Note: This is before free agency and that could change things.
Round One: Eric Ebron TE from UNC
If you want to help EJ Manuel then this is the best player to help him right away. Ebron is a freak athlete, 6’4 245. He has the potential to be the next Jimmy Graham of Rob Gronkowski. You need to make big plays from your TE and Ebron is cabable of doing just that.
Most people first saw Ebron on a Thursday night game against Miami where he dominated with 8 catches for 199 yards and a touchdown. Ebron set school records for a TE with 55 catches and 895 receiving yards.
I can’t remember him ever dropping a pass that he should have caught. In fact you are much more likely to see him catch a ball one handed or make an unbelievable acrobatic catch then drop an easy one.
If you look around the league the Saints WR’s aren’t that great nor are New England’s. A big TE could make the Bills WR’s acceptable. Johnson, Woods, Goodwin and Graham are better than New Orleans or New England’s receivers. The Bills have been behind the curve with getting a great TE. Scott Chandler is OK but this league has been going to one that requires a great TE to open things up.
You most also look ahead to the fact you may lose CJ Spiller after next year. Ebron could make those electrifying plays that you sometimes get from Spiller.
The Bills choice here to help EJ is the second best tackle or the best TE. The best TE helps him so much more than the second best tackle.
Round Two: Antonio Richardson OT from Tennessee
Your choice now is for the fourth, fifth or sixth best OT. Here is a situation where I believe you take a guy that played left tackle in college and have him start from day one at right tackle in the NFL.
I believe at this point a guy like “Tiny” Richardson will be available. Richardson is a mountain of a man. He’s 6”6 327 lbs. He blots out the sun. He played against great competition in the SEC. He made a name for himself two years ago when he shutdown Jadeveon Clowney in their match-up. He then said that he thought Clowney was over-rated. A motivated Clowney won their match-up this year but it wasn’t a total domination. They matched up 66 times this year. Clowney won 22 and Richardson won 12. It wasn’t a Cloin Brown type of beating.
Richardson is the type of guy that isn’t pretty but gets the job done. My best equation would be to a guy like Flozell Adams in the past. Not pretty but effective.
Round Three: Aaron Donald DT from Pitt
When in doubt go big. I could have gone a number of ways with this pick but decided to go with the best big man available and I think Donald should be there. Donald was the best player on Pitt the last two years. I believe he fits in well to the Bills scheme. He attacks and creates havoc like a Kyle Williams type. Let’s remember that Williams is not the youngest guy in the world. Let’s also remember that Marcel Dareus had some problems with the coaching staff at the end of the year. Are the Bills going to want to pay Dareus after next year? I think they should but I want to have another disruptive force on the defensive line in case the money is too high.
Certain games just jump out when you watched Donald. The Georgia Tech game comes to mind. Donald handled the option offense by himself. He had 11 tackles in the game and six were for loss. Against Syracuse he had nine tackles and was credited with 3.5 of them being for loss. He finished his career with an equally dominating performance against Bowling Green in the Little Caesar’s Bowl.
Round Four: Anthony Steen from Alabama
At this point of the draft you need to start looking at positions that haven’t been taken as much. For instance thirty WR’s may have been taken by now but only three or four pure guards. There maybe more guards that played tackle in college and may have to move to guard taken.
The thing that upsets me most about last year was long before the draft the Bills knew they needed to replace Andy Levitre. At his draft lunch-in Buddy Nix was asked about taking a guard and he joked how they liked these guys on the roster more than we do. This is not Monday Morning quarterbacking. Everyone knew the Bills needed a guard except the Bills. Colin Brown was a “turd”. They can’t make the same mistake twice.
Steen may drop a little because he needed shoulder surgery at the end of the season and missed the bowl game. He was one of the reasons Alabama struggled protecting the passer against Oklahoma. Steen gave up zero sacks and zero penalties this year. Nick Saban praised his consistency. Yes Nick Saban said something nice. That’s rare in itself. Alabama during the regular season gave up 22 sacks last year and only 12 this year.
The problem good offensive line coaches have is they think they can make chicken salad out of chicken ^&*%. You saw these for many years when Jim McNally was the coach. Pat Morris is a good offensive line coach not to mention the head coach Doug Marrone has experience coaching the offensive line as well. I hope they don’t make the same mistake again by trying to coach up players that just can’t cut it.
Round Five: Max Bullough ILB from Michigan State
Here’s another value pick. At this time of the draft I believe you can still get the fifth or sixth best ILB. It’s a position that just doesn’t have many guys taken early.
Here is my solution to fix the Bills LB problem. The problem isn’t with Manny Lawson. I thought Manny Lawson played very well this year. You need to find a replacement for Nigel Bradham on the weak side.
My solution is to take advantage of Kiko Alonso’s versatility. Alonso had a great first six weeks of the season. I thought his play dropped off the last 10 weeks. I was especially concerned about his play against the run late in the season. I thought he struggled shedding blocks and it created some big runs. I believe the Bills could use a big run stuffing ILB. My solution is to draft a guy like Bullough and move Alonso to weak side when Bullough is on the field. Again I think you want to take advantage of Alonso’s versatility.
Bullough is not an every down LB and I know it but I feel he can give the Bills a much needed presence against the run. Bullough’s grand father of course was one of the worse head coaches in Bills history but I don’t believe in bad karma.
Bullough had 76 tackles this year and 10 of those were for loss. There is a concern that he missed the Rose Bowl for violating team rules. Let’s face it it’s the fifth round and your not going to get guys that don’t have some questions about them. His play as a consistent performer for years out weighs him missing his last game for me. The Michigan State defense he was a part of allowed only 248 yards a game and a mere 3.9 yards per play.
Free agency could change the Bills needs but I believe at this point this plan would address the Bills needs for the upcoming season.