The off-season of upheaval for the Buffalo Bills continued into the NFL Draft as many wondered which direction the organization would move. Would the team take Jimmy Clausen in round one? Dan Williams with the ninth pick? Or trade down then select Tim Tebow? The franchise has come under heavy criticism for their front office moves since the end of the ’09 season and they hoped a good draft would turn the tide of opinion in their favor.
The Bills came into the draft with desperate needs everywhere yet opted for running back CJ Spiller with the 9th pick of round one. Off the field escapades by Marshawn Lynch has soured the organization on the former first round pick and the belief is Spiller will be the team’s main ball carrier in the future. Yet when the draft ended Lynch was still on the roster and the front office said there were no plans to move him. This picks makes little sense to us for a number of reasons including the available talent at other positions, which are of greater need to the team. The fact we feel Spiller will never truly develop into a number one ball carrier on an NFL level is also a reason to dislike the pick. Alternatively Spiller was a much better choice ahead of the overrated Jimmy Clausen, yet we fell there were better options available to the Bills.
In round two the team pulled another surprise choosing Torell Troup of Central Florida, hoping he’ll fill the need at nose tackle. In our minds this was a mistake as better talent was available at the defensive/nose tackle position and to a greater extent, we don’t feel Troup will develop into a nose tackle at the next level. Troup is a solid athlete with nice size, yet holding the point of attack was never his forte’. We feel he’d be better off in a conventional four-man line and was drafted at least a half round to early.
Alex Carrington was good value in round three. The Arkansas State defensive end was sensational during the Senior Bowl yet poor workouts at the combine pushed him out of round two. Carrington has the skill set and growth potential to develop into a two-gap end for the organization.
Fourth round selection Marcus Easley was also a solid pick. Easley is a terrific athlete with a large amount of upside to his game. The receiver is far from polished and will need time to develop his game before being NFL ready yet has the skills to grow into a solid number two wide out that effectively compliments Lee Evans.
Offensive lineman Ed Wang was another good selection one frame later. Buffalo desperately needs a left tackle and Wang should be able to compete for the job. We are not sold that the Virginia Tech product will ever develop into a true blind side tackle yet in a worst case scenario the fifth round pick should be an inexpensive utility blocker that can back-up for a number of spots on the offensive line.
The team came away with a pair small school steals in round six.
Arthur Moats was projected as a fourth round pick but fell due to concerns over his lack of height. Moats proved to be a terrific pass rusher at defensive end on the college level and should be able to replicate those skills in the NFL standing over tackle. Danny Batten did much the same at South Dakota State and was one of the most underrated players in this draft. He could eventually develop into a better pro-player than Moats. At the very least both Moats and Batten should be terrific special teams players in the NFL.
Quarterback Levi Brown was the first of the team’s selections in round seven. Brown is a terrific passer with great poise and accuracy. The Bills had a third round grade on the Troy State passer and feel he is a steal in the final round. He’ll compete for a roster spot this season and the team may pin their future hopes on Brown, depending on the play of Trent Edwards moving forward.
Kyle Calloway was the teams final selection and a good choice near the end of the draft. We always felt Calloway is limited but does hold value in a back-up role.
Overview: The initial two selections were head scratching for a number of reasons. CJ Spiller really does not fill a need and Torrell Troup was a reach. Buffalo would have been better served selecting Dan Williams with the 9th pick then coming out of round two with a player like Jimmy Clausen, Vladimir Ducasse or even Charles Brown. This draft draws high grades from round three through seven, but the questionable picks in the early frames pulls down the overall value.