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BILLS SHOULD GET KICK OUT OF THIS YEAR'S DRAFT

The Bills are less than two weeks away from the 2005 draft, they don't possess a first-round selection and it doesn't seem clear exactly into which direction they will strike.

Obviously, they need my help again.

Don't laugh. Remember last year's draft? If you don't I'll remind you. Long before selection day I identified their No. 1 pick -- wide receiver Lee Evans, University of Wisconsin. You could look it up. I nailed it. Right on the old schnozzola.

Don't expect another prize-winner this time. Maybe from the Bills, but not from me. They could use a tight end, a center, a defensive tackle, a cornerback and who knows what else. It's tough to nail down a pick far into the second round when the professional drafters haven't even nailed down a position yet.

So let's start.

Yes, they could always use another offensive lineman, but I have a lot of company in suspecting that the Travis Henry-for-L.J. Shelton deal will be worked out with the Arizona Cardinals by draft day. Even if Shelton doesn't work out, the Bills can always move Trey Teague back to his original position, left tackle, which has been their option since Jonas Jennings signed with San Francisco.

That would mean Ross Tucker moves to center from left guard. Mike Mularkey still needs a smart guy at center who recognizes defenses and make the calls to his colleagues. Tucker is a Princeton man. Tuition at Princeton is about a gazillion dollars a year, and at that price he ought to recognize defenses.

Besides, even President and General Manager Tom Donahoe admits that terrific offensive line coaches are more important than offensive linemen, and the Bills have one of those in Jim McNally. My guess is that a future center will be found in the third or fourth round.

With Mark Campbell and young Tim Euhus returning from serious knee injuries, the team could use a tight end, but once you get past Virginia's Heath Miller, sure to go in the first round, there is a drop-off. You can always use another corner back, and there are always some good ones even deep in the draft. Remember this name: Fabian Washington of Nebraska.

With J.P. Losman inheriting the quarterback job, the task of protecting him will be different than the scheme used for Drew Bledsoe. Losman has plenty of mobility and a quick passing release, but he's going to see coverages that will be a mystery to him for a while. What the Bills will be doing is running the ball more fervently. Willis McGahee is the meal ticket, but depth is needed at the position now that Henry is about to go. The Bills need a pounder, maybe 250-pound Eric Shelton of Louisville, or Kay-Jay Harris of West Virginia. But then Shelton has such faulty hands Louisville didn't use him in its passing game. Harris spent four years playing baseball in the Texas Rangers' system, so he would be a 26-year-old rookie.

With Pat Williams in Minnesota, the battle for his defensive-tackle job revolves around veteran Ron Edwards and Tim Anderson. Why not some more competition? C.J. Mosley, who left Missouri after his junior season, collapsed the pocket in college and had seven sacks last season. He needs some polish, but he'd probably help in a revolving tackle setup.

Now here's whom I'd like to see the Bills take with their premium pick: Mike Nugent, the Ohio State kicker.

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of watching Buffalo play field-goal roulette with Rian Lindell. The coaches don't trust him beyond the 40-yard line nor in clutch situations, and his kickoffs are nothing special.

In his last three seasons as a Buckeye, Nugent attempted 74 field goals and made good on 65 of them. He proved that he can handle pressure. He's kicked in rain, snow and other precipitation.

Nugent would look good in Bills' blue.
Larry Felser, former News columnist, appears in Sunday's editions.