Here’s a mish-mash of my different draft thoughts and rankings:
Bills 7 round mock draft (what I think the Bills SHOULD do):
Note: Picks are numbered in order of Bills selection, not by round. Bills picks are rounds 1, 2, 3, 5, 5, 5, 6.
- DeShone Kizer QB ND
- Taywan Taylor WR WKU
- Will Holden OT/Gareon Conley CB OSU (if available go Conley)
- Nate Hairston CB TEMP
- Jalen Reeves-Maybin LB TENN
- Xavier Woods S
- Whoever falls that is the “bad character” guy (Kelly, etc. Talent>effort>character) For now, Kelly
My Top 32 Big Board
- Myles Garrett EDGE TAMU
- Malik Hooker S OSU
- Marshon Lattimore CB OSU
- Solomon Thomas EDGE STAN
- OJ Howard TE BAMA
- DeShone Kizer QB ND
- Haason Reddick LB TEMP
- Malik McDowell DT MSU
- Charles Harris EDGE MIZZ
- David Njoku TE MIA
- Gareon Conley CB OSU
- Jonathan Allen DT BAMA
- Christian McCaffrey RB STAN
- Garrett Bolles OT UTAH
- Mitch Trubisky QB UNC
- Tim Williams EDGE BAMA
- Reuben Foster LB BAMA
- Corey Davis WR WMU
- Forrest Lamp OG WKU
- John Ross WR WASH
- Joe Mixon RB OKL
- Cam Robinson OT BAMA
- Jarrad Davis LB FLA
- Mike Williams WR CLEM
- Derek Rivers EDGE YST
- Tak McKinley EDGE UCLA
- Marlon Humphrey CB BAMA
- Evan Engram TE OLE
- Ryan Ramczyk OT WIS
- Chris Wormley DT MICH
- Chidobe Awuzie CB COL
- Marcus Williams S UTAH
- Dalvin Cook is not taken in the 1st round
- Jamal Adams falls out of the Top 20
- Derek Barnett is not taken in the first round
- Malik McDowell is the first DT selected
- Nate Peterman is not selected on the first two days of the draft
- The Bills will take a QB round 1, and it will be Deshone Kizer 🙂 (let me have fun)
DeShone Kizer QB ND- Have I said it all already? Kizer is my favorite QB, and it is not even close. Rule of thumb: draft the “he is not a good person, says every anonymous person and media member” guy. Fake narratives. If it feels fake, it probably is, and it definitely is with Kizer. Also, always remember the Dan Marino effect. Expectations being high and then not being met. Find out what changed and determine if the player changed or the circumstances damaged the player. In Kizer’s case, all of the above apply. The team was expected to be great, and it was simply bad. It really hurt his chances of success. Even still, I saw pocket traits and rare throws from different platforms that demonstrated his unique abilities. DeShone Kizer. Ride or die.
OJ Howard and David Njoku TE BAMA & MIA- Top tight end prospects since 2000: OJ Howard, David Njoku. These two are athletic freaks and can be grouped together. Both are receivers in Tight End bodies and are absolute defensive coordinator nightmares. How do you cover a guy that is bigger than all of your defensive backs, but so much faster than your linebackers? They can run routes like receivers, but make contested catches like tight ends. Both are scheme-changing players and are the next generation of great mismatches. I will take both over the top receivers in this class without hesitation.
Charles Harris EDGE MIZZ- Harris is just a damn good football player. He was used so improperly this past season that I was scratching my head watching just about every game. Your best EDGE rusher and penetrator, and you have him doing the opposite? Why? This is the problem with defensive scheme changes. An extremely talented player does not fit your scheme? Change your scheme. Let Harris terrorize QBs off the edge with his quick first step, an explosive counter spin and speed off the edge. Positional value: QB, then edge rusher. Guys like Harris do not fall. He needs to be an early selection.
Derek Rivers EDGE YST- He is not a universal defensive fit, but as a stand up outside rusher, he can flash double digit sack potential. Great first step paired with excellent initial hand usage. He can bend the edge and lean without sacrificing balance or speed. Converts speed to power, a key trait on the edge. He has disruptor written all over him, and that is what you need on the edge. He is going to make the scout that jumps on the table for him a lot of money. His two biggest flaws: low level of competition and power versus the run. He dominated the lower competition, and I just am not really concerned with how a great pass rusher does against the run in a passing league. Excellent day 2 selection.
