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NFL Draft: Friday Thoughts

Posted on April 20, 2012 by Patrick Moran

nfl_draftWhile I won’t publish a final mock draft until next Thursday morning, I have plenty of thoughts regarding the NFL draft and more specifically the Buffalo Bills that change on a daily basis.

♦ I’ll start at linebacker, and let me get this straight.  Granted, Kirk Morrison joined the Bills pretty late last summer (August 24th to be exact), which could explain why he didn’t play much last year.  Still, the guy barely showed what he could do, re-signs a modest two-year contract during the offseason, is semi-anointed the starting strong side linebacker and you don’t think the Bills are looking for an upgrade?

I can understand why Stephon Gilmore, Dre Kirkpatrick and Cordy Glenn are dominating Bills draft speculation right now, but I think it’s crazy not to have Luke Kuechly deep in the mix.  The guy can play all three linebacker spots, as Buddy Nix said twice this past week, is a true three-down backer and Mike Mayock called him the best pass covering linebacker he’s ever seen coming out of college.  That has to count for a lot, especially against teams in the division like the Patriots and Jets that include the tight end so much in their passing games.

Unfairly I think Kuechly is a compared a bit too much to former Bills LB Paul Posluszny.  Why Kuechly may never be an elite player in the league, I don’t see many players who are a safer pick and for that reason along with not being sold as Morrison being the true starter, I wouldn’t dismiss Kuechly for a second next week when the Bills are on the clock.

♦ One reason I’m in the minority with thinking the Bills don’t need a cornerback at No. 10 is a the late-round rookie from last year, Justin Rogers.  I love what the kid did in nickel packages late in the season and there were even moments where he was the best looking player in the Buffalo secondary.  I fully expect Aaron Williams to start next season, likely alongside Drayton Florence, though Terrence McGee may still surprise us all and have something to say about that.  Leodis McKelvin may be done but the cornerback position isn’t in as dire straits as some make it out to be, at least not yet.  Rogers could see his role grow if not entrench himself permanently into a nickel role. Don’t forget, a much improved front seven could lead to better play from the secondary as well.  I’m all for drafting a cornerback, just not necessarily in the first round and especially if Stephon Gilmore is off the board.

♦ Combining the previous two points, if Nix sticks true to the grades on his draft board, I have a hard time concluding the organization has Kirkpatrick graded higher than Kuechly.

♦ Wanna bet Kirkpatrick’s former Alabama teammate, Marcell Dareus disagrees with me?

♦ I still badly want wide receiver Ruben Randle (LSU) to fall to Buffalo at No. 41 in round two, but I’m accepting the fact it’s highly unlikely to happen.  Again, I’m probably in the minority in thinking receiver won’t be a first or second round selection, but Randle would be an exception.  He has good size, adequate speed for the outside and from what I hear is well liked in league scouting circles.  I have no inside information on how the Bills have him ranked, but he definitely fits the mold of a Nix type of player.

♦ If the Bills don’t go linebacker in rounds one or two, look out for Tank Carder (TCU) in the third.  This guy is an animal.

♦ Looks like Mike Adams failed a drug contest at the Combine.  In related news, looks like anyone  with him in their first round of a mock draft should immediately be concerned.

♦ I have to give credit where it’s due.  For my money, WGR’s Joe Buscaglia has become the guy when it comes to anything and everything Bills draft related.  If you’re not reading his blog on WGR or following him on Twitter, you must not like the Bills.

♦ If you really like Michael Floyd and want him in Buffalo, you have about seven days to find Tom Donahoe and convince Ralph Wilson to rehire him as general manager.

♦ I’ve seen lots of mocks lately with Riley Reiff lasting all the way to 19 or 20.  There’s no way he’d get past the New York Jets at No. 16.  You people do realize that Wayne Hunter is their current start right tackle, no?

I’ll back with more thoughts tomorrow–or maybe even later today.

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3 Comments on NFL Draft: Friday Thoughts

  1. Carl Burton

    Patrick, I totally agree with you about Kuechly. I think if the Bills’ are locked in @ 10 and can not find a trade partner to move down, and don’t discount teams like the Eagles and Jets trying to get ahead of Dallas for Mark Barron, then Kuechly makes the most sense for this team. I read where he has drawn comparsions to Zach Thomas; a fact that will not be lost on Wannstedt if he has come to the same conclusion. I know Wannstedt wants one LB uncovered and free to flow to the ball and while I fully expect that ‘backer to be Barnett this season, I can totally see Kuechly being that guy in a season or two after Barnett has moved on. As for the comparisons to Posluszny, I myself was guilty of making the same mistake before I saw Kuechly’s movement skills @ the combine. I think Kuechly is a much less tightly wound athlete through his lower body than Pos is, making him a much better coverage LB in the short zones. I also love hearing and reading about Kuechley’s passion and intensity for the game. If you haven’t already be sure to check out Jeff Chadiha’s article about Kuechly on ESPN.com; sounds like the kind of player that would be real easy to root for in a Bills’ jersey.

  2. Josh

    Can we just say it? Kuechly is white. We get it. So is Poz and so is Zach Thomas. But that’s where the similarities end. He plays like Jonathan Vilma. Sorry that’s hard for some to understand, since one is white and one is black, but Poz and Thomas are down hill LB’s who weren’t anywhere near the coverage backers that Keuchly is. If you’re so desperate to compare him to a white LB, try James Lauranaitis.

    This just annoys me. I think Keuchly has elite ability, and while he isnt a hard nosed run stuffer, someone tell me the big time RB in the AFC East that you’re worried about showing up at the ralph on a 20 degree day and running down our throats?

    Also, I completely agree about Joe B. He is putting in work.

  3. James

    Can’t disagree more with your statement about Floyd. He’s definitely in the mix, and all of Blackmon, Floyd, Hill, Wright, Randle, and Jeffery will be gone by 42. Can’t wait to read your post game assessments next year when Jones and Easley combine to 42 yards and Buffalo gets shut down on O.

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