Predicting Each Buffalo Bills 2015 Draft Pick
After free agency frenzy 2015, the AFC East promises to be one of the more hotly contested divisions within the NFL. The defending champions in New England have long had a stronghold on the division but with Suh and Stills in Miami and Revis and Marshall in New York, and Shady and Clay in Buffalo, the division battle will not be won easily. New Head coach Rex Ryan should add another element of excitement while the Bills continue to deal with quarterback inconsistencies while the defense continues to flourish.
The additions of Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor will create a battle with EJ Manuel ensuring the best passer will be dishing it to Lasean McCoy and Sammy Watkins. McCoy is an extremely welcomed commodity even though the price was promising linebacker Kiko Alonso while Richey Incognito joins Cordy Glenn on the offensive line in attempts to keep the quarterback upright. The injury prone CJ Spiller is away for New Orleans and veteran tight end joins the division rival Patriots leaving the tight end position weight on new acquisition Charles Clay.
The front seven remains menacing with Marcell Dareus and Mario Williams with Brandon Spikes right behind. The deal made to acquire Watkins, while seemingly worth it, leaves Buffalo without a first or fourth round pick with a pair of fifths. This puts the team in a difficult position with quarterback being their main concern, but should the team roll with Manuel, surrounding him with the right pieces could lead the team to divisional relevancy. In order to keep up with the rest of the division, look for the Bills to bolster their defense while strengthening the offensive line and adding a safety.
Round 2, Laken Tomlinson, OG, Duke
Incognito should be able to anchor the left guard position while Tomlinson can start right away on the right side. He moves with good agility for his size and displays a strong base and good blocking technique. A part time neurologist and college double major, the athletic guard is disciplined and intelligent making him a safe pick to hopefully make a big impact clearing the way for McCoy and keeping the quarterback healthy.
Round 3, Nate Orchard, DE, Utah
Orchard is a converted receiver who is still learning but shows a strong pattern of growth and improvement. He brings a unique style of finesse and quickness to the defensive line position and is equally capable of dropping back into coverage and using a spin or inside move to speed rush an offensive lineman. Orchard might not be able to contribute quickly but could be disruptive in sub packages for the Bills
Round 4 Jaquiste Tartt, S, Samford
While the run defense remains potent with pass rushers and big bodies, the pass defense could improve with some help over the top with DaNorris Searcy off to Tennesee. Aaron and Duke Williams did a good job last year over the top but Tartt could add another element of run support and zone coverage with punishing tackles in pursuit and open space.
Round 5 (2 picks) Zach Hodges, OLB, Harvard + Blake Bell, TE, Oklahoma
With Alonso injured, the middle of the defense relied heavily on Brandon Spikes and Nigel Bradham, who performed admirably but adding another capable guy to the line-backing core should be a priority. Hodges has tremendous athleticism with explosive changes in direction and the speed necessary to fit a variety of schemes. With some added bulk, Hodges could add a pass rushing presence in Buffalo's occasional use of the wide 9 scheme. Bell is a raw yet coachable position convert that if properly developed could turn into a sure handed pass catcher for a young Bills offense. Assuming Buffalo chooses to roll with EJ Manuel, securing a sure handed tight end will be pivotal in his development. Having the safety net of a short yardage passing play or a powerful seam gives an inexperienced or shaky Manuel an easy check down. While former Dolphins star Charles Clay should be called for most tight end duties, Bell would offer some raw depth at a thin position in Buffalo
Round 6, Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford
A well built and versatile player, Montgomery has the physical tools to contribute as a deep threat or a slot receiver opposite Sammy Watkins. Also a dynamic returner, Montgomery also displays game changing possession skills and presents an intriguing upside if he can improve his catching consistency and can immediately effect the game as a special teamer.
Round 7, Jeffery Whittaker, DT, Auburn
Kyle Williams remains an elite defensive tackle at age 31 but getting younger in the mean time won't hurt the Buffalo defense. Whittaker first turned heads at Auburn's pro day with 41 bench press repetitions which would have led all prospects had he been invited to the combine. Good size and first step speed outweigh injury concerns while strong character and leadership make Whittaker an excellent candidate to be taken late in the draft