First wave of Free Agency is over and the Bills used it to address a bunch of key needs such as MLB, LG, Nickel DB and a few role players. Now the Bills can use the draft to address the rest of the needs and build up the offense and depth to allow the Bills to take the next step.
1st Round: Mike Evans WR
Evans is the big WR the Bills have wanted for years. He stands at about 6’5 231 and ran a 4.5 40 at the Combine. He is a great mix of size and speed that would give the Bills a matchup nightmare for every opponent on the schedule. Evans would drastically improve QB EJ Manuel by giving him a big target with a big catch radius that can win the jump ball and be open when he is not. Plus with the Patriots getting Revis and Browner, Evans would give the Bills a physical guy who can handle the press coverage of Revis of Browner as well as giving the Bills a Vincent Jackson-like threat on the outside.
2nd Round: Trent Murphy DE
With the switch to the 4-3 means the Bills lack a starter for one of the DE position. Jerry Hughes could be that but he is seen more as a pass rush specialist than a complete end. Trent Murphy gives them a true starter at the position and allows Hughes to stay in his role as a sack artist. Murphy was highly productive last year at Stanford with 23.5 TFL and 15 sacks. He is solid against the run and while on the slow side for a DE (4.86 40 at the Combine) he has a real good motor and a variety of pass rush moves that allow him to get to the QB. Murphy, Mario and Hughes would give the Bills three deadly pass rushers on the edge particularly particularly in the Wide 9 formation. He would be a first round pick but due to him not being a physical freak like Clowney or Dee Ford allows him to drop to the Bills.
3rd Round: Telvin Smith OLB
Smith comes from FSU where he was magnet to the ball. On every play Smith was near the action. making the big play and racking up 90 tackles in 2013. He stands at 6’3 218 which makes him small for a linebacker but his greatest strength may be his flexibility. Smith can play safety, linebacker, rush the QB, even be a nickel DB in some situations. This versatility as well as being one of the better cover linebackers in the draft would mean he can be a big contributor for the Bills defense and special teams.
4th Round: Billy Turner OT
Turner is a small school guy coming from North Dakota State and was one of the big surprises during the Senior Bowl. Turner would be an immediate upgrade over Erik Pears and pass blocking was something he excelled at as he did not give up one sack in 2013 (Bills gave up 48 sacks in 2013). He has a big frame and can bulk up from his current 315 weight and be the big guy Marrone preaches about. At the very least he can compete with Chris Hairston for the starting job at RT and be a valuable swing tackle as he refines his game. Marrone would love to have a talent like him.
5th Round: Trai Turner OG
Turner is a road grading prospect that oozes talent. Coming from LSU he has been ignored compared to the top guard prospects which means he could fall to the 5th round. Last year he was great at run blocking as running behind him LSU ran for a school record 37 touchdowns and Jeremy Hill ran for 1,401 yards. His technique needs work which means he will be a backup early on. This is fine as the Bills have two set starters at the guard positions and Turner can work on his technique and potentially start in 2015.
6th Round: Aaron Lynch DE
Lynch adds more depth to the Bills DE position and can be a talented backup for Mario Williams. Lynch would be a 1st round pick if it were not for his off the field issues and lack of hustle his last year at South Florida. Lynch is supremely talented and before the season was considered a dark horse candidate to be a top 10 pick. However his poor 2013 campaign and his lack of effort against the runs has dropped his stock to borderline undraftable. But he is a talented freak and with the proper coaching could be a huge steal.
7th Round: Richard Rodgers TE
With the last pick the Bills go the route they did last year, get a raw TE with lots of potential who will hopefully contribute his 2nd year. Rodgers is a do-it-all TE, he can play in the slot, in-line or as a H-back. His biggest problems are his blocking and route running which need lots of work. But this is perfect for the Bills as recently signing Scott Chandler means they can help develop Rodgers. Since Chandler signed a 2-year extension this means Rodgers can pretty much be a bit guy his rookie year, working special teams, play a little H-back, and in 2015 when Tony Moeaki is gone, Rodgers can come in be the 3rd guy behind Chandler and hopefully Gragg. This is a project pick but with most tight ends having very little impact their 1st year, this is a better choice for the TE position then picking Eric Ebron or Jace Amaro in the 1st who have their own problems too.