With the NFL Scouting Combine in the books, it's time to look at some draft options for the Buffalo Bills. Positions to target will really come into focus after free agency. Buffalo can fill quite a few holes and depth issues starting on March 10 and once they do, fans will have a better idea of who the team could target starting in round two. For example, it shouldn't surprise anyone if Buffalo fixed their offensive line woes in free agency. The team drafted three linemen in last year's draft (Cyrus Kouandjio, Cyril Richardson and Seantrel Henderson) so it's more likely that they add immediate talent to their line while allowing those players to contribute and develop at their own pace. That being said, here are some draft options for the Bills following the combine.
Round 2, Pick 50: Clive Walford, TE, Miami
A running back at pick 50 is tempting for the Buffalo Bills, but the team cannot pass on Clive Walford. Buffalo hasn’t drafted a tight end in the first three rounds since selecting fellow Miami TE Kevin Everett in 2005. Walford will likely be one of the best players available at the position at pick 50. It’s unlikely that Maxx Williams or Devin Funchess will be available and the position gets very shaky after Walford.
The tight end is very athletic and would give the Bills another weapon offensively. He can be moved around the offense and used creatively. Walford improved as a blocker throughout his career at Miami and offensive coordinator Greg Roman would like a tight end who can catch and block. His biggest weakness is with drops. That said, Walford makes plenty of sense for the Bills.
Round 3, Pick 81: David Cobb, RB, Minnesota
David Cobb reminds me a bit of former Bills RB Travis Henry. Cobb is a strong running back that will pick up the tough yards between the tackles. He’s a physical running back and a solid blocker in pass protection. Cobb didn’t record many receptions in his career at Minnesota, but it was noted at the Senior Bowl that Cobb did a nice job of catching the ball out of the backfield.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, Cobb hurt his quad. Minnesota’s pro day is March 2, so there’s no telling if Cobb with participate. Regardless of his injury, Cobb is worth a third round pick.
Round 5, Pick 129: Ray Drew, DE, Georgia
Offense may be the focus of the draft, but the Bills also need to address defense. Ray Drew wouldn’t be asked to contribute immediately for the Bills, but he’d likely get a chance to see some playing time throughout his rookie season. Playing alongside Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams would benefit Drew in long-term.
As a player, Drew is a powerful player who uses his size (6’4”, 284 lb.) well. He’d need to work on creating pass rush moves as he relies a bit too much on his power at times. In the fifth round, teams are looking for depth and players that they can develop. Drew would be a solid addition at this point in the draft.
Round 5, Pick 147: Chris Conley, WR, Georgia
Back-to-back Bulldogs for the Bills in round five. If the NFL Scouting Combine could be won, Conley would have been declared the winner. He had an insane 45” vertical jump, a broad jump of 11’7”, oh, and a 4.35 40-yard dash. What does it all mean for Conley in the NFL? Nothing really, but NFL teams certainly took notice of the wide receiver, Buffalo included. The Bills could add a few receivers in free agency and the draft as Marquise Goodwin, Deonte Thompson and Justin Brown are not guaranteed to be on the team’s roster in 2015. In his last two seasons, Conley has 81 receptions, 1,308 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Conley entered the combine as a late round pick, but some team is likely to take a shot on him close to round five. The Bills may very well be that team.
Round 6, Pick 178: Corey Robinson, OT, South Carolina
Robinson projects to be a right tackle or guard in the NFL. He’s a very physical player who could thrive on a physical offensive line, much like the one Buffalo is hoping to have in 2015. Robinson could “redshirt” his 2015 season with Cordy Glenn and Seantrel Henderson starting at left and right tackle respectively. If Glenn leaves in free agency in 2016, Robinson could then compete for the right tackle spot with Henderson likely moving over to the left side. Sixth round picks are far from sure things, but Robinson has the talent to stick around in the NFL.
Round 7, Pick 209: Erick Dargan, SS, Oregon
The strong safety position is weak in this year’s draft class, but no position is particularly strong in the seventh round. Da’Norris Searcy is hitting the free agent market, leaving Duke Williams, Bacarri Rambo and Jonathan Meeks to compete for the starting role. Dargan could compete for a roster spot against the likes of Meeks and Rambo. If he doesn’t impress, the team could place him on the practice squad or simply release him.
In his college career, Dargan was responsible for creating seven forced fumbles. He also has good speed and decent range. It’s worth taking a flier on Dargan late in the draft.