Over the last two weeks we’ve seen the Rams and Eagles each give up a bevy of picks to acquire the first and second overall selections, all but guaranteeing that the two highly touted quarterbacks of the class are the first players off the board on Thursday night. So what will happen after that?
I’ll take you through the first three rounds of the NFL draft laying out some possible outcomes from a Bills’ perspective. Each team will be listed at their respective pick with the player they are selecting and their biggest needs. Keep in mind that in total the Bills have nine picks, so beyond the three rounds of this mock draft they’ll have a lot more decisions to make. Also, remember to keep an open mind! Mock drafts are mostly for fun.
1) Los Angeles Rams (QB, WR, CB) – From Tennessee
The Pick: QB Jared Goff, Cal – No surprises here. Of the two quarterbacks at the top of the board Goof seems more “ready to start.” LA has their team back and now it has a face.
2) Philadelphia Eagles (RB, OL, WR, Edge) – From Cleveland
The Pick: QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State – The Eagles didn’t give up all those draft picks to draft Ezekiel Elliot, they wanted one of these top quarterbacks. It appears that they fancy Wentz a little bit more than Goff and they’ll get their guy.
3) San Diego Chargers (DL, OL, S, TE)
The Pick: DB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State – A lot of mock drafts have the Chargers taking Tunsil, but they have an onslaught of tackles at their disposal and their defense needs some major improvements. What Ramsey offers them is a guy that can fill their void at safety or cornerback to help shore up a vulnerable secondary.
4) Dallas Cowboys (CB, RB, QB, DL)
The Pick: RB Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State – This will go down as one of the most absurd picks in recent memory – who takes a running back in the top five these days? But it’s Jerry Jones, so anything is possible. Elliot will ideally give the Cowboys a prolific rushing threat to compliment Tony Romo and Dez Bryant.
5) New York Jets (QB, Edge, LB) – Trade with Jacksonville
The Pick: QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis – Lynch is clearly the next viable quarterback on the board after Wentz and Goff, and the drop off after those three is pretty severe. New York clearly isn’t biting on Ryan Fitzpatrick’s contract figures and need to make a splash at QB to compete. Worried that the 49ers, Browns and even the Bills are considering Lynch the Jets move up to take those teams out of the equation, but as we know that comes at a high price. The Jets find a suitor for Muhammed Wilkerson, while also giving up their 20th overall pick and 2017 first-rounder to move up to five.
6) Baltimore Ravens (OL, CB, OLB, WR)
The Pick: T Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss – On Thursday morning there was no way the Ravens imagined Tunsil – the top rated player in the draft – dropping all the way to them at six. With a dire need for offensive line help, Baltimore wastes no time signing the card and running to the podium.
7) San Francisco 49ers (QB, LB, T, G, WR)
The Pick: LB Myles Jack, UCLA – Missing out on Lynch is disappointing, but there is no need for the 49ers to panic. There next highest need is linebacker and Jack is available.
8) Cleveland Browns (QB, WR, DL, LB, OL) – From Philadelphia
The Pick: DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State – The Browns need A LOT, starting with quarterback. However, they weren’t sold on Wentz and Goff enough to hang around at two and take one or the other. Instead they traded down and addressed a different need of defensive end/defensive line. Of course they’re very familiar with Bosa – having played just south down Ohio, Route 71 in Columbus – and they keep him in the Buckeye State to begin his NFL career.
9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (CB, S, DE)
The Pick: DE DeForest Buckner, Oregon – Like Baltimore with Tunsil, Tampa Bay didn’t expect Buckner, Ronnie Stanley and Vernon Hargreaves to all be available here – boy did that Jets trade throw things off. It’s decision time and they ultimately go with Buckner, deploying the “best player available” strategy.
10) New York Giants (LB, WR, T, RB, S)
The Pick: T Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame – With a void to fill along the offensive line, Stanley falls right into the Giants lap at 10.
11) Chicago Bears (Edge, CB, OL)
The Pick: DE Shaq Lawson, Clemson – Needing an edge rusher in the worst way the Bears go defense here and take the best one still available in Lawson.
12) New Orleans Saints (DL, OLB, CB, WR)
The Pick: WR Laquan Treadwell, Ole Miss – New Orleans has a decision to make at number 12. They obviously need defense, but they also need to take advantage of Drew Brees’ final, quality years. They opt to grab the top receiver of the 2016 class and snare a physical number one target for their future hall of fame QB to throw to.
13) Miami Dolphins (CB, RB, DL)
The Pick: CB Vernon Hargreaves, Florida – With Hargreaves falling out of the top 10 the Dolphins have an easy decision given their need for a corner.
