Bringing Grenades to a Gunfight
One of my favorite things that some teams choose to do on draft day is draft something that is not a weakness, but drafting to increase your present strength. Last year Detroit took Nick Fairley after he had fallen to 15 because of concerns about his work ethic. They already had a fine defensive line, but it got silly once he arrived. Could Buffalo decide to go for the coup de gras by taking a blitzing linebacker? There are some good ones available, but no one in the Von Miller/Aldon Smith immediate impact mold. Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw and possibly Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus will both be available and they both have question marks, though no known off field issues like the other guys. Being able to send one of these guys on third down would be a nightmare for any offensive line given our current front four. Every prospect has question marks, Upshaw might outgrow linebacker, and then what use would he be on this team? Mercilus led the nation in sacks but he reeks of one year wonder. Luke Keuchly, Boston College’s terrific middle linebacker should be available, and while he does not get to the quarterback, he’s extremely fast and should eat up running backs. He is the type of linebacker that you can build around, and might just be Buffalo’s ultimate luxury pick. He is also the best candidate in our final category.
Whatever is Fanciest
Sometimes, teams without a lot of glaring weaknesses simply take the best player available without a whole lot of regard as to where they would play. I know it is hard to think that a 6-win team might not have a lot of holes, and Buffalo has their share, but this could be a possible mindset to address after the first round or two. This is a great way to create more strengths on your team, by improving areas that are just average. Nick Barnett is a good player, but he is not capable of being a dominant middle linebacker to build around. Keuchly could be that piece. Imagine a dominant front four that Buffalo currently has, in addition to an excellent linebacker corps. That is the theory behind the best player available. David DeCastro, the guard from Stanford has some calling him the safest pick in the whole draft. I am not sure if that is an entirely accurate statement or not, but if not, he has to be somewhat close, no? It would be extremely difficult for an opposing defense to bring a rush up the middle with Eric Wood, Andy Levitre and the dominant DeCastro. I imagine that Fred Jackson would not mind the best run blocker in college being on his team either.