Originally posted on Buffalo Wins  |  Last updated 4/23/13
I have to admit, I've been really slacking on stealing people's info on the draft and passing it on as my own like 9/10 experts/fans do. For those who don't know, I'm not exactly the biggest fan of the build up to the NFL Draft. I think it is an event everyone pretends to be an expert in and when they get a pick wrong during a mock or declare this player is going to be elite when they fizzle out, no one calls them out for it down the road. From reading the tea leaves to stocks going up and down, it just feels a bit contrived for my taste. However, I understand why fans get into it. It is representation of hope. There are many instances where one draft pick can change the fortune of your franchise. Of course, you have to pick the right guys, which we all know hasn't exactly been the case in the (716). Buddy Nix is about to embark on his 4th draft as grand poobah of the Bills. His first three years on the drafting job has been, um, average...to put it kindly. Aside from CJ Spiller, his 2010 Draft looks like a fricken disaster. 2011? Dareus hasn't hit his stride, but looks decent; While Aaron Williams is the most hated man on Twitter. Other than those two, it consists of some guys starting, albeit, not making too much of an impact yet. Last year's draft honestly looks like the more complete one with Glenn and Gilmore. Of course, I put a giant asterisk next to all of them by saying you need a good 3 years to know what you have with a draft class. But the early returns haven't been favorable for Buddy. As for the Bills draft this year, well, they have a lot of holes. WR is what I'd put up as the biggest need. For CBs, I still hate the idea of Leodis McKelvin starting. OL? I don't know if Corbin Lacina or Tutan Reyes are starting at left guard. We don't have a franchise QB. The LBs are inexperienced. Pretty much the Bills could go anywhere with their first pick and they would be plugging in a hole. To me, this draft is going to have offense written all over it. I had the stat last year that the Bills were the only NFL team that didn't have a 1st or 2nd round pick dedicated to WRs, TEs, and QBs. That's pretty remarkable. Since Buddy has been here, 11 of his 27 picks have been on the offensive side of the ball. Only five of them still are still on the team (TJ Graham, Cordy Glenn, Zebrie Sanders, CJ Spiller and Marcus Easily). If you look at the remaining players, would it shock you to see two of those guys gone by the end of training camp or even after this year? Not only have they been more defensive oriented in the draft, they have done the same in the FA market. Since 2010, Buddy has signed FAs Dwan Edwards, Andra Davis, Brad Smith, Nick Barnett, Erik Pears (Waivers), Kraig Urbik (Waivers) Kirk Morrison, Mario Williams, Mark Anderson, Alan Branch and Manny Lawson.  As you can see, Brad Smith shouldn't be your offensive crown jewel in free agency. Maybe it was the arrogance of Chan Gailey thinking he can turn water into wine, but that can't happen anymore. Call it a hunch, but  I think the Bills will go offense with the majority of their picks. As for trading down, the Bills haven't traded down since the 2001 Draft. They also haven't traded back into the first round since 2006. You can even goto the 90s, when Buddy Nix was still on the Bills staff, as they didn't trade up or down during that decade. Buddy just doesn't seem like a river boat gambler. As for Nix's track record in San Diego, they traded down in first round in 2001, 2003 and 2004. Now two of those instances (Vick and Eli) had to do with a contract squabble and Eli not digging Southern Cal. The only draft day trade Nix has done here was when he gave up a 7th round pick to move up in the 3rd round to select Graham. Any hoot, I'm done giving you a history lesson, let's start mocking. BTW, I am not an expert and this is mostly for ***** and giggles sake with a splash of stats. For the most part, this is really the first time I have sat down and tried to figure out where the Bills will go in the draft. I've probably read only 4-5 mock drafts and have avoided much of ESPN. I've also watched about 20 minutes of college football this year and totally forgot which players visited 1 Bills Drive. In other words, this is ********. Frankly, I hate when my mind is influenced by Mockers or trying to read too many of Buddy's damn tea leaves. It is all BS with a splash of entertainment. However, I do love it when " Wannabe Experts" fall in love with a player for months and once a "Somewhat legit expert" or Buddy Nix ***** on that player, they change their tune. It is hilarious. My research consists of going to the Big Board at CBS Sports and picking my guys from there. Yes, I'm not gonna fake it, kids. However, I think this mock will make you guys think a little. Bills on the clock for the 8th pick Buddy Nix has always said he's in the business of picking the best player available. That has been his MO since he's been here. I just can't believe that Matt Barkley and Ryan Nassib have risen this far up the draft board since the season ended. I think when you combine the desperation of the fan base with the fact that QBs will always move the needle in TV/Radio ratings, people tend to overrate the position going into the draft. If I'm going to read the tea leaves from the Bills draft luncheon, I think when Buddy asked rhetorically about picking a Kaepernick or Wilson with the 8th