14) Oakland Raiders (CB, T, LB, S)
The Pick: LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama – Oakland already has a tremendously athletic linebacker in Khalil Mack that can rush the passer and stop the run. Imagine what adding a complimentary thumper type linebacker to the middle of the defense will do. Ragland could be a key piece in helping the Raiders get to the playoffs in 2016.
15) Tennessee Titans (T, CB, S, Edge)
The Pick: T Jack Conklin, Michigan State – Tennessee has a lot of needs, but protecting their young quarterback Marcus Mariota is essential. They take Conklin here to shore up the left side of the line, allowing Taylor Lewan to shift over to the right.
16) Detroit Lions (T, WR, DL)
The Pick: DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville – Rankins drops just a bit to midway through the first round, but joins a team in need of defensive lineman.
17) Atlanta Falcons (Edge, S, LB, G)
The Pick: OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia – The Falcons will have their pick of two talented, versatile outside linebackers in Floyd and Darron Lee. They ultimately choose the guy closer to home to help bolster a pass rush that already features Vic Beasley.
18) Indianapolis Colts (OL, OLB, CB, S)
The Pick: T Taylor Decker, Ohio State – The next Buckeye off the board is Decker who heads to Indianapolis – where he won a Big Ten Championship in 2015 – as an upgrade along the offensive line.
19) Buffalo Bills (DL, OLB, LB, WR, T)
The Pick: OLB Darron Lee, Ohio State – There it is! The first, new Buffalo Bill will be Darron Lee. At Wednesday’s pre-draft luncheon GM Doug Whaley emphasized the importance of having linebackers that can be versatile and athletic in order to keep up with the spread offenses of, not only AFC East, but the league as a whole. That’s exactly what Lee offers the Bills. His range and athleticism that makes him a good fit because despite playing a 4-3 defense at Ohio State he can line up in a natural linebacker position or shift to rush off the edge. He’ll be a perfect sidekick to the Preston Brown who can be more of the run stopper in the middle of the defense while Lee can run around a do a little bit of everything: rush the passer, tackle ball carriers and drop into coverage.
It’s worth noting that Lee was tasked with filling some big shoes when he stepped into a starting role on OSU’s defense as a redshirt freshman. Maybe the name Ryan Shazier rings a bell. The budding Steelers linebacker has made a name for himself using the same style of play as Lee. If that comparison is worth anything Lee can be great in the NFL and in Rex Ryan’s scheme for the Bills. Lee earned Second Team All-Big Ten recognition this past season after making 66 total tackles, 11 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks. At 6-foot-1 232 pounds, size is definitely a concern, however athleticism and hustle can often trump build in the NFL. If Lee is there at 19 it’s hard to imagine they pass over him.
Others to consider: DE Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky…OLB Leonard Floyd, Georgia…
20) Jacksonville Jaguars (CB, LB, DT) – From New York Jets
The Pick: CB William Jackson III, Houston – Jacksonville probably would have looked to go corner had they stayed at five. Luckily one of the top three of the class is still available at 20 in Jackson III and they snatch him up.
21) Washington Redskins (C, DL, LB)
The Pick: DT A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama – Washington needs linebackers in the worst way, but with the top tier of them gone they’ll wait and instead take one of the best players available in Robinson.
22) Houston Texans (WR, OL, TE)
The Pick: WR Josh Doctson, TCU – Why Doctson over Corey Coleman? The Texans have a deep threat already in DeAndre Hopkins. Doctson isn’t a blazer, but with his precise route running he can be a solid compliment to Hopkins on the other side of the field.
23) Minnesota Vikings (WR, OL, S)
The Pick: WR Corey Coleman, Baylor – The Vikings need a wideout and Coleman has a chance to be a star in the NFL. Coleman will be another nice weapon for Teddy Bridgewater, along with Stefon Diggs.
24) Cincinnati Bengals (WR, DT, LB)
The Pick: WR Will Fuller, Notre Dame – The Bengals lost Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu this off-season. Make that three straight wide receiver picks.
25) Pittsburgh Steelers (CB, S, G, OLB)
The Pick: CB Eli Apple, Ohio State – Make it five Ohio Staters taken in the first round, as the Steelers fill a huge void by drafting Apple.
26) Seattle Seahawks (T, C, DL, RB)
The Pick: C Ryan Kelly, Alabama – The Seahawks really have problems all across their offensive line, especially at center where they lost Max Unger as part of the Jimmy Graham trade. They find a smart replacement in Kelly.
27) Green Bay Packers (LB, OLB, DT, TE)
The Pick: DT Jarran Reed, Alabama – Reed is a guy who’s stock has jumped up and down. When he drops to the late first round Green Bay can’t pass him up given their need for a defensive tackle.
