In case you live underneath a rock, the N.F.L. Draft was underway this past weekend, and as usual, was must watch t.v. In a draft that featured some of the most electric and polarizing players in recent college football history, it was very exciting to see where players like Clowney, and Manziel would end up. Not only were the players the key focus of the event, but teams also became the focus of the Draft, after some big trades.
One of those teams, was the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills wasted no time in the draft moving up from number 9, up to number 4. Only time will tell if the move pays off for the Bills, but the guy they got at number 4, seems to be worth the price. That guy, was Sammy Watkins.
Watkins was the best offensive talent in this years draft, and has been compared to the likes of Reggie Wayne, and Hines Ward. The Clemson Alum will have a lot to prove in this upcoming year, as he will instantly be the new number one guy in Buffalo, after the Bills shipped Stevie Johnson to San Francisco. Watkins can easily become one the league's best receivers, and has all the skills to do so with a rare combo of size, and speed. He is a great route runner, and his best ability is to make plays after the ball is in his hands, especially excelling in the screen game. Watkins is just another weapon for E.J. Manuel to have in Buffalo, so I'm sure this pick made Manuel quite the happy camper.
In what was great move by the Bills, they kept the theme for offense going into the second round. After getting Manuel a guy who will blossom into a number one wide receiver, they needed to address the o-line. The Bills did just that by taking Kouandjio in the second round. Here, you have a guy who slipped on draft boards, because of some his medical issues. However, he has the talent that the Bills need for their new o-line, and since they have Eric Pears on the right side, they don't need to rush in Kouandjio right away. His medical concerns are red flags, but so were Kiko Alonzo's character issues, and look how well that turned out.The Bills are hoping Kouandjio will be the answer at Right Tackle.
The only reason I am a fan of this pick, is because Preston Brown was on a Louisville team that knew how to stop the run, something the Bills don't know how to do just yet. Brown gives the Bills some depth at Linebacker if Brandon Spikes goes down, so that's another positive as well. Expect Brown only to see action early on in run situations, as they try to develop him into a guy who can stop the pass as well.
This may have been the Bills best pick of the draft. Here you have a team that was hit hard by injury issues last year to the secondary, and they had to move players around a little too much. The Bills realized they needed some depth, since Jarius Byrd was gone, and added some pieces in free agency, and now the draft, Cockrell has the potential to be a stud corner in this league, and excels in man-to-man situations. He gives the Bills the depth they need if someone does go down, and also the ability to line up against most receivers in the league.
Like Cockrell, this is one of my favorite picks by the Bills in the later rounds. Richardson was an absolute stud at Baylor, and the Bills are obviously hoping he can bring that track record from Texas, all the way to Buffalo. Richardson shouldn't start coming in, but will do well with some time to learn from Doug Marrone, who's forte is the o-line, and then will be given the chance to start since the Bills are not set in stone at the guard position. The Bills got a massive guard with this pick, and was a guy I loved if the Bills could get him, and they did.
Here is a late round pick by the Bills that was one that they didn't necessarily need to make. They already added the depth at linebacker during free-agency, and earlier in the draft with Preston Brown. I feel they could have used this pick to bring in another safety, or even a tight end, since Johnson is going to start off pretty low on the Bills depth chart early on.
With this pick, the Bills are taking on a huge risk, that could turn into a huge reward. Henderson may have the best skill-set of any tackle in the years draft, but slid all the way to the 7th round, because of personal issues. He has failed numerous drug tests, and one of those actually came at this years combine. If Henderson can get his head on straight, he could become a great tool for the Bills, but until then, he will only see time on the bench.
Overall, the Bills had a pretty solid draft. They addressed issues at many positions on their team, and even took a huge risk by trading up to get Sammy Watkins. This draft class is going to be made or broken by how well Sammy Watkins does in his first year, but expect other plays like Cokcrell and Kouandjio come in and help as well. The Doug Whaley era started off with a bang, and he has set his sights on the playoffs, so lets see if this draft class will help him get the team somewhere they haven't been since 1999.
Overall Grade: B