It’s draft time. We’ve had our experts tell you who will be drafted, but now it’s time for you to throw on your GM cap and vote which player should be drafted where. Each day we will present an argument for each player and why the respective team should pick them. Then, it’s up to you. You make the pick. The next day, we will compile the results and you can see who is off the board. Disagree with all of the options? Be sure to write in your pick below in the comments section. Ok, let’s get into it. The Buffalo Bills on the clock.
1999 seems like such a long time ago … especially in Buffalo. But why? Because that’s the last time the Bills actually made a playoff appearance. Yeah, we’re going on 14 years here.
So, what can be done to finally end the misery? New head coach Doug Marrone takes over for Chan Gailey and comes from just a short distance away (Syracuse). Let’s see if he has what it takes to get the Bills over the hump, so to speak.
OK, so what holes need filling? Quarterback for one, as the Bills finally gave up on Ryan Fitzpatrick, releasing the Harvard grad after the 2012 season. The team signed perennial question mark Kevin Kolb during the offseason, but is he REALLY the long-term answer?
The spotlight will also shine on the offensive line as the Bills lost standout guard Andy Levitre in free agency. The good news is there are several good options at the spot in this year’s draft. The Bills could also use a receiving threat opposite Stevie Johnson, but will they reach high for one of the top options this year? Let’s find out what you think.
West Virginia QB Geno Smith
Let’s face it: Kevin Kolb is just a stopgap. The Bills will need someone they can bank on for the future. Geno Smith can be that guy, even though this year’s crop of quarterback doesn’t have the strength of years past. If the Bills can tread water with Kolb for a couple season, Smith can use that time to acclimate to NFL speed and learn to read pro-level defenses. Smith can make all the NFL throws and has all the physical tools to play in the league.
Alabama OG Chance Warmack
Warmack can step in right away and make Bills Nation forget about Andy Levitre. Most team wouldn’t reach for a guard this high in the draft, but Warmack could end up being an exception. An All-American in his senior season with the Crimson Tide, he has earned notice for his quick feet and exceptional pass-blocking ability. Plus, it’s not often when you see a player earn this type of praise from Alabama coach Nick Saban: “I think people that have his kind of balance and body control and the kind of athleticism that he has at his size are rare commodities. Everybody knows that those guys play 12, 14, 15 years. I think Chance has a chance to have that kind of career.”
LSU LB Barkevious Mingo
New defensive coordinator is looking for versatility from his linebackers as the team plans to run multiple defensive fronts. Mingo is an athletic freak who can be a terror rushing from the edge on the next level. His size (6-4, 240 pounds) is NFL ready as is, but he still can add more muscle. It’s his speed and long arms that separates him from most defensive prospects in this draft. His quick burst blows past offensive lineman and creates havoc in the backfield. However, he did have a relatively quiet season at LSU in 2012. Will that scare the Bills away? It’s up to you to decide.
North Carolina OG Jonathan Cooper
The Bills will have a second great option to replace Levitre with Jonathan Cooper. Does he have strength? Well, he bench-pressed 225 pounds 35 times for NFL scouts, so we’d say yes. Does have have experience? He made 47 career starts for the Tar Heels as he passed up a chance to come out early to stay for his senior season at North Carolina. Cooper was a consensus All-American and was a finalist for the Outland Trophy. Cooper is about as close to a slam-dunk as you can get.
West Virginia WR Tavon Austin
Looking for a receiving threat? Tavon Austin is your guy. He’s got the speed (4.28 seconds in the 40) to blow past NFL defensive backs and can be a perfect counterpart to Bills WR Stevie Johnson. He does have a small frame (5-8, 174 pounds), but his upside is so much that the Bills could be willing to roll the dice on him. Check the tape. Looks like a video game, right? DeSean Jackson is another guy with a small frame coming out of college, but he seemed to have done just fine at the NFL level. Tavon Austin is worth the gamble.