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Buffalo Bills 1st Round Draft Outlook

by Ryan Wright on Apr. 25, 2016

The NFL Draft is almost here and fans always want to know who their team is going to select come draft day. In order to give Buffalo Bills fans all the detailed draft analysis you need heading into draft day, I have broken down the team’s positional needs and the top possible prospects that could be their first pick on Thursday.

 

Positional Breakdown

The Buffalo Bills usually don’t have as many glaring holes on their roster as they do this year. With Mario Williams being cut and Kyle Williams getting old, it might be time to start revamping the defensive unit.

Bills Starters

Offensive Tackle – The Bills have finally found a quality left tackle in Cordy Glenn who will likely get paid big next year after being franchise tagged this season. However, the Bills search for a right tackle is still in the works as the Seantrel Henderson experiment isn’t working out, and 2014 second round pick Cyrus Kouandjio has been a complete bust. This position could be addressed in the first round if Jack Conklin slides to 19. However, I would say that any other offensive tackle that’s not supposed to go top ten would be too much of a reach in the middle of the first round.

Edge Rusher – The edge rusher’s are the outside linebackers in the Bills 3-4 system. For the past 3 years the Bills have been set at edge rusher as Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes have been a dynamic duo there. However, Mario Williams is now a Miami Dolphin leaving veteran Manny Lawson, and recently converted defensive lineman Jarius Wynn as the only viable options to take his place. Although one of the two could step up and be a solid starter for the Bills, neither has tremendous upside and both are getting older. I think this is where the Bills will go in round 1. Doug Whaley has done nothing to replace Mario Williams in free agency and the Bills pass rush was awful even with him in the lineup last year. Rex Ryan loves versatile pass rushers and there will be plenty in play when the Bills are on the clock.

Defensive Line – The Bills defensive line situation can be a tricky one to figure out. The three starters mentioned above are the only realistic options the Bills have next season with Marcell Dareus playing Nose. With that being said the Bills will definitely be searching for a defensive lineman in the draft; the question is which position. They could go with either a defensive end or a Nose Tackle. I think Dareus would be a lot more productive playing end as it would allow him to use his rare pass rushing skills and get after the quarterback easier. The only way the Bills could move Dareus to end however, is to find a true nose tackle as the Bills don’t have a single one on the roster other than Dareus. Luckily for the Bills, this is a defensive lineman class loaded with talent. I can see Buffalo using a day 2 pick on this position as there will still be plenty of options available.

Wide Receiver – GM Doug Whaley has brought depth to the wide receiver position in free agency signing Greg Little and Jarrett Boykin. However, a true number two receiver opposite of Sammy Watkins is still needed. The reason I ranked this positional need only a 2 is because I think Robert Woods is a quality starter who is often overlooked by the media. What I do agree with the media about however, is that Woods is better suited playing the slot as he lacks the ideal speed or size that you look for on the outside. With that being said, if Buffalo wants to pick a receiver round one they will have their options as there’s a good chance all the top wide receiver prospects are still on the board at 19.

Linebacker – Doug Whaley found a hidden gem in free agency that many people are unaware of. This positional need was ranked 4 before the Bills signed Zach Brown and as you will notice all the linebacker’s “trend” in the prospects chart is on the downfall because of this. Brown is a perfect fit in the Bills system as he’s good in coverage and can get sideline to sideline fast. The reason linebacker is still a need for the Bills is because Brown’s contract is only for 1 year, and if he plays well they may not have enough cap space to sign him next year. Right now Preston Brown and Zach Brown are a formidable duo who could work out very well for Buffalo. Because of this I don’t think the Bills will use a first round pick on a linebacker, but one player that might be too hard to pass up if he falls is Darron Lee, who I can see Rex Ryan getting along with very well.

 

Possible Prospects

Buffalo Bills

Key

Positional Needs – Every position the Bills have a hole at

Rank (out of 5) – This indicates how big of a need that position is (5 being a very big need)

Current Starters – Projected starters before for the 2016 season

40 – 40 yard dash at combine (* means pro day time)

My Rank – My rank of the players listed

Trend – How much the players rank has been rising (+) or falling (-) over the past 2 months

% Chance Available – The percent chance the player has to fall to the Bills pick

Scheme Fit – How well the player fits into the Bills scheme