pick, he was talking about getting value from the position in the later rounds. In other words, maybe he was implying you can find guys later. As for the depth chart, if the consensus is that the Bills will have a choice between Nassib, Barkley and Smith at 8, why on earth would you sign two veteran QBs? It doesn't make sense. The standard rookie vs. veteran training camp battle is between two guys, not three. Find me a situation when it was between 3 guys and a incoming hotshot rookie. Very hard to find. Look at it this way, if the Bills grab Barkley, there's no way in hell they are letting him ride the bench and in that case, why do you need 2 veterans? To me, the Bills are rebuilding. They aren't going to be good this year no matter if they pick Nassib, Barkley or Drew Willy. They are 2-3 years away. So, why are they pressed into reaching for a QB and not the best player on the board? The biggest tea leave I took away from the luncheon was how high the Bills were on Tavon Austin. It was a bit random about how Whaley said he was on everyone's radar. Could it be a smokescreen to get someone to trade up to get him? Possibly. He seemed smitten by him. Austin looks to be someone you can line up in the slot or possible on the outside. He is a playmaker from what the experts say. To me, I think he's the best player on that board and you just can't go into the season with TJ Graham or Brad Smith as your #2 or #3 guy. The Bills will be running a lot of 3-wides and I think they need that game-breaker. As far as history goes, the Bills haven't drafted a WR in the 1st round since 2004 and I've always believed they value that position in terms of paying for it (See contracts for Moulds, Evans, Owens and Stevie) . As for Nix's history in SD, they only drafted one WR in the 1st round (Craig "Buster" Davis). Frankly, the Bills/Nix have a better track record in selecting WRs in the 2nd round (Bucky Brooks, Peerless Price, James Hardy, Roscoe Parrish and Josh Reed) than selecting guys in the 1st (Moulds and Evans) since 1994. In San Diego, Nix was involved in selcting two WRs in the 2nd round (Vincent Jackson and Reche Caldwell). History tells me the Bills should go WR and I think it is more about value and best player available. With the 8th pick, the Bills select Tavon Austin. Here's what CBS said about Tavon Austin: STRENGTHS: Video game-like athleticism with rare change of direction skills. Lateral explosion is something special, doing an excellent job sticking his foot in the ground and bursting in any direction. Knows how to change gears and turn on the jets to blow by others on the field. Very good start/stop ability with patience and vision to quickly survey and waste little time creating, always appearing to have a plan. Goes zero-to-60 in a flash and forces poor angles by defenders, following blocks and anticipating holes to set up his moves. Very good space player and extremely shifty and elusive with the balance and deceiving strength to stay on his feet through contact. Smaller target for defenders to square up and a tough ballcarrier to tackle in motion. Good body control to make tough catches look easy with quick hands to pluck. Fearless and confident going up for the ball. Tough, gutsy and can take a hit, working hard to get every yard. Versatile skill-set with experience all over the offense at running back and receiver, often used as a decoy. Dangerous return man and very good at weaving through defenders, playing with different gears that others on the field just don't have. Extremely productive with numerous school records, including career catches and all-purpose yards. Bills on the clock for the 41st pick As your history buff when it comes to drafting, I point to the 2001 draft when the Chargers selected Drew Brees in the 2nd round.  What made that pick work at the time was that the Chargers didn't have to start Brees from day 1 because they had Doug Flutie. To me, you can get away with not starting a rookie QB picked in the 2nd round. You can be patient with the guy. Since 2005, 12 QBs have been picked in the 2nd round and they have only started a combined 28 games during their rookie years. 25 of those games came with Andy Dalton and Jimmy Clausen starting during their rookie years with only Dalton getting the nod from day 1. Here's what Buddy Nix said two years ago about drafting a guy in the 2nd round: "I go back to San Diego, and I have to draw from that, but if you can do it the way we did with Drew Brees it makes it easier. If you can take a guy and sit him a year or two until he’s a knowledgeable and ready to play his success rate is going to be pretty high." Now, if my assumption of letting the guy sit for a year holds true, it then boils down to what type of QB does Buddy want. Since he's been here, Nix has been linked to liking Cam Newton, Tim Tebow, Vince Young (He gushed about him coming out of college) and Mike Vick (200 rumors about him coming here). He likes guys with strong arms who can move (Alright, Tebow sucks, but I think you get the point). I know EJ Manuel doesn't exactly fit the mold of QB for the west coast offense as many think he's extremely raw. I think what Buddy said was pretty clear the other day about him getting his accuracy more consistent. You could view it as a red flag, but I view it as Buddy saying he needs more grooming or patience. I'm going against the consensus once again.  