heavily last year after the constant changes with Wood, Andy Levitre, Cordero Howard, Chad Rinehart, and Kraig Urbik all manning the guard position throughout the year.