28) Kansas City Chiefs (OLB, QB, WR, S)
The Pick: DE/OLB Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky – Justin Houston’s status for 2016 is cloudy as he recovers from a torn ACL and Tamba Hali’s level of play slowly declines each season. After some troublesome incidents involving Ecstasy, which led to his departure from Ohio State, Spence seems to have his character in order, so that shouldn’t hinder the Chiefs from drafting him.
*New England Patriots forfeited pick*
29) Arizona Cardinals (C, DB, Edge)
The Pick: S Keanu Neal, Florida – The Cardinals add a hard hitting athletic safety to their secondary that they hope can develop his pass coverage skills.
30) Carolina Panthers (CB, DE, RB, OL)
The Pick: CB Mackenzie Alexander, Clemson – Letting Josh Norman walk was a risk the Panthers felt was worth taking, but they quickly work to find a replacement by snagging Alexander.
31) Denver Broncos (QB, OL, DL, LB)
The Pick: QB Connor Cook, Michigan State – Gary Kubiak “says” the Broncos are in no rush to find their starting quarterback, but they’re running out of options. They snatch up Cook to close out the first round before anyone else has a chance to take him next round.
32) Cleveland Browns (QB, WR, DL, LB, OL)
The Pick: T Jason Spriggs, Indiana
33) Tennessee Titans (T, CB, S, Edge)
The Pick: DE Kevin Dodd, Clemson
34) Dallas Cowboys (CB, RB, QB, DL)
The Pick: DT Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss – We know Jerry Jones doesn’t shy away from signing GOOD players that have had troubled pasts.
35) San Diego Chargers (DL, OL, S, TE)
The Pick: DT Andrew Billings, Baylor
36) Baltimore Ravens (OL, CB, OLB, WR)
The Pick: OLB Kamalei Correa, Boise State
37) San Francisco 49ers (QB, LB, T, G, WR)
The Pick: G Cody Whitehair, Kansas State
38) Jacksonville Jaguars (CB, LB, DT)
The Pick: DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech
39) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (CB, S, DE)
The Pick: S Karl Joseph, West Virginia
40) New York Giants (LB, WR, T, RB, S)
The Pick: LB/S Su’a Cravens
41) Chicago Bears (Edge, CB, OL)
The Pick: T Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M
42) Miami Dolphins (CB, RB, DL)
The Pick: RB Derrick Henry, Alabama – Still needing a running back after missing out on Ezekiel Elliot the Dolphins take Heisman Winner Derrick Henry to fill an empty offensive void.
43) Tennessee Titans (T, CB, S, Edge) – From Los Angeles via Philadelphia
The Pick: CB Artie Burns, Miami
44) Oakland Raiders (CB, T, LB, S)
The Pick: CB Xavien Howard, Baylor
45) Tennessee Titans (T, CB, S, Edge) – From Los Angeles
The Pick: DT Chris Jones, Mississippi State
46) Detroit Lions (T, WR, DL)
The Pick: WR Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
47) New Orleans Saints (DL, OLB, CB, WR)
The Pick: DT Kenny Clark, UCLA
48) Indianapolis Colts (OL, OLB, CB, S)
The Pick: DE Jonathan Bullard, Floirda
49) Buffalo Bills (DL, OLB, LB, WR, T)
The Pick: DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State – Cutting Mario Williams was a necessary move for the Bills, but now they have a big hole to fill at the defensive end position. In steps Emmanuel Ogbah, one of 22 confirmed pre-draft visitors for Buffalo. The way this mock has worked out he falls to Buffalo at 49. Two spots ahead the Saints without question considered taking Ogbah, however with needs across the entire defensive line they don’t pass up the opportunity to pick a could be first-round pick Kenny Clark. Ogbah is coming off of a senior season at Oklahoma State where he recorded 63 tackles, 16.5 of them for a loss, and 12.5 sacks, on way to being named the Big-12 Defensive Player of the Year and and All-American. He’ll need to improve on his initial jump off the line, but is a strong, physical, bully of a player, who’s agile enough to play in Rex Ryan’s 3-4 scheme. Two picks down and the Bills have already strengthened their defense in a huge way by adding Lee and Ogbah.
Others to consider: S Karl Joseph, Wester Virginia…S Vonn Bell, Ohio State…WR Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
50) Atlanta Falcons (Edge, S, LB, G)
The Pick: S T.J. Green, Clemson
51) New York Jets (QB, Edge, LB)
The Pick: DE Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State – Wanting to bolster the defensive line – especially now that Wilkerson is gone – the Jets add an athletic pass rusher in Calhoun.
