It’s finally here, one of my favorite times of the year Bowl season, this is not a typical mock draft in that its more of a round by round scouting report on players in bowls that you should know for the upcoming draft. These players would all be great additions to the Buffalo Bills. Round 1 (estimated pick 6-11)
WR Mike Evans rSo 6’5 225lbs Texas A&M Chick-fil- a Bowl Dec 31 8:00pm
Strengths- Big, tall and strong are three words that perfectly describe Evans as a wideout. His size combined with his open field speed make him an instant deep and red zone threat for whom ever drafts him and that’s why he’s perfect for the Buffalo Bills as this is one of the biggest areas of need for the Offense. Some scouts have said that if he bulks up and put on a good amount more muscle that he may be used as a slot TE. The Texas A&M stand out is extremely good at blocking down field and would be able to help in the run game. If the Buffalo Bills were to draft Evans he would become our number 1 outside receiver immediately.
Weakness- The only weakness about him as a prospect is that he has only played college ball for two years which, although they were productive years, is a very small sample size. This is really the only knock against his game.
OT Jake Matthews Sr 6’5 305lbs Texas A&M Chick-fil- a Bowl Dec 31 8:00pm
Strengths- With a strong first step, long and extremely strong arms, and mobility that will allow him to play either tackle there is no wonder he is the consensus number 1 OT. He would play with the Bills either LT (allowing Cordy Glenn to move to guard or RT) or RT. At either position he would instantly become a cornerstone for the future of the Bills. Did I mention he is extremely skilled in the run game, he’s also quick enough to get a defender in the second level or surprise them with a cut block.
Weakness- Matthews lacks elite foot work speed and his balance has been called into question by some scouts. However these things are things that can be worked out though by strength and conditioning and other work by coaches.
OT Cameron Irving rJr 6’5 320lbs FSU National Title game Jan 6 8:30pm
Strengths- A player who was switched from DT to OT and protected EJ’s blindside last year. This year has been extremely effective at LT protecting Jamies Winston. He is a Big strong OT with a huge upside, and could be a OT that a franchise can build around. His familiarity with EJ is a big plus because the two have chemistry that can easily be picked up again. He does well at both run and pass blocking.
Weakness- Normally thought of as advantage, but his aggressiveness leads him to sometimes provides defenders to push through him because he will occasionally drop his head on contact. Also he will at times falter in his ability to block on the move. He also loses track of who is blocking assignment is on the play, which allows defenders to get into the back field and stop plays there. However when drafting Irving you are not drafting him because he’s a finished project but for what his huge upside is much like how the Giants draft Jason Pierre Paul.
OLB Khalil Mack rSnr 6’3 248lbs Buffalo University Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Dec 21 5:30pm
Strengths- Mack is an extremely good pass rusher, and he is right on the Buffalo Bills back door at Buffalo University. He uses his speed rush and dip move well and is one of the premiere pass rushers in this draft class. What makes this kid so special, is that he fits perfectly into Mike Pettine’s defensive system. Mack flawlessly slips into pass coverage in both man and zone. With 10.5 sacks, 94 tackles, and three interceptions on the season you can see he would be an instant addition to Buffalo Bills defense.
Weakness- He comes from the MAC which does not have much big school competition. One thing that scares scouts is that against big school competition this season his production fell off a bit. Against Baylor he only had 4 tackles and no sacks as Buffalo U got drummed to the tune of 70-13. This has put some scouts cooling to them because of a fear that he will not do well against real competition. However this fear is not fully based in fact because against number 7 Ohio St he had 9 tackles with 2.5 sacks and a pick six. There is a mixed bag of results against strong competition for the Buffalo product, however is physical ability and upside make him a top 15 draft pick that would help the Bills defense from day one.
OLB Anthony Barr Sr 6’4″ 248lbs UCLA Sun Bowl Dec 31 2:00pm
Strengths-He is extremely light on his feet and has a very big frame to build on at the next level. His Balance and Flexibility are another bonus that comes with what some would call a project player. These players have payed off well for teams in the recent past, he would add physicality and speed pass rusher opposite of Mario Williams. He could develop into a bruising player punishing Quarterbacks for years to come. Barr is also very good at creating turnovers a cornerstone in Pettine’s defense with 5 Forced Fumbles (FF) and 4 FF in 2012. Barr is good at keeping contain through leverage because of his strength at the point of attack. He also is very good in pursuit because of his speed, which can also be used in an offensive since similar to how Bill Belicheck in goal line and short yardage packages because as he was originally recruited as a HB. Many compare Barr to a young Clay Matthews because Matthews like Barr needed some serious polish to turn him into a pass rushing demolition man that he is today. Barr could turn into a perrenial all-star if the Bills are able to polish him into a finished project.
Weakness- He puts to much trust in his physical abilities to make plays. He also is extremely raw talent who gets locked up by above average blockers because his hands become inactive while engaged. While pursuing plays down field he must do a better job at not only pursuing but also keeping his on the ball carrier because sometimes he loses the ball carrier. However with Barr the risk much out ways the risk as his development into one of CFB’s top prospect is just the tip of of the iceberg.
TE Eric Ebron 6’4″ 245 UNC Belk Bowl Dec 28 3:20pm
Strengths- It is no secret that the Buffalo Bills need a playmaking TE much like our hated rival the Patriots have, thats where Eric Ebron comes into the picture. His mixture of size, speed, freak athleticism make him a match up nightmare. To big to match up with a Cornerback but to athletic to match up with a Linebacker. A true offensive weapon that would be unleashed on day 1 for EJ Manuel. This is no way saying that Scott Chandler is a bad TE, he’s not, but he does not deliver a big play threat the same way someone like a Gronkowski, Graham, or Ebron do. The UNC standouts abilities in pass plays also translate directly to blocking game where is an effective blocker at the point of attack, but this isn’t what make Ebron special. His abilities as a receiver with great foot skills and body control that rivals the best Wide Receivers in this draft he truly would be a gift for young Quarterback EJ Manuel and he would also create space for underneath and intermediate routes for both Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods.
Weakness- At times his focus wains as he is either looking up field or pondering the works of Plato and Socrates(just kidding about that latter half). Ebrons blocking skills are still a work in progress as will. However both of these faults are one both easily remedied with work in the offseason and in camp. The tools that Ebron possess as a TE could shift the balance of power back to where it belongs, in Western New York.
Looks for parts Two and Three in the coming Days and most importantly Go Bills!