The Buffalo Bills hope to address many of their needs in the 2016 NFL draft. Head coach Rex Ryan recently came out and admitted that the team is lacking depth in quite a few areas and stated that they’ll have to address those spots in the draft.
“We don’t have a whole lot of depth right now, so we’re going to have to do a great job in the draft which we will,” Ryan said. “Doug Whaley is an outstanding evaluator of talent. We have to hit in the draft there is no doubt but I think there are some opportunities there to help us. I don’t expect people to feel sorry for us because you don’t need to.”
With the defense lagging behind the offense, Buffalo Football Report’s fifth mock draft addresses that side of the ball in the first three rounds. Also, in an unintentional twist, Buffalo adds three C. Jones’.
1(19) Noah Spence, LB, Eastern Kentucky
Where he fits: Edge rusher. The Bills need to add someone who can get after the quarterback.
Spence is a tremendous talent that has some red flags. He failed two drug tests at Ohio State and was banned from the Big Ten. After being banned from the Big Ten, Spence transferred to Eastern Kentucky. In 2015, Spence dominated at the school and accounted for 22.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks.
Spence is smart enough and athletic enough to thrive in Rex Ryan’s defense.
2(49) Chris Jones, DL, Mississippi St.
Where he fits: 3-4 DE.
Jones has been getting a lot of hype as of late and is even being discussed as a first round option. I’m not on the first round hype with Jones, but in round two Jones would be a terrific addition to the Bills. Jones, 6’5” and 310 pounds, is solid against the run and can use power or speed to get after QBs.
In 2015, Jones recorded 36 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, and seven tackles for loss. Jones recorded 94 total tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks in his career with Mississippi St.
Jones is very strong and at times he looked dominant on the field. According to his NFL draft bio, Jones had 34 quarterback pressures and 11.5 run stuffs at Mississippi St.
In Buffalo, Jones could make an immediate impact.
3(80) Cyrus Jones, CB, Alabama
Where he fits: Nickel CB/punt returner
Jones moved from receiver to cornerback after 2013 at Alabama. In his first season at CB, Jones 44 total tackles, two TFL, three interceptions, 13 passes defensed, one fumble recovery, and two forced fumbles. This past season, Jones played in 15 games and recorded two interceptions and seven passes defensed.
He’s also a tremendous punt returner. Jones had four punt return touchdowns in 2015 and almost averaged 13 yards per punt return.
Jones could compete against Nickell Robey for the team’s nickel cornerback job and handle punt return responsibilities as a rookie.
4(117) Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State
Where he fits? Backup QB.
Three C. Joneses in a row!
At Ohio State’s Pro Day, offensive coordinator Greg Roman and QBs coach David Lee watched Jones closely and he was recently in Buffalo with five teammates for a pre-draft visit.
In Buffalo, Jones could sit behind Tyrod Taylor while learning Roman’s offense. In terms of positives, Jones is athletic, has a rocket for an arm, and has the size you look for in QB (6’5”, 250 pounds). He has the arm strength to throw the ball in Buffalo’s elements.
The biggest knock on the QB is his accuracy. This may make Bills fans think of EJ Manuel, but the Bills aren’t looking at Jones in the first round. In round four, Jones is a project quarterback that Buffalo can develop.
4(139) Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Georgia
Where he fits? Third WR competition
Mitchell is a personal favorite at wide receiver and could be a steal in round four. The receiver, 6’0” and 198 pounds, is coming off of a season where he caught 58 passes for 865 yards and five touchdowns. He showed blazing speed running a 4.45 40-yard dash and showed that he’s a pretty good route runner at Georgia.
Behind Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods, the Bills have a lot of question marks. Mitchell could realistically come in and immediately compete for the third wide receiver job.
5(156) D.J. Reader, NT, Clemson
Where he fits: Defensive line depth
It wouldn’t be a Bills draft without a Clemson player. Reader accounted for 72 total tackles, four sacks, and nine tackles for loss during his career with the Tigers.
Reader is very strong and can push offensive linemen back. As a rookie, Reader could find himself seeing snaps in a defensive rotation.
6(192) Antonio Morrison, LB, Florida
Where he fits: Inside linebacker competition
Morrison made an incredible recovery from a knee injury to play with the Gators in 2015. This year, Morrison recorded 96 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 11 tackles for loss. He looks like a two-down linebacker in the NFL, but based on Buffalo’s depth, Morrison could compete for playing time as a rookie.
Although Buffalo’s cap is tight, the team should look to add a veteran to the position such as Zach Brown.
Editor's note: The Bills signed Zach Brown one day after this mock draft was published.
6(218) Darrell Greene, OG, San Diego State
Where he fits: Guard depth
The Bills need some depth at offensive guard and in round six, Greene is a good choice. Look at scouting reports on Greene, and you’ll see words like “mauler” and “brawler.” On the field, Greene did a great job opening running lanes. He’s the type of player that Buffalo would love to add to their line, even if it is as a reserve.
One reason Greene could be had at this point in the draft is due to the fact that he failed a drug test at San Diego St.null