NFL Draft Mailbag 1/11/14: Joe Marino Answers Reader Questions

Greg Robinson is among the Buffalo Bills’ potential targets with the No. 9 overall selection. (Photo: Derick E. Hingle — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino

From now through the NFL draft in May, Buffalo Bills Draft will run a series of mailbags in which we answer your questions about the upcoming draft. To participate, be on the lookout for our announcements seeking NFL draft questions on Twitter!

This week, we asked readers to submit their questions to assistant editor Joe Marino (@TheJoeMarino), who chose 10 NFL draft inquiries to respond to.

@scottybhoy16: In your opinion, what is Buffalo’s greatest need at #9 and who do you think they should take?

The Buffalo Bills’ greatest need at the No. 9 overall pick is to help quarterback EJ Manuel and surround him with as much talent as possible to allow him to succeed. In my opinion, the three possible draft selections who would most help Manuel are North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron, Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins and Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson.

@nflfanscomx: What quarterbacks besides EJ Manuel are on the roster Week 1 next year?

I honestly do not see there being much shakeup in the quarterback room next season, with all three current quarterbacks under contract for 2014. Thad Lewis has shown enough to be a viable backup and the team appears happy with Jeff Tuel as the third-string, developmental quarterback. That said, if a quarterback with intriguing physical tools was available late in the draft, the Bills could utilize a late-round pick on a quarterback to compete with Tuel.

@ChrisTrapasso: Which position is the deepest? And from that position, which “non Round 1 pick” is your favorite?

Linebacker. Offensive tackle and wide receiver are not far behind, but I see the most potential NFL starters coming from this year’s linebacker class.

A non-first round prospect who I really like is East Carolina’s Derrell Johnson. He is a guy that should ascend throughout the draft season. He has terrific size at 6’2’’ and 264 pounds, while he has actually played in a standup role for the Pirates.

He is extremely physical at setting the edge and is terrific in pursuit of the ball while shifting through traffic. He displays excellent upfield burst and bend off the edge while rushing the passer, and is not a liability in coverage. He will be a player to monitor closely at the Shrine Game and Combine.

@PhilGarrty: Khalil Mack or Anthony Barr?

Among the 2014 draft’s top outside linebackers, Khalil Mack is a more complete player than Anthony Barr. (Photo: Kevin Hoffman — USA Today Sports)

I am firmly on Khalil Mack’s side of this argument, and I have been there since before the season started. While Barr brings more speed off the edge, Mack is a far more complete player.

Barr struggles to hold up at the point of attack and is a liability against the run. He is a very poor tackler and despite being extremely athletic, he appears lost at times when dropping into coverage. Mack can not only rush the passer, but he is a great tackler and is stout when taking on and shedding blocks. His instincts are superior to Barr’s and I see him as a much better football player.

@tylerjwarriner: What position does C.J. Mosley play in the NFL?

Plug C.J. Mosley into the middle of a 3-4 or 4-3 defense, and forget about the position for 10 years. I like him best inside in a role that keeps him on the field for all three downs. His ability to play the run, blitz and drop into coverage at a high level will make him the face of an NFL team’s defense.

@Ebstide52: If you were Buffalo, would you go defense at 9 and then trade back into the first round and draft Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews?

So much of this question depends on what players are available at No. 9. I think the Bills should take every opportunity to surround EJ Manuel with as much talent as possible. I think Eric Ebron, Sammy Watkins, Jake Matthews (Texas A&M offensive tackle) and Greg Robinson should be the Bills’ first choices if available. If none of those players are available, then the Bills could consider defense or trading back to acquire additional picks.

I do not think the Bills should trade back into the first round, particularly for a receiver. With the depth at wide receiver in this year’s draft, players with similar ability to Matthews (or possibly Matthews himself) will be available at No. 41 overall, where the Bills are scheduled to pick in the second round.

@AaronAloysius: If you were put in charge of a new, last-minute all-star game, which invite-less prospects would you call first?

Terrific question that was much easier to answer before this week’s announcement of prospects invited to the NFLPA Game. I have two names that come to mind.

Although Trey Burton played many roles in his Florida career, he has not earned an invite to an all-star game. (Photo: Kevin Liles — USA Today Sports)

First is Florida offensive weapon Trey Burton. Burton has contributed as a thrower, runner, receiver, blocker and returner for the Gators, but never carved out a niche. An all-star game opportunity would give scouts a chance to see him in a definitive role and compare him with other players at that position.

The other player is South Carolina defensive end Chaz Sutton. Sutton was expected to breakout in his senior season after a five-sack junior season. While his senior season was not what he hoped for, he is a player I would like to take a closer look at in an all-star game setting. At 6’5’’ and 263 pounds, he has a terrific frame for a 4-3 defensive end.

@The_Fman: Is there any way the Bills get Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans?

I expect Mike Evans to be available for the Bills to select with the No. 9 pick, but I wouldn’t take him that early. This is a deep draft class of wide receivers, and Evans is far from a sure thing. Growing concerns about his speed, athleticism and route running are pushing him down the board. If Sammy Watkins isn’t available, I think the Bills should hold off in the first round from drafting a wide receiver.

@The_Fman: Do you think the Bills trade any current players for draft picks?

My guess would be no. The most likely candidates to trade would be running back CJ Spiller and wide receiver Stevie Johnson, but I do not envision those moves happening. I wouldn’t rule out draft day trades to acquire additional selections.

@jimmmygillespie: Which player to which team makes sense?

Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the Houston Texans with the No. 1 overall pick seems perfect, and a great situation for him to succeed in right away. Bridgewater is the clear top quarterback in this class and Houston needs to solidify the position. They already have plenty of talent around him.

For the Chicago Bears, a team that gave up 510 more rushing yards than any other team this season while giving up 5.3 yards per rush, selecting Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix would be a great start in fixing that run defense.


Tags: 2014 NFL Draft, Anthony Barr, C.J. Mosley, Chaz Sutton, Derrell Johnson, Draft Projections, Khalil Mack, Louis Nix, Mailbag, Mike Evans, Teddy Bridgewater, Trey Burton

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