May 11, 2014

2014 NFL Draft Review: Buffalo Bills

#2 Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Buffalo Bills
Division: AFC East | Last Season Record: 6-10

What Needed to be addressed in the Draft: Help E.J. Manuel. It's as simple as that. When you invest a first round pick in a quarterback, you must put him in the best position to succeed. A number one receiver, a play making tight end, and at least a starting right tackle should be on the radar.

Defensively, adding another pass rusher makes a lot of sense, while they could also draft a safety to pair with Aaron Williams, or compete with Da'Norris Searcy for the starting job.

Individual Draft Picks:

Round 1

4. (4) Sammy Watkins*, WR
Experience: Junior | School: Clemson
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 214 lbs.

Round 2

12. (44) Cyrus Kouandjio*, OT
Experience: Junior | School: Alabama
Height: 6-7 | Weight: 322 lbs.

Round 3

9. (73) Preston Brown, ILB
Experience: Senior | School: Louisville
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 250 lbs.

Round 4

9. (109) Ross Cockrell, CB
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Duke
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 190 lbs.

Round 5

13. (153) Cyril Richardson, OG
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Baylor
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 333 lbs.

Round 7

6. (221) Randell Johnson, OLB
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Florida Atlantic
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 242 lbs.

22. (237) Seantrel Henderson, OT
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Miami
Height: 6-7 | Weight: 339 lbs.

Two Picks of Note:

Best Value Pick:

Cyril Richardson, OG (Round 5, Pick 13)
Experience: Senior (RS) | School: Baylor
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 333 lbs.

Analysis: Once thought to be the best guard in the draft and a potential first round pick, Richardson struggled a bit during the pre-draft process. However, I still thought he should have been a 3rd round pick. Potentially getting a starting guard in the 5th round deserves high praise.

Most Questionable Pick:

Preston Brown, ILB (Round 3, Pick 9)
Experience: Senior | School: Louisville
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 250 lbs.

Analysis: Not a fan of this pick. Preston Brown had a 6th round grade from me, so they definitely reached for a player who I don't think will be a starter for them. He does add need depth, however.

Undrafted Free Agent Signings:

Most Notable

Kenny Ladler, FS
Experience: Senior | School: Vanderbilt
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 200 lbs.

Analysis: It surprised me that Ladler went undrafted, considering I thought he was worth an early day 3 pick. He made a lot of plays at Vanderbilt, and should be able to secure a roster spot at the very least.

Other Free Agent Signings

Darrin Kitchens, OLB Florida
Darius Robinson, CB, Clemson
Damien Jacobs, DT, Florida
Deon Broomfield, S, Iowa State
Jimmy Gaines, LB, Miami
Derek Brim, DB, Buffalo
Alex Neutz, WR, Buffalo

Draft Review:

Analysis: The Bills started their draft off with a bang, trading up for the best receiver in this class in Sammy Watkins. Since they were lacking a true number one receiver, this was a great pick, but giving up their 2015 1st round pick may cost them.

Cyrus Kouandjio wasn't consistent in 2013, and medical concerns hurt his draft stock, but he has Tyron Smith upside, and should be a very good right tackle, pairing with left tackle Cordy Glenn.

Preston Brown is a thumper, and could eventually fill Brandon Spikes's role, but he was a three round reach in my opinion. While Rock Cockrell was another reach to me, I liked the pick, because he'll immediately compete for #3 or #4 cornerback duties, and the value wasn't that far off.

I talked about how good the Cyril Richardson pick was, but how about getting one of the most talented players in this draft in Seantrel Henderson in the 7th round? When he wants to play, he can be dominant, and was well worth the gamble late in the draft. It wouldn't shock me if he eventually starts over Cyrus Kouandjio.

The Verdict: Starting with the bad, the Bills failed to come out of this draft with a play making tight end, so they'll be counting on either Tony Moeaki, Lee Smith, or Chris Gragg to step up this season. And maybe they should have added another pass rusher, but this was a strong draft. When you can come away with 3 starters, and fill your two biggest needs, it's a win.

Overall Grade: B+