The Buffalo Bills are coming off another disappointing season, and enter this year’s draft with some major holes to fill. The team’s brain trust of general manager Doug Whaley and head coach Doug Marrone proved right off the bat that they aren’t afraid to go off the board, selecting EJ Manuel in the first round a year ago.
Some under the radar moves have helped fill some holes, with Chris Williams slated to fill a spot along the offensive line, and Brandon Spikes and Keith Rivers upgrading the linebacking corps.
Buffalo Bills (6-10)
Draft picks (by round)
Round 1 – 9
Round 2 – 41
Round 3 – 73
Round 4 – 109
Round 5 – 149
Round 6 – 185
Round 7 – 224
Here are five things to expect from the Bills on draft day:
Bills 2014 NFL Draft Predictions
They trade up early
The Bills seem to think they’re closer to contending than they actually are, and heaven forbid anyone throws around the word “rebuild” in upstate New York. If the team’s brass thinks they’re just a piece or two away, they may make a move to get a player that’s NFL-ready.
Moving up in the early rounds would also give Whaley and Marrone a chance to really make a mark on this team. Also, it sounds as if Marrone might already be playing for his job, so he’ll want the deepest roster possible.
They draft an offensive tackle with their first selection
The Bills have a hole at right tackle, and there’s certainly plenty of talent at the position near the top of the draft, with Auburn’s Greg Robinson, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews, and Michigan’s Taylor Lewan all slated to go in the top 10. Lewan seems like the most likely of those candidates to fall to the Bills.
Lewan spent four years with the Wolverines, and his NFL-readiness could make him especially attractive to the Bills. He can step in and protect EJ Manuel right away, something the Bills need after investing so heavily in him a year ago.
They draft a tight end in the second round
Tight end has been a bit of a dead spot for the team in recent years, occupied by plenty of retreads. Scott Chandler has shown some flashes, but he’s far too inconsistent.
There could be some talented players available when the team makes its selection. Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro gets no respect, but but up huge numbers for the Red Raiders this past season, and Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins was considered a sure-fire first round pick entering the season. Seferian-Jenkins in particular offers plenty of promise, and is developed enough in the blocking game to contribute right away.
They draft multiple defensive ends
The switch from a 3-4 defense back to a 4-3 under new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz could mean big things for the likes of Mario Williams and Kyle Williams, but they’ll need help, and Jerry Hughes isn’t the guy to do it.
They replace Jarius Byrd through the draft
While the team has said they will promote from within to fill Byrd’s spot, don’t be surprised if they take a safety somewhere in the middle rounds. USC’s Dion Bailey and Wisconsin’s Dezmen Southward are names to watch out for.
They draft a running back in the late rounds
It’s no secret that Doug Marrone likes to run the ball. It’s also no secret that Fred Jackson isn’t getting any younger. With durability concerns something that will always hang over C.J. Spiller’s head, the team needs some horses in the backfield.
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