Malik McDowell DT MSU- Bet on talent over effort. Effort guys who are not talented seem to have a much lower ceiling than the talent guys who lack effort, and for obvious reasons. A part of the draft is taking a chance and determining if it is worth the reward. Guys with McDowell’s skill set do not come along very often, and those are the guys I am taking chances on. The payoff is excellent. McDowell is a top notch disruptor in both facets of the game. He is the total package, using both strength and quickness to penetrate. Some worry about the effort. His team was horrible, so some are worried that will translate to the NFL. Here is where I get confused. If your team is that bad, why do you care if a guy is not trying? If you are good, you know he will try, and give you elite level production. So why do you care, even if he has effort issues on the next level?
Christian McCaffrey RB STAN- There are a few critical abilities a successful running back must have. Ability to make defenders miss? Check. Vision? Check. Ability as a receiver? Big check. He is built for a modern day offense. His play in space is incredible, and that is how the NFL is played today. Who can make more plays in one-on-one space, and who can create space? With his ability to make guys miss, McCaffrey creates. I normally dislike first round RBs greatly, but McCaffrey is an exception.
Taywan Taylor WR WKU- Arguably the most underhyped day 2 WR in this class, Taylor is explosive. His separation skills are evident in all areas of the field. He is not limited like many others in this class. While his size is not ideal, he actually plays bigger than his size suggests. This could be a result of his longer arms, and he does have a contested high point catch ability you would not think a player of his size would have. I like him a lot as a round 2 player, and he is my #5 WR.
Jalen Reeves-Maybin LB TENN- If he is not off the board at the beginning of day 3, the league is not doing this draft thing right. He is the perfect WILL linebacker who can run and chase, but most importantly COVER. It is a passing league, and when your linebacker slides out to nickel CB and Safety, you are in a good spot. He’s an athletic, instinctual player that disrupts. Reeves-Maybin is Buffalo’s dream linebacker. I kind of like him blitzing, too. He proved to be effective at Tennessee in that area. A part of me thinks he should go on day 2. Draft him, Buffalo.
Joe Williams RB UTAH- A big reason I put him on my flag players is because of the Buffalo fit. This is another player that the Bills should be all over. He is a zone, one cut style of runner that runs with decisiveness and quickness in the hole. He’s a really good athlete (seeing a theme yet?) that is falling, mainly due to character concerns (seeing another theme?) and a question of his commitment to football. When you get a guy with that kind of speed, vision and game breaking ability behind a very good offensive line that fits his skill set, you have the potential for a good starter on day 3. Steal.
Nate Hairston CB TEMP- This is the perfect McDermott mid round CB selection. He is your long, athletic, cover 3 corner that can be built into a long term starter. I will take Hairston in round 4 over Humphrey in round 1 every day. He shows excellent change of direction and tackling ability, which are necessary in this defense. He fits the mold of what you are looking for in today’s styles. He is far from a finished product, but should be a starter in 2-3 years.
Derek Barnett EDGE TENN- Strength is demolishing in the run game. He does not just set the edge, he makes disruptive plays with great hands. Unfortunately, these players are not valued in today’s NFL. It is a passing league, and if you are not an elite edge rusher, then you are not worthy of a first round pick. To be an elite edge rusher, you need an elite athletic profile. Barnett does not. He is incredibly average, and will be a serviceable run stopper. Day 2.
Pat Mahomes QB TTU- It is almost impossible to completely alter a player’s throwing style. They revert back to what they know. Think Tim Tebow. You can try to rebuild them all you want, but it just won’t happen. Mahomes is this. He has zero discipline in his game. When push comes to shove, he will revert back. Poor decision maker. Some fan base is going to be very unhappy in a few years.
Jamal Adams S LSU- I want nothing to do with him. At safety, if you are not exceptional in coverage, then you don’t belong in round 1. Adams is average in his change of direction ability. He is average in anticipation. Strong safeties whose skill set is in the box do not have high value in the NFL. Their pay reflects that. Adams is talked about in the same way LaRon Landry was. He will be a fine player, but he just won’t be important. He’s a day 2 player.
Jabrill Peppers S MICH- Guys who don’t have a definitive role or position do not belong in round 1. Same as Adams, “tweeners” are not valued. He has playmaking potential, but he is way too much of a projection for where he is supposed to be taken.
Jonathan Allen DT BAMA- I always worry about Alabama players with injury issues. They tend to linger. I have long term concerns here with his shoulders.
Marlon Humphrey CB BAMA- You can find zone corners relatively easily, especially in this draft. Humphrey struggles with the deep ball and often overreacts to receiver movements. While he does have raw skills to be coached up, I will let someone else draft him and get someone later that can be just as good.