52) Houston Texans (WR, OL, TE)
The Pick: TE Hunter Henry, Arkansas
53) Washington Redskins (C, DL, LB)
The Pick: OG/C Christian Westerman, Arizona State
54) Minnesota Vikings (WR, OL, S)
The Pick: S Vonn Bell, Ohio State
55) Cincinnati Bengals (WR, DT, LB)
The Pick: DE/OLB Kyle Fackrell, Utah State
56) Seattle Seahawks (T, C, DL, RB)
The Pick: DT Austin Johnson, Penn State
57) Green Bay Packers (LB, OLB, DT, TE)
The Pick: OLB Deion Jones, LSU
58) Pittsburgh Steelers (CB, S, G, OLB)
The Pick: G Joshua Garnett, Stanford
59) Kansas City Chiefs (OLB, QB, WR, S)
The Pick: WR Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh
60) New England Patriots (T, CB, WR, RB)
The Pick: RB Devontae Booker, Utah – The Patriots search for a running back to pair with bruiser Legarrette Blount and Booker seems perfect for their backfield. As a speedier, change of pace back with a solid body that’s built for breaking tackles, Booker will be a useful weapon.
61) New England Patriots (T, CB, WR, RB) – From Arizona
The Pick: DL Bronson Kaufusi, BYU – The Bills have heir eye on Kaufusi, inviting him to One Bills Dr. as one of their 30 pre-draft visitors. The Patriots like what they see in him as well and draft him with the 61st pick.
62) Carolina Panthers (CB, DE, RB, OL)
The Pick: T Shon Coleman, Auburn
63) Denver Broncos (QB, OL, DL, LB)
The Pick: DT Javon Hargrave, South Carolina State
64) Tennessee Titans (T, CB, S, Edge)
The Pick: FS Darian Thompson
65) Cleveland Browns (QB, WR, DL, LB, OL)
The Pick: LB Joshua Perry, Ohio State
66) San Diego Chargers (DL, OL, S, TE)
The Pick: T LeRaven Clark, Texas Tech
67) Dallas Cowboys (CB, RB, QB, DL)
The Pick: CB Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
68) San Francisco 49ers (QB, LB, T, G, WR)
The Pick: QB Dak Prescott, Mississippi State – The Bills would have loved to see him fall further but needing a quarterback, the 49ers grab Prescott in the third round.
69) Jacksonville Jaguars (CB, LB, DT)
The Pick: LB Blake Martinez, Stanford
70) Baltimore Ravens (OL, CB, OLB, WR)
The Pick: WR Michael Thomas, Ohio State
71) New York Giants (LB, WR, T, RB, S)
The Pick: RB Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech
72) Chicago Bears (Edge, CB, OL)
The Pick: TE Nick Vannett, Ohio State
73) Miami Dolphins (CB, RB, DL)
The Pick: DT Hassan Ridgeway, Texas – The Dolphins have had a strong draft addressing their two biggest needs and now add a defensive tackle to the mix with a nice third-round find in Ridgeway.
74) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (CB, S, DE)
The Pick: CB Cyrus Jones, Alabama
75) Oakland Raiders (CB, T, LB, S)
The Pick: S Jalen Mills, LSU
76) Tennessee Titans (T, CB, S, Edge) – From Los Angeles
The Pick: WR Braxton Miller, Ohio State
77) Cleveland Browns (QB, WR, DL, LB, OL) – From Philadelphia via Detroit
The Pick: WR Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
78) New Orleans Saints (DL, OLB, CB, WR)
The Pick: G/T Joe Dahl, Washington State
79) Philadelphia Eagles (RB, OL, WR, Edge)
The Pick: DE Carl Nassib, Penn State
80) Buffalo Bills (DL, OLB, LB, WR, T)
The Pick: WR Leonte Carroo, Rutgers – Having addressed two major defensive needs the Bills now turn their attention towards offense and snag themselves a wideout to compliment Sammy Watkins. This past season Carroo hauled in 39 catches for 809 yards and 10 touchdowns in just eight games of action, earning himself an invitation to the Senior Bowl where he impressed NFL scouts. There are minor character concerns in regards to his arrest back in September for simple assault, which saw him get suspended for two games by Rutgers. However, all of that should matter little to Rex Ryan, who’s all about second chances. Carroo has strong hands, a muscular build and finds ways to get open all over the field. He’ll be a tremendous weapon for Tyrod Taylor, lining up opposite of Watkins.
Others to consider: QB Cardale Jones, Ohio State…QB Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Where do they go from here: Still needing a quarterback the Bills will have two picks in the fourth where they can look to draft one. Depending on how things fall, Cardale Jones could be there, as could Dak Prescott, but we know QBs are a hot commodity so the market could dry up fast depending on demand. Maybe, if they truly love a guy like Kevin Hogan, they could even wait a round longer. The Bills also need a safety for depth purposes behind Corey Graham, Aaron Williams and newly acquired, veteran Robert Blanton. Based on how this Mock draft went, those are probably the most pressing needs for Buffalo moving forward and with six selections to go they’ll have plenty of opportunity to address them.