The N.F.L. Draft is the highlight of the N.F.L. off-season.
Going into every draft, nothing is more fun then predicting what teams will do with their picks. Who will go number one? Who will be a bust? Which sleeper should we keep an eye on? With so many questions on the draft overall, lets take a look at the important question the Buffalo Bills will face when they are on the clock, come May 8th. That question being of course, who do they take?
Before we get into some of the names, lets focus on what the Bills needs are entering the draft. First, they need a big physical wide receiver, who can take the pressure off of some of the smaller guys on the team. Second, they need to add some depth to the offensive line, particularity on the right side. A new tackle would do wonders for second-year quarterback, E.J Manuel, allowing more time in the pocket for him to make the smart read. Last, we go to the defense. This has been the focus during the Bills free agency plan so far, and expect immediate results because of that. The Bills brought in run-stuffing machine, Brandon Spikes, and Corey Graham, to add much needed depth to a thin secondary. The Bills could add another linebacker in the draft, or even expect them to add another pass-rusher, along Mario Williams.
What will the Bills do, when it's their turn to announce their pick?
Now, with all that being said: Ladies and Gentleman, the contestants are! (No particular order)
The first name on the list of players that have a strong case being taken at number nine, is Mike Evans. Evans represents everything that the Bills need right now. Stevie Johnson doesn't seem to have the same chemistry with Manuel, that he did with Ryan Fitzpatrick, and that's caused him to be knocked even more on not being a true number one receiver. Hey, don't get me wrong, Stevie is a solid player, but he's no Calvin Johnson, or A.J. Green. Behind Johnson, the Bills have Robert Woods, who shined brightly when he was being thrown to by Manuel. Woods is also going to be a great receiver in time, but not a true game changer at the position. That's what the Bills need, not more speed on the field, but some size and toughness. Enter, Mike Evans. Evans has the word "stud" written all over him. He's 6'5, 231 lbs, and is a big physical threat on the outside. He was Johnny Manziel's safety blanket at Texas A&M, and that's exactly what Manuel is needing. Evan isn't the slowest guy around either, clocking in at an incredible 4.47. For a guy that size, running that fast, that's pretty impressive. Evans has all the tools to be successful at the next level, and placing him into an offense that has as much talent as Buffalo does, would be a scary thing.
I see a trend here, don't you? Ebron, like Evans is another big, physical play-maker that the Bills are in desperate need of. The Bills are always one of those teams, that never seem to have a great tight end. Yea, Scott Chandler has been reliable, but he is no Ebron. Ebron would immediately make the Bills a complete team through the air if he was taken by them at number nine. He is the perfect red-zone threat that the team needs, and would be able to stretch the field vertically for the Bills, thanks to his skill-set and athleticism. Looking at his tale of the tape, Ebron comes in at a very imposing line, of 6'4 250lbs. Even more impressive, was his 40 time at the combine, which just so happened to be a 4.6. Ebron uses his 32' inch vertical to his advantage, and it would be something that I'm sure E.J Manuel would quickly become a fan of. The only knock on Ebron, is his blocking ability. He is most definitly a new school tight end, and teams could expose that if he is in to help clear a lane for Fred Jackson, or C.J. Spiller. Ebron being taken by the Bills would not be a surprise, since he has all the things the Bills need to improve their passing game.
Much like the tight end position, the Bills always seem to in need of a good tackle. Cordy Glenn has been a huge bright-spot for the Bills, and been a lot better then expected coming out of Georgia. He has stepped up nicely at the left tackle position, but hasn't really gotten any help from his fellow linemates, other then Eric Wood. This draft does not rival last years in terms of guard ability, but it does offer some great players at the tackle positions. With Greg Robinson most likely being taken before the Bills have a chance to say his name, the Bills can look at Jake Matthews to help improve the Bills O-Line. Like Evans, Matthews played a huge part in the success that Texas A&M has had under Manziel, and Ryan Tannehill. He has the rare ability of being able to play every position in the trenches, and is very consistent as well, only missing 4 games in 4 years while in College Station. Wherever Matthews does land, he will be a franchise player for years to come. Matthews measures in at 6'5, 308 lbs, and also threw in a 24 bench at the combine. Matthews is a very consistent, reliable lineman, that the Bills would love to have on their team.
Sticking with the offensive line for this pick, Taylor Lewan has to seriously be considered by the Bills. There is a very good chance that Matthews is gone by the time the Bills make their pick, so look for them to go to the next best thing, Taylor Lewan. Lewan towers above defensive lineman, coming in at 6'7, 309 lbs. Not only is he one of the biggest prospects in this years class, but he also is the most athletic of all the lineman. When it comes to being a tackle, you will most likely find them matched up against the opposing teams best pass-rusher. If Lewan comes to the Bills, expect them not to have any worries if he's matched up against a Julius Peppers, or J.P.P. type of player. Like Matthews, Lewan is very consistent. He was a four year starter at the University of Michigan, and only missed 2 games during that time span. Lewan does tend to rely on his athleticism to get by against pass-rushers, so he is easily beat on some power moves. If Lewan puts in the time to improve that, look for him to become a very complete player at the N.F.L level.
Overall, this is one draft where it seems like the Bills can come out on top. I know I have spoken highly of Khalil Mack, but with the recent focus on the defensive side of things during free agency, I don't see the Bills going defense on this pick. The Bills need to realize what they want more, a better offensive line, or a more explosive passing game.
No matter what, it seems like the Bills will have a lot of options, and it should be a very exciting night to be a Bills fan.
Who do I take, you ask?
It was a tough call, but with all that he brings to the table, I take Mike Evans.