It’s that time of year again: the time when hope springs eternal for Bills fans. When we can look out at the class of incoming college players and pick out the few that will turn the Bills into winners.
Of course, it never works out that way. But it sure is fun to dream.
Here’s my first stab at seven-round Bills Mock Draft. The first of many to come, no doubt. These predictions may look ridiculous in April, but that’s okay:
Round 1 – Johnathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Martin would definitely fit right in with what Buffalo is looking for in its offensive linemen. He’s a big, powerful guy with a mean streak. His run blocking is excellent. He’s still pretty raw technique-wise in the passing game, but he’s athletic enough where that can improve. If the Bills add Martin or another top-level tackle in this draft, they can enter 2012 with a starting lineup of Martin, Andy Levitre, Eric Wood, Kraig Urbik, and Eric Pears. They can then let Demetrius Bell go in free agency, and use Chris Hairston as the backup tackle. That’s a very good, young group that can be a foundation of this team for years to come.
Round 2 – Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska
There’s a lot to like about David, who does nearly everything well. He’s got great instincts, is solid in coverage, can get to the QB, and has all the intangibles. The only real concern with him is his smallish size (6’1, 220).
Round 3 – Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
Some Bills fans will roll their eyes at taking another DB early in the draft, but the Bills might need a few. There’s a decent shot Terrence McGee has played his last NFL down. Drayton Florence had a poor season in 2011. Leodis McKelvin is…Leodis McKelvin. Boykin can cover and also help on special teams and returns. He has knack for big plays.
Round 4 – Nigel Bradham, OLB, Florida State
Has a lot of the characteristics Buddy Nix seems to like with his defensive draftees – he was very productive at a big-time program, he’s a big hitter, and he has a ton of experience.
Round 4 (from Baltimore) – Ladarius Green, TE, Louisiana-Lafayette
Tall, athletic tight end who continues to add bulk without losing athleticism. He might rise well past the fourth round as scouts get a better look at him. He was productive in games against strong BCS programs. A prospect I like a lot.
Round 5 – Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Bills nab a developmental QB in this draft, and it might as well be Moore. I think Moore’s a bit undervalued coming into this draft, but he’s tough to get a true bead on. In the 90% of the games he played at Boise, his team was far more talented than its competition.
Round 6 – Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas
A deep threat who was fairly productive in the SEC, Adams also provides some special teams/return value. Not big at just 5’11, 190 and missed some games in his junior season with a “mild stroke,” so that’s a concern.
Round 6 (from Seattle) – Oliver Vernon, DE, Miami (Fla.)
Vernon might have been better served staying in school another year, but he could fit as a 4-3 DE if the Bills are going back to the 4-3. He might be able to play 3-4 OLB as well. His final season in Miami was short as he was caught taking extra benefits and suspended by the NCAA for six games.
Round 7 – Tyrone Crawford, DE, Boise State
Another late round flyer on a defensive lineman. Crawford emerged as an important player for the Broncos in 2011, recording 13.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.