Apr 26, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix (left) and Bills head coach Doug Marrone arrive for the press conference for first round draft pick quarterback E.J. Manuel (not pictured) at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills Draft Grade

The 2013 NFL Draft is now in the books and let the grades begin. I have been looking at a lot of team grades and in most cases am not seeing the Bills anywhere near the top. Why is that? I’m not saying they had the best draft but for sure had a decent one.

Looking at their first three picks I think the Bills did very well. First and foremost they drafted in the coach’s minds their QB of the future EJ Manuel (Florida State). He has all the intangibles to be a starter in the league but now he just needs to put them all together. Some great qualities he has are he’s able to create with his feet and get out of trouble and has a great arm. Also not to mention he was 4-0 in bowl games. The next guy of the board was WR Robert Woods from USC. He possesses great ball skills and hands. I can see him as one of their draft picks that will be mostly likely to start right away. Definitely a possibility of being the team’s # 2 receiver to start next season. With the Bills trading down in the first round they also acquired an extra 2nd rounder where they selected ILB Kiko Alonso out of Oregon. He has both good zone awareness and man to man coverage they could help this team next year. He also stated he can play OLB. Those being the first three players taken I would have to give the Bills a B+ grade. All positions were a need but in the 1st round I think the Bills could have traded down one more time. I don’t hate the pick but thought they could’ve got more picks to improve this team.

The next five picks I think the Bills did a good job of filling needs but had some questions. Starting in the 3rd round the Bills went after another WR this time getting Marquise Goodwin from Texas. He’s a speedster and could help the Bills but they just took a potential starter in Woods. This is where I would have liked them to sign an established veteran in free agency to work with Johnson, Graham and now Woods. That pick could’ve been used differently. The next two picks were defensive backs and that was certainly a need of this team. They were: Duke Williams FS from Nevada and Jonathan Meeks DB from Clemson. I have no problem with the Williams pick but think the Bills should have taken a look at Steve Williams CB from California instead of Meeks. Every year he progressed and thought he would have fit in perfectly with this team. He was drafted two spots later with the Chargers. This team’s last two picks I don’t mind at all. In the 6th round they selected Dustin Hopkins K from Florida State. In Buddy’s eyes he was the best kicker he thought and also would give competition when training camp rolls around. I don’t see anything wrong with taking a flyer on this guy with your 6th round pick. Finally getting to the last pick the Bills took TE Chris Gragg out of Arkansas. Watching some video on this guy it shows he’s a good pass catching tight end that can get down the field. He might need some help with the blocking portion but we already have these guys. This part of the draft I would say the Bills scored a C. We’ll see what happens.

There you have our 2013 draftees. This is not including the guys they will eventually bring in as well but the Bills I think didn’t do a bad job this year. If this is indeed Buddy’s last draft I would have to say he gets a B- grade in my book. What about you? Thoughts?

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  • NWBill

    I generally agree with you; this has the potential to be one of the better drafts the team has had in the last few years. As I said before, I believe that EJ Manuel has the ability to be a taller, stronger-armed Russell Wilson very quickly in the NFL, and should push Kevin Kolb and Tavares Jackson a LOT. Watching Robert Woods’ college career, I was thinking I was seeing the next Andre Reed; a very solid, dependable guy who runs precise routes, is nifty and crafty in getting open, fearless about going over the middle, a real team guy who isn’t a headcase, and someone who should make a LOT of noise in the opportunity he will have with Buffalo. If nothing else, he’ll move the chains in Buffalo’s offense – something we didn’t have the last couple of years from the WR position. I think we’ll be hearing the “Manuel to Woods” phrase a lot!! I disagree with you on trading down again; not sure what benefit that would have been; and, after getting 4 picks from the Rams, why would a team want to stuff Buffalo’s coffers even further, and make it easier for them to take players another team would be interested in? GMs are funny that way; they look askance at a GM who stockpiles picks, and then goes out and blows up other people’s draft boards. So, I can’t imagine the Bills collecting any more picks than the haul they got from St. Louis.
    The other picks were very decent, and I think it shows the detail and amount of research Buffalo does on its’ selections; filling immediate needs, good character, quality of skill, interchangeability, learning … these are all prominent attributes of the guys they drafted. Getting a strong-legged kicker for the future was shrewd on Buddy’s part, too.

    I hate grading drafts, because you never know how things will eventually turn out, but …. if things go according to plan, this draft would get an A- from me; largely because of EJ Manuel. Jon Gruden thinks he’s a special one, I think he’s special … and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up in the same conversations with RGIII and Russell Wilson.

  • John

    I agree with you to a point but I definitely would’ve traded down again. We could have went down to that low 20′s pick and obtained another 2nd rounder. Now we could have traded 2 of them and got back into the first round. Could’ve possibly got Alec Ogletree or Xavier Rhodes.

  • NWBill

    I hear what you’re saying, John, but with all due respect – you’ve got three “could have’s” in your post; a trade-down might not have meant getting another 2nd-round pick, for instance. Even with two 2′s, getting back into the 1st round would have been difficult, since that’s by far the HARDEST round to get into, if you’re not already there, or have drafted already. You’d have to have a team overflowing with talent to do that – because most GMs would want someone off your roster to make a deal like that. The Bills are NOT overflowing with talent right now; and, few teams, for whatever reason, like dealing with the Bills, anyway. Jeff Fisher and the Rams dealt with us this year, I think in part, because we’ve done good deals with him in the past – and he has a great relationship with Buddy Nix. There’s a reason why teams like New England and New Orleans, to mention a couple, don’t call Buffalo – they either don’t like us, or we don’t have what they want. So your scenario sounds great, but it would work for a different team, with a different reputation around the league than Buffalo has – unfortunately. That’s one of the many things I hope Russ Brandon, Doug Marrone, and Buddy Nix (until he leaves) will start changing.

  • John

    Yea I hear ya but could’ve and should’ve is all about the draft. Teams always trying to better themselves but if they dont try then they’ll never know. All in all not a bad draft.