The final week of anticipation has arrived. In a few short days, the big event will finally happen. I’m so happy for William and Kate! But hours before the royal wedding, the first round of the NFL draft will go down at Radio City. And so this is the 30th of our 32 draft previews. To talk Bills, I bring in Brian Galliford from Buffalo Rumblings.
1. Obviously, Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert (but maybe not both) will be available. Do you have a preference? Or would you prefer neither?
This draft class doesn’t feature a lot of clean, blue-chip prospects, and as such, I’m pretty risk-averse, preferring safer prospects to the boom-or-bust guys. So between the two, I’d take Gabbert before Newton. I wouldn’t take either at No. 3, however.
2. I feel as though the smart strategy would be to take a guy like Von Miller or Patrick Peterson, both of whom are surer things, in the first round. Then use that second-round pick on the best quarterback available. With some good good-but-not-great signal callers on the board, doesn’t that make sense?
It does make sense to me, but only if the Bills think there’s a long-term, franchise-type guy available when they pick at No. 34. I mean, if the Bills don’t foresee a guy like Christian Ponder or Andy Dalton usurping Ryan Fitzpatrick for the starting job a year or two down the line, what’s the point? The second round is too early for a backup quarterback. That’s why a higher-upside guy like Colin Kaepernick would make a great deal more sense there. It should also be noted that none of these second-tier guys may last long enough for the Bills to choose “their guy” in the group.
3. The Bills also have to improve pass protection and the pass rush, right? Which do they need to address with more urgency in this draft?
From everything we’ve heard from Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey, the pass rush seems to be the bigger priority. For better or worse, they seem to really like Demetrius Bell and Erik Pears as their opening-day starters at left and right tackle, respectively. Getting tackle depth is a priority as well, but the pass rush strikes me as the more urgent of the two needs.
4. Any under-the-radar needs that come to mind?
Inside linebacker is a need, but there’s not a lot of talent at the position for the team to consider taking any before the third round, and possibly the fourth. Beyond that, they’ll need to tinker with their depth at cornerback, and safety looks to be thinning out, as well.
5. Is there a specific player you’re hoping they end up with, either in Round 1 or in Round 2?
At the top of the draft, my order of preference for No. 3 is Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus, Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller and LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson — in that order. When the second round rolls around, if Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph is available, I’d be pretty disappointed if the Bills let him keep sliding. He’s a first-round talent.