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Bills picks present plethora of possibilities

By Aubrey Gibert
On April 24, 2013


After months of evaluating and scouting, the NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall is just a day
Coming off a disappointing 6-10 season, the Buffalo Bills made wholesale changes including the
releasing of starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and firing of head coach Chan Gailey. They
answered by hiring Doug Marrone as head coach. He takes over a team that has not made the
playoffs in 13 seasons, the longest drought in the league.
The Bills do have some young, promising players in C.J. Spiller, Stevie Johnson, Jairus Byrd and
Mario Williams. But they also have plenty of needs to address and only six picks to work with.
Here are the Bills' biggest needs heading into the draft:
As they say in the NFL, you can only go as far as your quarterback takes you. In the Bills' case,
they haven't had good signal caller since Jim Kelly. In recent drafts, the Bills have passed on
good quarterbacks - cough, cough, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick - and haven't moved up
to select one they liked. Buddy Nix has made it known that the Bills are finally looking to get a
franchise quarterback.
Unfortunately for the Bills, this year's class doesn't have a sure-fire franchise quarterback like
Andrew Luck or Griffin. However, it is littered with good quarterbacks who would be upgrades
over Kevin Kolb.
With the eighth overall pick, the Bills would have to be lucky if top quarterback prospect Geno
Smith fell to them.
But the Bills are also reportedly interested in USC product Matt Barkley. Most see him as the
most NFL-ready after playing four years in a pro-style offense. If the Bills like Barkley's upside,
he could be their first pick.
Of course, we can't have the quarterback conversation without talking about Ryan Nassib, who
played under Marrone at Syracuse. Ever since Marrone took over in Buffalo, Nassib rumors have
run rampant. The Bills have serious interest in Nassib, but he may be a reach at eight and Buffalo
might have to run the risk of hoping he falls to the second round.
Wide Receiver
After quarterback, receiver is the Bills' biggest need. Buffalo let Donald Jones and David Nelson
walk, leaving Stevie Johnson as the only receiver on the roster that has a 35-catch season to his
Seen as one of the deepest positions in the draft, the Bills have options. One of the top-ranked
receivers, Cordarrelle Patterson out of Tennessee, has been rumored to the Bills at eight. Many
see him as too raw, however, after playing just a year of Division I football. Tavon Austin has
seen his name skyrocket up draft boards all the way to the Bills, who reportedly have him high
on their list. That could just be a smokescreen to get teams to trade up, though.
Potential second-round options include Keenan Allen of California, Patterson's Tennessee
teammate Justin Hunter, USC's Robert Woods and DeAndre Hopkins from Clemson.
Offensive Line
After not re-signing Andy Levitre, the Bills suddenly have a hole at left guard that needs to be
addressed. Nix has come out and publicly said he doesn't see guard as a need, but proceeded to
complement the two guards projected to go in the first round.
Chance Warmack of Alabama is the top-rated guard in this class and seen as the best guard to
come out in years by some. The second-rated guard is Jonathan Cooper of North Carolina, who
is a road paver in the run game.
If the Bills stick true to selecting the best player available, it may lead them to either Cooper or
Warmack. They wouldn't be the sexiest picks, but would definitely fill a need.
It's uncertain what kind of scheme new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine plans to run, but
regardless, the Bills have a need at linebacker.
First-round linebacker prospects include Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree of Georgia and Manti
Te'o from Notre Dame.
Other top prospects include Kevin Minter (LSU), Jonathan Bostic (Florida), Nico Johnson
(Alabama) and Arthur Brown (KSU).
Nix has stated a team can never have enough cornerbacks. This rings especially true for the Bills
after switching Aaron Williams to safety this offseason.
The top-rated corner, Dee Milliner of Alabama, is not assumed to get past Cleveland at pick six.
But if he falls to the Bills at eight, don't be surprised if they take him to create a quality corner
tandem with Stephon Gilmore.
Other cornerbacks that could be of interest, either in the first or later rounds include Xavier
Rhodes (Floirda State), Desmond Trufant (Washington), Jonathan Banks (Mississippi State) and
David Amerson (North Carolina State).
The Bills have numerous needs and addressing all of them in this draft will not happen. But
expect Buffalo to select a few starters who will be leaders of this franchise for seasons to come.
Aubrey Gibert can be reached by email at

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