BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino
After making a one of the biggest splashes of the first round in trading up to select Clemson WR Sammy Watkins, the Buffalo Bills enter Day 2 of the 2014 NFL draft set to select with the 41st and 73rd overall selections on Friday. Surprisingly, none of Buffalo’s 2014 draft picks were used in the move up to select Watkins.
Over the previous five drafts from 2009 to 2013, the Bills have had a great deal of success with their second-round picks, having selected Kiko Alonso, Robert Woods, Cordy Glenn, Aaron Williams, Jairus Byrd and Andy Levitre over that span. There is plenty of talent available that could help the Bills find another gem and fill needs with their Day 2 draft choices.
With no sixth-round pick this year, and having parted with next year’s first- and fourth-round selections in the Sammy Watkins trade, trading back on Day 2 seems like a viable option to gain additional selections. This year’s draft class is widely considered to be a deep talent pool, so moving back would allow the Bills to remain in position to fill needs and collect talent while recouping some draft picks they have parted with.
There are six offensive tackles graded as Day 2 picks who are still on the board. The highest rated tackle available is Nevada’s Joel Bitonio, but he doesn’t appear to fit the prototype of big, long offensive linemen that Buffalo seems to prefer. More likely Bills targets are Tennessee’s Antonio Richardson, Stanford’s Cameron Fleming, and Virginia’s Morgan Moses. All three potential targets have longer than 34” arms and project on the right side, which is where the Bills need help most with Cordy Glenn proving to be a high-level starter on the left side.
With the Bills employing a run-heavy offensive system, adding a guard who can create running lanes would be a welcome addition on Day 2. UCLA’s Xavier Su’a Filo, who I graded out in the first round and as the 19th overall player on my board, is surprisingly still available. Should he remain an option when the Bills are on the clock at the 41st pick, selecting Su’a-Filo would seem likely and represent terrific value.
Other Day Two guard options who would seem to be Bills targets are USC’s Marcus Martin, Mississippi State’s Gabe Jackson, Stanford’s David Yankey, North Dakota State’s Billy Turner, LSU’s Trai Turner and Furman’s Dakota Dozier. With so many names available, one of these guards could be the type of talent the Bills could trade back for and select while adding more draft choices in the process.
The Bills don’t have much proven talent behind Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes. The lack of depth, combined with Hughes’ contract expiring at the end of the 2014 season, makes defensive end a potential Day 2 option for the team. One pre-draft visitor who remains available is Oregon State’s Scott Crichton. The 23rd-ranked player on my board, Crichton would be a perfect base defensive end in Jim Schwartz 4-3 scheme.
Along with Crichton, there are still 10 defensive end prospects remaining with Day 2 grades who would make sense for the Bills. Those players include North Carolina’s Kareem Martin, Boise State’s Demarcus Lawrence, Georgia Tech’s Jeremiah Attaochu, Missouri’s Kony Ealy, Stanford’s Trent Murphy, Virginia Tech’s James Gayle, Texas’ Jackson Jeffcoat, West Virginia’s Will Clarke and Arkansas’ Chris Smith.
As 12 of the Bills’ 29 pre-draft visitors were either a running back or cornerback, it’s apparent the Bills have an interest in adding to both positions. With 10 of those 12 players remaining on the board, it would come as no surprise if the Bills utilize a Day 2 selection on either position. I have seven running backs and seven cornerbacks with Day 2 grades who are still on the board entering tonight’s second and third rounds.