With the 41st pick, the Bills select EJ Manuel Here's what CBS Sports says about him: Strengths: Looks the part with a solid frame and is an intelligent, articulate, mature young man well-suited to handling the role as the face of the franchise. Strong arm -- can make every throw, including some dazzling passes that only a small number of NFL quarterbacks can make. Accurate deep passer and has excellent touch overall. Flashes good to very good accuracy on in-breaking routes over the middle. A terror when he runs with the ball - he's much faster than his frame would indicate and can be a bullish runner as needed. Has a smooth, gliding style of running with deceptive top-end speed. Bills on the clock with 71st pick This is the part of the draft where we get to your CB portion. We all know Buddy loves to draft defensive backs. Since he's been the GM, he's drafted five defensive backs (3 of them selected from the 3rd-7th round). Go to his SD days and the number goes to 10 DBs. 2010 was the only year Buddy didn't draft a cornerback. If you factor his years here as GM and with San Diego, Nix's regimes have picked a defensive back within the first 3 rounds 8 out of 10 years. Right now, I can't see McKelvin, Brooks and Rogers as being your 2-4 CBs. They have to find someone who can be the 3rd guy or to push McKelvin. Nix has a history of liking big physical corners, but when you look at what Mike Pettine has had with the Jets, he wants pure CBs who just cover and can handle their own in 1-on-1 match-ups. So, let's try and compromise. With the 71st pick, the Bills select Darius Slay, CB, Mississipi State Ah, yes. The old SEC. Funny, the SEC rage was all that was talked about the last few years prior to the draft because of Buddy's connections, but since Marrone came in with his Cuse connections, the SEC talk has kind of taken a back burner. Time to get back on that bandwagon. Here's what CBS says about Slay: STRENGTHS: Possesses an athletic build with long arms. Good quickness, fluidity and straight-line speed. Better than expected route-recognition given his lack of experience and has natural coverage ability. Reads the quarterback's eyes and shows a burst to close on the ball. Times his leap nicely to compete for 50-50 balls, showing good hand-eye coordination to at least disrupt the pass. Experience as a kick returner is evident in his open field running ability. Has good vision and the patience to allow blocks to set up as well as enough athleticism to make opponents miss in the open field. WEAKNESSES: Only has one year of starting experience at the BCS level and had plenty of opportunities to make plays starting opposite Banks, an established star. Is better in coverage than he is as a run defender. Struggles to get off of blocks and shows less than ideal aggression as a tackler, overall. Has a tendency to duck his head and swipe at ball-carriers' legs, resulting in missed tackles. Bills on the clock for the 105th pick: Recently, Buddy Nix said he hopes to get at least 3 players to start from day 1 in the draft. That's a pretty high expectation when you go by his history here. Consider that only Stephon Gilmore and Marcell Dareus have started all 16 games as rookies. Some of those guys were eventually promoted (IE: Aaron Williams and Kelvin Sheppard), while others weren't ready at first (See: CJ Spiller and TJ Graham). Glenn was the other guy who started from day 1, but he didn't play all 16 games due to injury. Even though the majority haven't exactly started from day 1, the Bills still have a big hole as far as depth goes at left guard. I have no clue who the hell is on the depth chart. Some guy named Snow, right? Could they move Hairston inside or maybe Glenn? Possibly, but Hairston seems to be too tall to play guard and Buddy was pretty adamant about saying Glenn was a LT. To me, getting a guard is important not just because they don't exactly have a LG, but because Eric Wood's contract is up. Could they extend Wood? (Yuck!) Possibly. However, they may be a little gun shy because of his injury history. Under Nix, the Bills have used a lot of different line combinations with guys playing different positions. Remember, Wood was a guard when he first got here, only to then get moved to center. Andy Levitre was moved around due to injury. Hairston has played both RT and LT. They want diversity. So, I think they look for a guy who can play guard and center. If you look at history, the Bills under Nix and dating to his days in San Diego have selected 21 offensive lineman with only four of them going in rounds 1-3. Every year Buddy has been here, the Bills have picked an OL within rounds 4-5. With the 105th pick, the Bills select Barrett Jones, Center/guard, Alabama. Why Barrett Jones? Well, he's from Alabama and maybe it is coincidental, but we all know Buddy has a soft spot for the SEC. Jones stock has taken a dip because he's coming off a serious injury in which he won't be cleared until May, but he has experience as a guard, LT and center. He won the Outland Trophy as a junior left tackle and the Rimington Award as the nation's top center last season, Here's what CBS had to say about him in more detail: STRENGTHS: Jones is typically characterized as a try-hard player who gets by with excellent fundamentals, and it is true that he uses his hands and feet very well to consistently defeat his opponent. However, while he isn't likely to cause anyone to compare his raw athleticism to former first round offensive tackles Tyron Smith (Dallas Cowboys, No. 9, 2011) or Joe Staley (San Francisco 49ers, No. 28, 2007), Jones is smooth and efficient when easing back at the snap in pass protection or getting to the second level. He latches on and keeps his feet moving on contact, rarely allowing his opponent to make the play even if he's relatively close to the ballcarrier. WEAKNESSES: Doesn't blow defenders off the ball with pure strength. Not a flashy athlete and may struggle to excel at the NFL level. Bills are on the clock with the 143rd pick Alright! Almost done and I'm just throwing spaghetti at the wall at this point. Since Buddy has been on record a few times in wanting a TE, I think now would be the time to address this need. Keep in mind I don't believe the Bills are as serious when it comes to finding TEs as I'd like them to be. Buddy Nix has not drafted a TE while with the Bills and you'd have to go back to 2009 when the Bills last selected a TE (Shawn Nelson-4th round). Hell, the highest the Bills have drafted a TE since I've been watching them was Lonnie Johnson in the 2nd round. As for Nix's days in SD, they never drafted a tight end higher than the 4th round. Of the few mocks I've seen, some have the Bills going TE within the first three rounds. I just don't buy that when you look at history and the fact that Chandler is still here. With the 143rd pick, the Bills select Chris Gragg, TE, Arkansas I have nothing to support this except to say Gragg seems to be a WR in a TEs body and he's from the SEC. Strengths: Fluid and smooth athlete, moving like a bigger wide receiver. Able to gain free release off the line of scrimmage with the quickness to create separation in his routes. Improved route-runner with a strong plant foot to make sharp cuts in/out of his breaks. Tracks the ball well to extend and snatch it with his hands. Does a nice job catching the ball in stride to pick up yards after contact. Nice job making contested grabs and staying tough over the middle. Has done a nice job putting good weight on his frame and working hard in the weight room. Weaknesses: Lacks ideal frame for the position and needs to continue to add bulk. Still needs a lot of work as a route-runner and didn't excel on routes that weren't shallow crossing patterns. Has had some costly drops and appears to have streaky focus and confidence at times. Needs to eliminate the mental errors, something his coaches have pointed out. Struggles to sustain blocks and needs to develop his technique in this area to compensate for his leaner build. Durability is a strong concern after missing most of his senior season with a leg injury and a history of several other medical issues. Bills are on the clock with the 177th pick At this point, I think you are just looking for the best special teams player. LB is a possibility here, but Buddy's CB philosophy is calling me once again.  I'll make it quick. With the 177th pick, the Bills select Micah Hyde, CB, Iowa From CBS Sports: Moved from cornerback to free safety during 2011 spring practice and played both positions in 2011 . . . holds eighth and 10th longest interception returns in school history . . . tied for first in the Big Ten in passes defended (11) and tied for eighth in interceptions (three) in 2011 . . . had 72-yard touchdown return vs. Missouri and 66-yard touchdown return vs. Michigan State, both in 2010 . . . one of five juniors named to 2011 Leadership Group . . . one of three true freshmen to see action in 2009.   You probably are thinking...What about LBs?! Hey, I'd love to add one, but the Bills have needed LBs for years now and they never seem to draft them high. Since 1987, the Bills have selected only four LBs within the first two rounds (Shane Conlan, Gabe Northern, Sam Cowart and Paul Posluszny). I think they are set with their starters and are more inclined to go the youth route with Sheppard and Bradham.   Final word: I know some may feel I'm just being contrarian because a number of people in WNY think the Bills will go QB first with Nassib or Barkley. I just think we are overrating them a tad because Buddy has been on record numerous times saying he wants a QB and we are a fan base that is desperate for one. If they pick one of those two guys, I'm fine with it as long as they feel those guys will eventually be franchise QBs. Just keep in mind that the Bills could have had other QBs like Dalton, Kaepernick and Wilson when Ryan Fitzpatrick was still here. How many times did we hear Nix say that we won't pass on a franchise QB if he's there when Fitz was here? This is what he said last season: On taking a franchise quarterback if he's there: Buddy Nix: We'd still do it. That's any position, but obviously quarterbacks too. To be honest, I'd like to draft one every year, in an ideal world. So, what changes now when Kolb/Jackson are pretty much the same as Fitz? Are these guys really that much better than the ones the Bills past on in the past? A part of me does wonder if Buddy is desperate for a QB and he'll will his way into believing that Barkley or Manuel or Nassib are those guys. Again, I think if they thought their guy was there at 8, they wouldn't have brought in two veterans. If I'm wrong, it won't be the first time. Let's just hope the Bills finally get it right.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The first time John Randle talked trash in the NFL
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NHL adds meldonium to banned substances list

