Thursday, January 24, 2013
Buffalo's draft priorities
By Tim Kavanagh
We've been hearing a lot about how the Buffalo Bills could be targeting competition for Ryan Fitzpatrick in this year's draft -- and will certainly be adding some options in some way, as he's the only passer under contract for 2013 -- but as you may have noticed in watching the team this past season, there are some other needs that could be addressed early on in the draft as well.
According to what Bills GM Buddy Nix told BuffaloBills.com, the club's top priorities include QB, LB and WR, and Nix confirmed that he's spending a lot of his time down at Senior Bowl on players at those positions.
Regarding the LBs, Nix noted that with the new breed of TEs in the league -- especially the pair employed by their division rivals in New England -- this has changed what teams are looking for in players at the position. "When you're looking at linebackers, you want a guy who can run and cover and can match up against a slot [WR] or a tight end," Nix explained. "See if that guy's got enough mobility in space to cover."
Linebacker, eh? In his first mock draft of the season, Mel Kiper Jr. sent a very intriguing LB prospect to Buffalo at No. 8 overall, Notre Dame's Manti Te'o:
Mel Kiper Jr.Mock Draft 1.0
"The Bills really need help at interior linebacker, where Kelvin Sheppard is a good player, but won't become a great one. Te'o doesn't have elite athleticism, but he has elite instincts, elite intangibles and will become the leader of a defense by the end of training camp. He makes the Buffalo run defense better immediately, and very quietly was second in the nation in INTs, showing great awareness in his drops (and good hands) against the pass. He may not end up this high, but I'm sold on him as a high-level NFL middle linebacker."