Over the past couple of weeks, we've spent a lot of time looking at how the Patriots improved themselves over draft weekend, but not as much time looking at what other teams in the AFC East have done. Over the next few days, we will look at the drafts of each team in the AFC East. Today, we'll start with the Buffalo Bills.
1st Round Pick: C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
The Bills, desperately needing help along the offensive line and on their defensive front seven as they transition to the 3-4, opted to go with the best player on their board, and that was running back C.J. Spiller. Spiller is an extremely explosive runner who will certainly add another dynamic to their offense. Although Marshawn Lynch may be on his way out, the Bills have a very talented runner in Fred Jackson, and I believe that they should have helped their offensive line or defensive front seven (Anthony Davis, Dan Williams, etc.) Pick Grade: C
2nd Round Pick: Torrell Troup, DL, UCF
Some think Torrell Troup may have been a reach in round two, but I thought he went right around where he should have. The problem I had was the players that they left on the board. Lamarr Houston, Linval Joseph, and... Terrence Cody. If the Bills are really focused on switching to the 3-4, they needed a real big, powerful nose tackle. Troup should be decent, although I would project him better as an end in the 3-4. Still, to leave a player like Terrence Cody on the board is a little surprising. Pick Grade: B-
Biggest Steal: Marcus Easley, WR, UConn
Marcus Easley fell to the fourth round because of his status as a "one year wonder." While Easley didn't break out until his senior year, he has shown that he can make tough catches outside his frame, is an adequate route runner, and a big play threat. What I didn't mention is that he's 6-3, 215 lbs, and runs in the 4.3s. Pick Grade: B+
Biggest Reach: Alex Carrington, DE, Arkansas
On the outside, this looks like a solid pick. However, I don't think Carrington is going to be a good pick in the 3-4. I see him as more of a 4-3 end, who could possibly be a gap shooter as a tackle, despite his size. I could be wrong, but I didn't even have him on my radar for the Patriots after watching tape on him. I'm not buying what people are saying, "prototype 3-4" end. I just don't think he is. But, there's a reason I'm not an NFL scout. If he can bulk up and prove me wrong, good for him. Pick Grade: C
Rest of the picks, plus a final draft grade after the jump.
Other Notable Picks:
- The Bills finally addressed their offensive line, selecting Virginia Tech tackle Ed Wang in the fifth round. Wang could also slide into guard. Solid pick. Pick Grade: B
- The Bills selected pass rushing outside linebacker Arthur Moats in the sixth round out of James Madison. He is undersized, but could still become a force. Still, how could the Bills wait this long to find an outside linebacker to develop? Pick Grade: C+
- Later in the 6th, the Bills took another pass rusher, Danny Batten out of South Dakota State. Batten is a good pick, he can rush the passer, drop back in coverage, and has better size than Moats. Pick Grade: B
- The Bills went with a developmental quarterback in the 7th in Levi Brown out of Troy. By developmental, we mean, developmental. Pick Grade: C
- With their last pick, the Bills went ahead and selected another offensive tackle, this time Kyle Calloway out of Iowa. Limited athletically, Calloway could actually compete for the starting right tackle spot from day one. Pick Grade: B+
The Bills entered the draft needed desperate help on their defensive front seven and on their offensive line, where they were abysmal in 2009. While I always applaud going with the best player of available, there were too many players that could have filled big needs, with similar grades to Spiller, that were still available when the Bills took the Clemson running back. The fact that they waited to the fifth round and beyond to address their offensive line and linebacker positions is beyond ridiculous. The Bills are switching to a 3-4, but don't have the personnel to do it. While they could have added some key defensive players, they didn't. I like a lot of the players the Bills took, but there's a reason this team will be at the bottom of the AFC East for years to come.
Final Draft Grade: C- (not for players, but for draft strategy)