Plenty will change between now and the 2016 NFL draft. A few surefire first round prospects will fall out of the first round and possibly even the second round. Some workout warriors will fly up the draft board and go higher than they truly should because of their dominance at the combine.
Right now, the Buffalo Bills have plenty of needs. Some of those needs will be addressed in free agency, but the draft is where the Bills are going to have to find a few instant contributors. Buffalo could add defensive linemen, edge rushers, linebackers, offensive linemen, safeties, and wide receivers early in the draft.
Without knowing what the Bills will do in free agency, here is an insanely early three round Bills mock draft.
Round 1: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
Reggie Ragland would be ideal for the Bills but look for Ragland and Myles Jack to both be taken before the Bills are on the clock. This leaves Smith as a terrific consolation prize.
The linebacker looked destined to be a Top 10 pick before tearing his ACL and LCL in his left knee against Ohio State. Smith is expected to make a full recovery but the injury will probably push Smith out of the Top 10.
Smith is a versatile three-down linebacker that can thrive in any kind of defense. Rex Ryan would be thrilled to add a player as talented as Smith in the first round. As soon as Smith is cleared to play, he’d have a starting job waiting for him with the Bills.
Round 2: Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss
Talent-wise, Nkemdiche should be a first round pick. A very high first round pick. However, players fall every year in the draft due to character concerns and Nkemdiche has more red flags than a Double Dare obstacle course (Thank you, Ben Schwartz).
Nkemdiche was recently charged with marijuana possession. He reportedly fell 15-feet out of a hotel window after taking synthetic marijuana and experiencing paranoia. A bush supposedly broke his fall. Nkemdiche will have to meet with NFL teams to convince them that this was a one-time incident but teams may pass on investing a first round pick in Nkemdiche.
Randy Gregory experienced quite a slide in 2015 and it’s certainly possible that Nkemdiche suffers the same fate in the 2016 draft.
Round 3: Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State
The Buffalo Bills want to find a complement for Sammy Watkins. Realistically, the Bills don’t have the money to add a complement via free agency, so the draft is the next best option.
Miller is one of the least polished receivers in the draft class but he seems like the type of player that Greg Roman would absolutely love. Miller runs a 4.32 40-yard dash and stands in 6’2” and 215 lbs. Ironically, that is very similar to the height and weight of Greg Salas and Jarrett Boykin, two receivers the Bills added towards the end of the 2015 season. With a healthy Robert Woods returning next season, Miller wouldn’t have to step in immediately as a starter.
Whereas Miller wouldn’t be pressured to step-in immediately as a complement to Watkins, he would see time at receiver, H-back and be able to throw the ball on gadget plays. Miller has an incredible skill-set and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Buffalo take Miller in the third round of the NFL draft.
On paper, the Bills would be adding three talented players. However, all three picks would come with a risk.
Are you scared to draft Smith after his knee injury versus Ohio State? Do you think I’m crazy to predict Nkemdiche falling to the second round of the draft? Is Braxton Miller a good fit for the Bills or too much of a project in Round 3? Share your thoughts on these prospects and others in the Rockpile forum!