Buffalo Bills fans are excited about the team’s future for numerous reasons, one of which is the team’s 2013 NFL draft class. The Bills selected eight players, and they will be expecting many of those players to make a big impact immediately in their rookie seasons.
Typically, first-round picks are expected to make the most impact among the team’s rookie draft class, but the answer is not so simple with this year’s Bills draft class. The Bills took a big risk with their first-round selection of Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel, and he may not be as immediately ready to excel in the NFL as some of the Bills’ other players, including their two second-round picks, USC wide receiver Robert Woods and Oregon inside linebacker Kiko Alonso.
Which Bills rookie do you think will have the best season in 2013?
We here at BBD each put together our thoughts on who the team’s best rookie will be this season. Woods and Alonso each received three votes among our staff writers, while an undrafted free agent also received a vote. Manuel did not receive any votes from the staff writers.
Check out the writers’ predictions, then give us your own thoughts in the comments thread below! We will keep a running tally of who has received votes, and re-post well thought out and unique responses!
ILB Kiko Alonso (5 votes):
Ryan Talbot (Staff Writer): I believe Kiko Alonso will be the Bills’ best rookie. As of right now, I don’t see any scenario where he’s not starting on the Bills’ defense in Week 1. Manuel and Woods are also both likely to start, but they’ll have up and down games. Alonso will man the middle and thrive in Mike Pettine’s defense.
Eric Samulski (Staff Writer): As much as I love what I think Robert Woods and Duke Williams will bring to the team from the get go, I have to go with Kiko here. He plays a position where the Bills have arguably the least talent. He’s versatile, aggressive, and talented. It’s just a perfect storm of opportunity and talent.
Evan Sidery (Staff Writer): Kiko Alonso is my vote. He has the versatility to play inside or outside in Buffalo’s hybrid defense. Has high intensity and motor that coaches and fans will fall in love with. Alonso has a chance to lead the Bills in tackles this upcoming season.
Nick Zelko (Reader Response): After everything I’ve been reading its really easy to pick Woods but I have to go with Kiko. I like the thought of Woods making the biggest impact but that all depends on the play of the QB which, whoever starts, will be inconsistent all year. Kiko from what I have read is looking real good at OTA’s and has a ton of upside. And Mario Williams said he reminds him of Brian Cushing and I’m ok with that!
Grif (Reader Response): I’d have to agree with Kiko. He’s going to be asked to blitz a lot in the defense (is the perfect linebacker to do it) so we’ll see him making a lot of plays in the back field.
WR Robert Woods (3 votes):
Dan Hope (Editor): Woods should immediately emerge as one of the Bills’ top two receiving targets. An outstanding route-runner who has great hands, plays with physicality and is a dynamic open-field runner, Woods will be both a go-to intermediate target and a big-play threat. He is a versatile receiver who can line up both outside and in the slot, and is a willing blocker, so he should be on the field for nearly every offensive snap. Woods has the skill set to be the 2013 NFL draft’s best wide receiver.
Joseph Curtis (Staff Writer): Robert Woods will have the most impact of the Bills rookies. Woods can be a top short-to-intermediate receiver who will open up the passing game for other receivers and can help in the running game. While his 2013 stats may not reflect his impact, he will become a steady, consistent player that the offense leans on and finally give the Bills a solid option in the passing game besides Stevie Johnson.
Joe Marino (Staff Writer): I will say Robert Woods. The Bills haven’t had a legitimate wide receiver to play next to Stevie Johnson yet. Robert Woods is the most NFL ready of any receiver in the draft and that should allow Johnson to lineup outside and inside to create more favorable matchups for Johnson. I am not predicting a monster stat line out of Woods, but his ability to catch, run routes, locate the ball, and run after the catch will allow more versatility on offense. He reminds me of Isaac Bruce in many ways.
WR Da’Rick Rogers (1 vote):
Glenn Gifford (Staff Writer):My vote for 2013 rookie with the greatest impact will be Da’Rick Rogers. While my pick is based entirely on hope, if Rogers has his head on straight and focuses on football he could be the best wide receiver talent from the 2013 draft. He has a chip on his shoulder and has something to prove, a combination that will help a young Bills’ receiving corps.
QB EJ Manuel (1 vote):
Dave (Reader Response): If the question was which Buffalo Bills rookie will “be the best” then the correct answer is likely to be found in the aforementioned three players (Alonso, Woods, Rogers). However, the question was which Buffalo Bills rookie will “make the biggest impact.” Middle linebackers don’t win you any football games. Number two and three wide recievers don’t win you football games. You need them in order to win. But, they don’t win you the game. Quarterbacks do. Manuel will absolutely have up and down games most likely riddled with inevitable inconsistencies, but quarterbacks win football games and thus, despite the ups and downs, EJ Manuel will “make the biggest impact.”
Who do you think should be the best Bills rookie in 2013?