Report: Chances of Jonathan Papelbon signing ‘non-existent’

Chris Bosh isn’t pleased with the Miami Heat

NFL clears players in HGH investigation

NFL execs: Kaepernick 'traitor,' hated as much as Carruth

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Kansas FB settling first-team reps with Rock-Paper-Scissors

Report: Vikings trainers saved Bridgewater's 'leg and career'

Baylor's Zamora suspended 3 games for beating his dog

Craig Sager to undergo third bone marrow transplant

Madden 17's live commentary tackles Kaepernick controversy

Nationals' Stephen Strasburg expected to return next week

2016 offers more lessons for the NFL on domestic violence

Twitch works to highlight gamers with disabilities

WATCH: Lorenzo Neal opens up about worst game of career

The NBA's worst signature shoes

The barren wasteland of available NFL quarterbacks

College football conference breakdown, Week 1

Kevin Owens is the right WWE Champion at the right time

Jake Arrieta almost quit baseball before trade to Cubs

Fred Taylor: NFL doctors never told me about multiple injuries

WATCH: Lorenzo Neal on the one move that caused the demise of the Chargers

The hottest MLB pitchers headed into September sprint

Kanye West, Saint Pablo Tour and the anti-celebrity

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

2016 offers more lessons for the NFL on domestic violence

Twitch works to highlight gamers with disabilities

WATCH: Lorenzo Neal opens up about the worst game of his career

The NBA's worst signature shoes

The barren wasteland of available NFL quarterbacks

College football conference breakdown, Week 1

WATCH: Lorenzo Neal on the one move that caused the demise of the Chargers

The hottest MLB pitchers headed into September sprint

West-ern Literature: How Kanye's fans find meaning in between the lines

Madden 17's live commentary tackles Kaepernick controversy

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker