What’s new, the Bills are lining themselves up to pick in the middle of the draft again, missing out on all the top tier quarterbacks. To quote the great Lee Corso… “NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND!”
The Bills have Kansas City’s pick in the first round, which has been rising up the boards. Moving Sammy Watkins prior to the season gave us another second rounder to deal as well. That means we might move up and get one of those franchise altering quarterbacks! I’m talking Josh Rosen out of UCLA when I say franchise altering. That’s the guy to set your sights on. He’s surrounded by a mediocre supporting cast at UCLA but still put up incredible numbers. One thing I hate is when people just look at the numbers, with Rosen, it’s much more than that. I had the opportunity to catch a few of his big games on TV and came away very impressed. He’s a confident kid who can place the ball exactly where it needs to go with great anticipation. He throws his receivers open and does it with some good zip on the ball. In order to have a shot at him we need our basement dwelling friends, the Cleveland Browns, to do what they do best. That is, screw up and continue to trust their process of acquiring additional picks to draft more busts. If they decide to stay put, great, we can possibly acquire the San Francisco 49ers pick, who are currently projected to pick after Cleveland. The options after Rosen aren’t my favorite. Going into the season Sam Darnold was supposed to be the top pick. His play all year has been shaky at times–turning the ball over far too much. He still possesses all the tools you look for in a franchise player. At this point, Buffalo would be crazy not to at least consider the option of moving up. The 9ers present a great option considering their trade for James R. Garoppolo at the trade deadline, making it unlikely they look at QB with their pick.
Let’s say the Bills do what history tells us and stay put in the middle of the draft. Who are the best options? What positions should we target and when? I’ll give you a few names to look at going into conference championship weekend.
Roquan Smith, LB – Georgia
First and foremost, my draft crush for the year, Roquan Smith, a linebacker out of Georgia. I’ll dive deeper into him in my upcoming articles, but I’ll leave you with this comparison: Patrick Willis. Keep your eyes on him (number 3 for the Bulldogs) this weekend when he goes up against Auburn in the SEC championship.
Christian Wilkins, DT – Clemson
Kyle Williams is likely to retire at the end of the year, and even if he decides to stay another year, we need to plan ahead–and not to mention, replace the hole left when we traded Marcell Dareus. I’m looking at Christian Wilkins out of Clemson to be the guy who fills that role. His story is one worth reading (again, I’ll dive into this in upcoming articles). He’s an early graduate who will end up nailing the interview process, and we all know McBean loves high character guys. His on-field play is impressive as well of course. Keep your eyes on him (number 42) this weekend in the ACC championship game against Miami.
Derwin James, S – Florida State
A couple of my other top targets you unfortunately won’t be able to see until the combine (unless they make a bowl game bid). Derwin James, a hard-hitting strong safety from Florida State could provide us some flexibility in the secondary. He’s a dangerous player who reminds me of the late Sean Taylor. He’s had a down year in relation to his pre-season expectations, but his combine performance will blow people away and he could be a good candidate in the mid-late 1st round after being touted as a lock for the top 5. Do we need a safety? Probably not, but with the speed of the game the way it is, the nickel formation is often on the field most. James could be a nice addition to the lineup allowing Hyde to play nickel, or James to guard the physical tight-ends or rush the passer.
Courtland Sutton, WR – SMU
Switching over to the offensive side of the ball, my favorite playmaker this year is Courtland Sutton, a wide receiver out of Southern Methodist (SMU). He’s a very mature kid who can more than fill in for Jordan Matthews who is likely to hit free agency. Sutton would also add size and red-zone presence at 6’4”.
Ronald Jones II, RB – USC
One guy you will get to see this weekend for sure is Ronald Jones II, a dynamic running back out of USC. Buffalo needs another Touchdown Mike Gillislee to provide the playmaking ability when Shady McCoy needs a break. Not to mention, Shady is getting older and Jones could be a perfect replacement. He’ll be going up against Stanford tonight in the Pac-12 championship, check him out (number 25).
Stay tuned for more reports leading up to the draft. I’ll be discussing what positions we need most and much more relating to the draft and offseason. It’s going to be a fun scouting season with the Bills having 5 picks in the first 3 rounds.