There are no fewer than a dozen players who would make sense for the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night.
With clear needs in the front seven of their defense and cases to be made at quarterback, safety, wide receiver and offensive tackle, the Bills should be able to fill one of those holes with the 19th overall pick – provided they keep it. The prospects along the defensive line are plentiful, while there should be intriguing options on the board at the other positions.
Here is a look at three players who seem to be perfect fits for what the Bills want to do, and three who would be met with a healthy dose of skepticism.
• Shaq Lawson: What's not to like about the Clemson defensive end? He's strong against the run, highly productive as a pass rusher (12.5 sacks in 2015) and widely considered to have excellent football character. Lawson checks off pretty much every box there is for a first-round prospect.
• Karl Joseph: Safety might not be the Bills' biggest need right now, but cornerback wasn't thought to be last year before the team took Ronald Darby in the second round, and that worked out just fine. Joseph, a West Virginia product, would give the Bills immediate insurance in case Aaron Williams isn't able to continue playing because of his neck injury while also preparing for the departure of veteran Corey Graham in the not-too-distant future.
• Leonard Floyd: It's somewhat tough to predict where Floyd best fits in the NFL because he's thin at 244 pounds, but he's an incredible athlete (4.6-second 40-yard dash, 39.5-inch vertical) who could give the Bills an immediate boost as a pass rusher in sub packages.
• Robert Nkemdiche: The Ole Miss defensive tackle just has too many character red flags, to me, for a first-round pick. There's the bizarre story of how he fell – or jumped – out of a hotel window in Atlanta, getting himself suspended for Ole Miss' bowl game. Then there's the troubling admission at the combine that he took plays off. The Bills just went through an entire season of having the effort of one of their premier defensive players (Mario Williams) questioned. Do they really want to do that again?
• Jarran Reed: Scouting reports say the Alabama defensive tackle is one of the best run-stuffers in this year's draft. Those same scouting reports also say that Reed is an "ineffective pass rusher," who was subbed out on obvious passing downs with the Crimson Tide. That's where the problem comes in for me. At No. 19, I'm looking for as complete a player as possible, particularly along the defensive line. Drafting an "ineffective pass rusher," when that's the biggest need on the team would be questionable.
• Kevin Dodd: The other Clemson defensive end proved to be a perfect pairing with Lawson. The cancer with Dodd, however, is how much of a one-year wonder he is. He was a reserve for his first three years with the Tigers. It's also fair to wonder how much he benefitted from having Lawson on his other side commanding blockers.