Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Using fanspeak.com’s On the Clock Mock Draft Simulator, I put together my ideal draft scenario for the Buffalo Bills. This draft is looking to shore up some of the needs the Bills have, which is always tough to do before Free Agency. But as the roster stands right now, this is my plan for the Bills.
ROUND 1 – Eric Ebron, TE UNC
The Bills have lacked a true elite TE for years. As teams like the Patriots and Saints have proven, an elite, athletic, play making TE can be a nightmare for opposing defenses. Eric Ebron definitely fits the bill. Ebron is an incredible athlete with great speed and acceleration and can create mismatches with linebackers. Ebron is a great receiver and also set school records for receptions and receiving yards. He could be the play making TE that could really help EJ Manuel and the Bills offense.
ROUND 2 – Jordan Matthews, WR Vanderbilt
The Bills need a big receiver who can make plays down the field and in the red zone. Jordan Matthews is a tall receiver who uses his size to make plays. He also makes plays in traffic as well as down the field. Matthews put up amazing numbers in the SEC, playing against great defenses, and was a first team All-SEC selection in both his junior and senior years. For what it’s worth, he is also a cousin of Jerry Rice. Matthews has a great catch radius who should be able to catch passes even when covered, and he could be a safety valve for EJ Manuel.
ROUND 3 – Joel Bitonio, OT Nevada
Joel Bitonio was highly successful as a LT in college, but could be better off switching to RT in the NFL. Erik Pears has played relatively well for the Bills, but the Bills could be in the market for an upgrade. Bitonio could be an upgrade for the Bills at RT, or at the very least, provide depth along the offensive line. He has good athleticism, quickness, and strength and is very good at run blocking.
ROUND 4 – Chris Watt, G Notre Dame
The Bills need an upgrade at LG. The position was arguably the weakest on the offensive line. The Bills should be looking for a big, consistent, experience lineman. Chris Watt is a big, physical, tough offensive lineman who had 37 starts in his career at Notre Dame, all at LG. He certainly fits the profile of the lineman the Bills should be looking for. He is a good blocker in both the running and passing games, and is very effective at using his hands to move defenders. Watt would be an instant upgrade for the Bills at LG.
ROUND 5 – Jordan Zumwalt, ILB UCLA
Run defense was the biggest weakness for the Bills defense last year. Jordan Zumwalt may not be as athletic as his teammate Anthony Barr, but he is very good at stopping the run. Zumwalt has great instincts for finding the ball and is able to get off of blocks and get to the point of attack well. He is also very good in zone coverage when teams try and pass. Zumwalt would be able to shore up some of the Bills run-stopping problems.
ROUND 6 – Chris Davis, CB Auburn
The Bills had very good play at the corner position from Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin, but when both of them were injured, the Bills struggled. Drafting a good CB like Chris Davis would provide some insurance for the Bills. Davis has good athleticism, great leaping ability, and shows good physicality when tackling. He could also provide some big plays in the return game, as evidenced by his return against Alabama to win the game.
ROUND 7 – Jon Halapio, G Florida
Given how poor the play was at LG for the Bills, they should consider bringing as many interior linemen to training camp as they possibly can. Halapio played well for the Gators, especially in pass protection. He has the size and strength that teams look for in interior linemen. Because he is coming off of an injury, he could be available for the Bills in the 7th round.
To me, this is the best-case draft scenario for the Bills. It would allow the Bills to address their lack of play makers on the offense, shore up the offensive line, and provide some insurance for the defense.