Share this article

print logo

What's left at areas of need for the Bills heading into Day Two of the NFL Draft

Available talent and need blended perfectly for the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

In taking Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson, the Bills drafted a player who General Manager Doug Whaley says will step into the lineup from Day One as a starter in the team's defensive front seven.

The challenge now for Whaley and Co. will be to do that again, starting Friday night in the second and third rounds. The Bills still have several holes on their roster, and could go in several different directions with their two picks, scheduled to be No. 49 and No. 80 overall.

Here is a look at the top available prospects still on the board as of Friday morning at positions the Bills may still want to address:

Quarterback

• Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
• Connor Cook, Michigan State
• Cardale Jones, Ohio State
• Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
• Kevin Hogan, Stanford
• Jacoby Brissett, N.C. State

The Bills opted to pass on Memphis' Paxton Lynch at No. 19, which could mean a few things. They obviously had Lawson higher on their board, but also might feel comfortable there will be a player available Friday who fits their needs. ... Will that be Hackenberg, especially given owner Terry Pegula's connections to Penn State? ... The third round might be a little early for quarterbacks like Prescott, Hogan and Brissett, but the general rule of thumb is quarterbacks get drafted sooner than everyone expects.

Wide receiver

• Tyler Boyd, Pitt
• Michael Thomas, Ohio State
• Braxton Miller, Ohio State
• Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
• Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina
• Rashard Higgins, Colorado State
• Kolby Listenbee, TCU
• Leonte Carroo, Rutgers
• Kenny Lawler, Cal
• Charone Peake, Clemson

Once again, there weren't any surprises at this position in the first round, outside of maybe the order in which the four players were taken. ... Some thought Boyd and Thomas could have been first-round picks, while Miller's versatility should be attractive to offensive coordinators. ... Higgins led the country with 1,750 receiving yards in 2014. His 2015 season wasn't as impressive, but the Rams had a new head coach and quarterback. ... Shepard has great hands, but isn't the biggest target at 5-foot-10.

Offensive tackles

• Jason Spriggs, Indiana
• Le'Raven Clark, Texas Tech
• Shon Coleman, Auburn
• Jerald Hawkins, LSU
• Alex Lewis, Nebraska
• Kyle Murphy, Stanford
• Fahn Cooper, Ole Miss
• Caleb Benenoch, UCLA

Depth at this position thinned out when five offensive tackles went in the first round. Spriggs is a four-year starter who had a chance to go in the first round. He shouldn't last long Friday. ... Clark started 51 straight games at Texas Tech, although some teams project him as a guard. ... Coleman has an inspiring story, overcoming leukemia that he was diagnosed with in 2010. ...  Hawkins started as a redshirt freshman for the Tigers, leaving school a year early despite pleas from his coaching staff to stay. ... Cooper started at left tackle for Ole Miss while first-round draft pick Laremy Tunsil was suspended.

Defensive tackles

• Jarran Reed, Alabama,
• Chris Jones, Mississippi State
• A'Shawn Robinson, Alabama
• Andrew Billings, Baylor
• Austin Johnson, Penn State
• Sheldon Day, Notre Dame
• Hassan Ridgeway, Texas
• Willie Henry, Michigan
• Adolphus Washington, Ohio State
• Maliek Collins, Nebraska
• Javon Hargrave, South Carolina State
• D.J. Reader, Clemson
• Matt Ioannidis, Temple

Arguably the draft's deepest position is understandably still brimming with talent heading into Friday. Reed, Jones, Robinson and Billings all could have gone in the first round and it wouldn't have been a surprise. ... Johnson had great production with the Nittany Lions, racking up 78 tackles on the interior defensive line. ... Day had 15.5 tackles for loss for Notre Dame in 2015. ... Ridgeway's conditioning and health were questioned in 2015, possibly moving him down some draft boards. ... Henry tied for the team lead with Michigan by recording 6.5 sacks last season.

Inside linebackers

• Reggie Ragland, Alabama
• Kentrell Brothers, Missouri
• Joshua Perry, Ohio State
• Nick Kwiatkoski, West Virginia
• B.J. Goodson, Clemson
• Tyler Matakevich, Temple
• Blake Martinez, Stanford

There wasn't a single inside linebacker taken in the first round of the draft, which speaks volumes about how the position is valued in the league today. Ragland had the best case to be that, and shouldn't have to wait long Friday. Some teams, including the Bills, think he can be an every-down player. ... Brothers led the country in tackles per game (12.7). ... Matakevich had four straight 100-tackle seasons, becoming just the seventh player in FBS history to do that.

Outside linebackers

• Myles Jack, UCLA
• Kamalei Correa, Boise State
• Su'a Cravens, Southern Cal
• Deion Jones, LSU
• Kyler Fackrell, Utah State
• Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
• Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame

Both Jack and Smith would have been top-10 picks if it weren't for respective knee injuries. Now, predicting when – or if – they'll be drafted is just about impossible because of their uncertain medical situations. ... Correa played defensive end in college, but will transition to outside linebacker in the NFL. He figures to be one of the top edge rushers drafted Friday. ... Cravens was a hybrid linebacker/safety in college and depending on which team drafts him, could become a permanent member of the secondary. ... Jones won LSU's defensive MVP award. ... Fackrell will be a 25-year-old rookie, which may hurt his value with some teams.

 

There are no comments - be the first to comment