Buffalo Bills Are Feeling A Draft
By Stan Chrapowicki
The Buffalo Bills are playing the pick six this week. Barring any trades between now and Thursday’s first round of the NFL draft, Buffalo will make at least a half-dozen selections this weekend. Here’s a look at the players they might very well choose in the first three rounds:
First round (eighth overall): Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: When your depth chart includes the injury-prone Kevin Kolb as well as the inconsistent Tarvaris Jackson at this position, your franchise has to take a chance on Smith, a system quarterback who might be a good fit in Doug Marrone’s West Coast offense. With seven teams picking ahead of the Bills on Thursday, Buffalo has to have a backup plan. And since the Bills also need help at wide receiver, linebacker and the offensive line, they should look at Tennessee wideout Cordarelle Patterson, LSU defensive end/linebacker Barkevious Mingo, Oregon DE/LB Dion Jordan and Alabama guard Chance Warmack as potential plan Bs.
Second round (41st overall): Should Smith be scooped up by a team other than Buffalo Thursday night, the Bills’ most prudent fallback option would probably be to grab Warmack, especially since they need someone to replace Andy Levitre at left guard. And if they followed that scenario, they would still need help at QB. So with that in mind, a logical and reasonable second-round pick would be Ryan Nassib of Syracuse. Running Marrone’s offense as a senior at Syracuse, Nassib set single-season school records in passing yards (3,749), ), passing yards per game (288.4), passing TDs (26), completions (284) and total offense (3,891 yards). Because Nassib is already familiar with Marrone’s system, theoretically his rookie learning curve wouldn’t be as steep as it would be for Smith.
Third round (71st overall): If Buffalo takes offensive players with its first two picks, this might be a good spot to fill one of their defensive needs. Sean Porter, out of Texas A&M, could fit the Bills here. The 6-1, 229-pound junior led the Big 12 with 9.5 sacks and was third in the conference with 17 tackles for loss as an outside linebacker for Kevin Sumlin’s squad. Mississippi State cornerback Darius Slay is another possibility. The 6-1, 190-pound Slay, might be the second-best CB behind his Bulldog teammate Johnthan Banks. Since the Bills still need help at wide receiver, taking a flyer on Baylor’s Terrance Williams wouldn’t hurt. Williams, who connected with Robert Griffin III for 59 catches, 957 yards and 11 TDs as a junior for Bears, was even better as a senior with 97 receptions, for 1,832 yards and 12 scores. And should Buffalo misses out on Warmack or North Carolina Jonathan Cooper, they Bills could turn to Colorado’s David Bakhtiari at this spot. The 6-4, 295-pound Bakhtiari, the brother of former NFL linebacker Eric Bakhtiari, started 11 games for the Buffaloes last season, but might be better suited at guard in the pros.
Buffalo also has picks in the fourth (105th overall), fifth (143rd overall) and sixth (177th overall) rounds this week. The Bills swapped this year’s seventh-round pick in their trade with the Seattle Seahawks for QB Tarvaris Jackson in 2012. The Seahawks used that pick (214th overall) in a trade to acquire WR Percy Harvin from the Minnesota Vikings.