Round 4, Pick 109: Ross Cockrell, CB, Duke
The Bills brought in six cornerbacks for predraft visits, including Cockrell, so you could see that the team hoped to add depth to their secondary.
One thing Cockrell will add to the Bills defensive backfield is size, Bills director of player personnel Jim Monos said in a press conference Saturday.
“That is what jumps out right away: his size. You love his size and he’s played there and competed well every year there. He’s a winner, has ball skills, has good speed. Every guy we’ve taken so far has been a part of winning program and that is a big thing we’re stressing.”
Cockrell was one of the best cornerbacks available at this point in the draft. The cornerback has terrific ball skills, is strong in coverage and is likely to contribute on special teams this season. After sustaining multiple injuries to their secondary in 2013, Buffalo was wise to add depth to the position.
Round 5, Pick 153: Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor
This may have been the best value pick in the entire draft. Many draft analysts saw Richardson as a second-round prospect.
Richardson became the second massive lineman added by the Bills in this year’s draft (6’5″ and 329 lbs.) and he is someone who will fight for a starting job immediately. In the fifth round, Richardson was the best lineman available. He’s powerful and uses his hands well to push defensive linemen back.
Jim Monos praised Richardson for his power.
“He’s a big mauler type guard who can gain movement. We just love his power and his strength. This guy has played against some of the top competition and played in the Senior Bowl. We followed him and it’s just another big guard for us.”
Richardson should see plenty of playing time in his rookie season. This pick helped solidify Buffalo’s offensive line.
Round 7, Pick 221: Randell Johnson, LB, Florida Atlantic
Buffalo spent one of their last picks on Johnson, a linebacker who didn’t have much communication with the Bills throughout the pre-draft process, but was apparently the team’s best player available at pick 221.
At Florida Atlantic, Johnson said he had multiple roles.
“They used me everywhere,” Johnson said during a conference call Saturday. “They used me for blitzing, stopping the run, for coverage. In all types of schemes I was everywhere. I wasn’t just a one-player person. I was all over the field.”
Johnson isn’t likely to see much playing time as a linebacker. To make the team, he’ll have to be outstanding on special teams.
Round 7, Pick 237: Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami
Henderson is a prototypical offense tackle who stands at 6’7″ and 331 pounds. In terms of talent alone, Henderson was seen as a second-round player. However, off-field issues caused Henderson to fall. He had issues with marijuana at Miami and after telling teams he put it in his past, he failed a drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Doug Whaley was apparently very straight-forward with Henderson, according to ESPN’s Mike Rodak.
Doug Whaley on Seantrel Henderson: “We talked to him. He knows he has one shot.”
— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) May 10, 2014
If Henderson keeps his head on straight, he might end up being a bigger steal than Richardson was in round five.
It’s apparent that Buffalo is trying to add as much bulk as possible to their offensive line. Henderson said all the right things after being drafted by Buffalo.
“Everybody pretty much knows about my past and I was very truthful about my past and I am just looking forward to moving on and becoming a professional,” Henderson told BuffaloBills.com.
Buffalo took a similar risk on wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers last season as an undrafted free agent. Rogers’ lack of effort at training camp led to his release. Whaley is a man of his word, so Henderson will have to show up focused and determined if he wanted to stick in Buffalo.
The Bills hit a proverbial home run in terms of draft value. Buffalo added the top wide receiver in the draft class as well as three offensive linemen who had Day 2 grades from multiple draft evaluators.
Some of these players have red flags in terms of injury concerns or off-the-field transgressions. However, the Kouandjio, Richardson and Henderson picks were terrific in terms of value.
The only pick that may get knocked in terms of value was Preston Brown, but he could be the heir apparent at run-stopping middle linebacker whenever Brandon Spikes departs from the team.
Buffalo said their primary goal was adding help for EJ Manuel. After adding the most explosive player in the draft and three massive offensive linemen, it’s safe to say, “mission accomplished.” Adding Brown via trade was another strong move for the Bills.
Defensively, the team needed to add help at linebacker and defensive end, while adding depth to their secondary. The Bills did add two linebackers in the draft, but only Brown is a safe pick in terms of making the team. Defensive end was not addressed, so the Bills are apparently satisfied with the players currently have. Secondary depth was addressed in Cockrell, who the team likes for his size and smarts.
Overall Grade: B
I’m not a fan of giving a draft class a grade until they’ve played for about three years, but this grade is based on the value of the players they added as well how well they addressed their needs.
In a few years, this draft class could easily be seen as one of the best in the league if all of the players with red flags thrive on the field. The grade could also drop significantly if any of the players’ bodies don’t hold up injury-wise or if players succumb to their past transgressions.
That being said, this draft class will be exciting to follow in rookie workouts and training camp. Come September, we’ll know how much of an immediate impact the players can actually have, dependent upon their playing time and where they stand on the team’s depth chart.
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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft, Buffalo Bills, Cyril Richardson, Cyrus Kouandjio, Draft Grades, Draft Recap, Draft Reviews, NFL Draft, Preston Brown, Randell Johnson, Ross Cockrell, Sammy Watkins, Seantrel Henderson