Grading Buffalo's Class Of 2013
By Stan Chrapowicki
The Buffalo Bills’ 2013 draft is complete. Before we get overly excited about their Offseason Training Activities, let’s take a look at their haul:
First round (16th pick overall): The Bills entered this past Thursday with the eighth pick of the draft, but they traded it to the St. Louis Rams, who used it to select WVU wideout Tavon Austin. At No. 16, Buffalo made the boldest and riskiest pick of the entire weekend, tabbing Florida State QB EJ Manuel, whose selection made everyone’s mock draft obsolete midway through the first round.
Second round (41st pick overall): To say the Bills needed help at wide receiver is an understatement. Landing USC’s Robert Woods here is a solid move and might allow Stevie Johnson to see single coverage sometime this season.
Second round (46th pick overall): The Bills address another position of need with a pick they acquired in their trade with the Rams. Oregon inside linebacker Kiko Alonso brings some off-the-field baggage with him from Eugene, but he definitely improved on the field while he was with the Ducks.
Third round (78th pick overall): Another pick from the Rams addresses another key need. Texas Longhorn WR and 2012 U.S. Olympian Marquise Goodwin comes to Buffalo with a lot of speed, which Manuel might be able to use to show off his arm.
Fourth round ( 105th pick overall): With ex-Bill George Wilson landing in Tennessee as a free agent, Buffalo needed help at safety, so the franchise selected UNLV’s Michael “Duke” Williams with this pick.
Fifth round (143rd pick overall): With Jairus Byrd still unsigned after receiving Buffalo’s franchise tag on March 1, it made sense that the Bills would take another defensive back here in Clemson’s Jonathan Meeks.
Sixth round (177th pick overall): Drafting a kicker in the sixth round is usually a surprise, but in this case it isn’t. After taking Western Michigan kicker John Potter in the seventh round in 2012, the Bills grabbed Florida State’s Dustin Hopkins — the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer — at this spot this year. This can only mean that Rian Lindell, 36, the longest-tenured Bill and the most accurate kicker in franchise history, will be competing for his job.
Seventh round (222nd pick overall): The Bills continued their pattern of targeting a position of weakness by grabbing Tennessee tight end Chris Gragg with another pick acquired in their trade with the Rams. With starter Scott Chandler doubtful for a Week 1 return after having ACL surgery, and with Buffalo’s other current options at tight end consisting of the unproven Lee Smith and Mike Caussin, the Bills had no choice other than this selection here.
Football.com grade: C. The Bills shored up their weak spots at wide receiver, linebacker and tight end, but GM Buddy Nix and the rest of Buffalo’s brain trust will ultimately be judged on their decision to trade out of the eighth spot and into the 16th, which it used to draft Manuel, the former Seminole star whose biggest fan might be new head coach Doug Marrone.