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NFL Draft Meter: What is the likelihood these players are selected by the Bills?

What will the Bills do Thursday night with the 12th overall pick? Bills beat writers Jay Skurski and Vic Carucci read the Draft Meter on the likelihood of these players landing in Buffalo. The meter reading goes from 1 (least likely) to 10 (most likely).

Sam Darnold, QB, Southern California

Jay: He’s a personality match to Bills coach Sean McDermott, but more than that, Darnold might be the best quarterback in the class. The concern for the Bills is another team, like Cleveland at No. 1, might take him before they can. Meter reading: 8

Vic: He has long been presumptive top overall pick. Even if he isn’t, it’s hard to imagine him falling too far out of the top five. His playmaking overshadows questions about his turnovers. Unless the Bills move up to at least No. 4 or 5, they won’t get him. Meter Reading: 4

Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

Jay: Thought to be the best “pure passer” in the class by several draft analysts, there has been buzz that Rosen could slip some because of injury concerns and what some perceive as an abrasive personality. That shouldn’t scare the Bills. Meter Reading: 9

Vic:  There’s a decent chance he’ll drop out of the top five and it might not take all that much of an upward move for the Bills to land him. The question is, do they really want him? His injury history and questions about how much he loves football are concerns. Meter Reading: 5

Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Jay: He’s got the strongest arm of any quarterback in the class – an important consideration for a team that plays home games in sometimes-challenging conditions (particularly with the wind). Can his accuracy be fixed? That’s a tough call. Meter Reading: 6

Vic: His large physique and powerful arm make him the kind of quarterback who could easily be pictured wearing a Bills uniform – a modern version of Jim Kelly. But he’s also the prototype of the kind of QB the Cleveland Browns might covet at No. 1. Meter Reading: 4

Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Jay: The biggest knock on the Heisman Trophy winner is how big he is. At just under 6-foot-1, Mayfield is undersized for the position. However, he’s deadly accurate (70.5 completion percentage last year) and teammates love his leadership. Meter Reading: 7

Vic: Although he lacks ideal height and isn’t the most disciplined player, he’s a highly talented thrower and is as competitive a quarterback as any the draft has seen. A fair amount of prognosticators say he won’t get past the Jets at No. 3. Meter Reading: 3

Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

Jay: Like with Allen, accuracy is the biggest concern with Jackson, as is the potential for injury. He is, however, an electrifying athlete – the best at quarterback since Michael Vick – and has star potential with a team willing to construct an offense around him. Meter Reading: 3

Vic: Questions about whether he can make enough plays with his passing arm, while relying less on his dynamic mobility, figure to push him to the middle of the first round – and perhaps lower. It’s hard to see the Bills viewing him as a good fit. Meter Reading: 2

Mason Rudolph, QB Oklahoma State

Jay: He’s not getting the love that the other quarterbacks are, but Rudolph is a first-round candidate, too. He threw for 377 yards per game in the pass-happy Big 12. It’s known the Bills put in a lot of work evaluating Mayfield during the 2017 season. Meter Reading: 5

Vic: There might not be a more ideal athlete to fill the role of pocket passer. Big, tall, smart. He doesn’t have the greatest arm, but it’s plenty good. Still, he isn’t seen in the same light as the Big Four and should be there for the Bills take at 12 or even 22. Meter Reading: 8

Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Jay: The best sideline-to-sideline linebacker in the class, it’s debatable whether Smith will last until the 12th pick. If he does, and the Bills are boxed out of drafting a quarterback, he would fill their next-biggest hole, which is in the middle of their defense. Meter Reading: 2

Vic: After quarterback, the Bills’ next-biggest need is middle linebacker. They seemingly don’t have a legitimate starter at the spot and are likely to seek one in the draft. Smith is the very best, although he doesn’t figure to last until 12. Meter Reading: 5

Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

Jay: The 2017 Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Vander Esch has just one season of high-level production, but it was impressive with 141 tackles, four sacks, four forced fumbles and four passes defensed. He can be a three-down player. Meter Reading: 8

Vic: He looks as if he would be a perfect fit at middle linebacker in Sean McDermott’s defense. His instincts, anticipation and ball skills are exceptional, as well as his toughness and ability to fill the hole. Looks like an ideal choice at 12 or 22. Meter Reading: 8

Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Jay: He’s a known commodity to Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll from their time spent together last year with the Crimson Tide. Ridley isn’t big (6-foot-0, 189 pounds), but has good speed and separation ability. He’d fill a big need for the Bills. 6

Vic: He’s at the top of a position that offers little in the way of genuine first-round talent. He also would address a major need. Ridley should be there at 12, but would that be too high for this Bills regime to take a receiver? Meter Reading: 6

Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

Jay: College football’s interception leader with eight in 2017, Jackson is a converted wide receiver who was incredibly productive in 2017. The Bills have a need at the position with Vontae Davis on a one-year contract and no obvious slot cornerback. Meter Reading: 5

Vic: One football rule of thumb is you can never have enough good cornerbacks. The Bills would be following that rule if they use the 12th pick on Jackson, who is one of the draft’s best at his position and likely to be available. Meter Reading: 7

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