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Posted: Thursday, 27 February 2014 11:53AM

Buscaglia: NFL Mock Draft #1



(WGR 550) -- With the 2014 NFL Combine in the rearview mirror, the time to take a look at how May's annual selection meeting could play out has come.

It's a good year to be drafting in the Top 10. While there is no sure thing, the draft class coming out is loaded with blue-chip prospects that can evolve into tremendous starters if utilized correctly. Couple that with the need for some teams at quarterback coming to a head, talent will be driven down the board and quality players will be found outside the top five.

The only thing we know about the Buffalo Bills is this: they're not drafting a quarterback in the first round. So what will they draft?

Keep in mind, mock drafts should always be considered to be for entertainment purposes only. With that written, here's a look at how the first couple of rounds could shake out for the Bills:

Round 1
1. - QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida
- A compelling decision will come down to a pair of quarterbacks. Bortles vs. Manziel. The edge goes to Bortles, for now, because of Bill O'Brien's on-the-surface preference for prototypical quarterbacks. 

2. TRADE  (via STL from WSH) - QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
- Scared that Manziel would get scooped up by the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Browns dish aside their second first round pick and a little bit more to ensure that they get their man. Is the interest a smokescreen? Is it reality? The one thing that is evident: the Browns need a quarterback in the worst way.

(2nd overall goes to CLE) (26th overall, a 2015 2nd and 4th round pick goes to STL)

3. TRADE (via JAX) - DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
- Sitting as close as they are to the top prospects of the draft, it's hard to believe that Thomas Dimitroff would sit tight and wait for sixth overall to get to him. A very proactive GM, Dimitroff strikes to bring in what could be the best defensive end prospect to come around in many, many years.

(3rd overall goes to ATL) (6th overall, 37th overall, and a 4th round pick goes to JAX)

4. (via CLE) - OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
- The Rams likely won't be going for a quarterback which gives them flexibility to move out of second overall, while still replenishing one of their weaknesses to help their current quarterback. This pick comes down to offensive tackle versus wide receiver. With the depth at wideout in the draft, the Rams instead opt for someone to protect Sam Bradford.

5. - WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson
- Oakland is void of playmakers all over the place and bring in Watkins to be the star of the offense for what they hope can be years to come. The Raiders could use a lot, everywhere to be quite honest.

6. (via ATL) - LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
- Head coach Gus Bradley had to be beside himself in 2013 when the Jaguars couldn't put any heat on the quarterback. Looking for team speed and the overall inner fire to put in the necessary work, the Jaguars bring in Mack to help the defensive efforts. Yes, they need a quarterback, but it seems like GM David Caldwell will only take one they believe in. He won't take one just to take one.

7. - DE/LB Anthony Barr, UCLA
- The Buccaneers hope some of their problems at defensive end will conclude with the high-potential pass rusher from UCLA. The Buccaneers need help on offense, too. They'd be a major threat to select Sammy Watkins if he becomes available.

8. - QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
- The "slide" for Bridgewater ends. The Vikings have been talking like a team that will wait for the second round to select a quarterback, but they probably never thought Bridgewater would make it down to their first round pick.

9. - OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
- The Bills will just wait to see how the top eight unfolds and then select the best player on the board. The Bills are going with the run-heavy philosophy with EJ Manuel at quarterback, which could make right tackle a much bigger value in their eyes. Matthews is a technically sound, under control offensive tackle that can play at a high level on both sides at tackle. This would be considered a "safe" pick, because you know exactly what you're getting in Matthews. He would slot in immediately as the starting right tackle, and could shift over to the left side if Cordy Glenn ever struggles.

10. - CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
11. TRADE  (via TEN) - OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
- The Dolphins will be aggressively going after offensive tackles all season long. If they don't get one through free agency, this move makes a ton of sense to jump ahead of the also tackle-needy Giants.

(11th overall goes to MIA) (19th overall and 50th overall goes to TEN)

12. - TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina
13. - WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
14. - DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

15. TRADE  (via PIT) - WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State
- With Watkins, Ebron and Evans all off the board, the Jets need to find playmakers for the offensive side of the ball. Not knowing what the Cowboys will do and with the Ravens in need of a wideout as well, the Jets dish out a third round pick to get their guy.

(15th overall goes to NYJ) (18th overall and 80th overall goes to PIT)

16. - DE Kony Ealy, Missouri
17. - WR Marqise Lee, USC
18. (via NYJ) - NT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame
- The Steelers are in need of an addition to their defensive line, and Nix brings some versatility with the ability to play nose tackle.

19. (via MIA) - LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama
20. - OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame
21. - S Calvin Pryor, Louisville
- A constant weakness for the Packers throughout 2013 was from the play of their safeties. With so much talent available in this year's draft, the Packers get the pick of the litter and go with Pryor.

22. - S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
23. - WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
24. - CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
25. - DE/OLB Dee Ford, Auburn
26. TRADE  (via STL from CLE thru IND) - QB Derek Carr, Fresno State
- The Raiders, who definitively need a quarterback to save them from another season of Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor, make the move to get their guy. To move up 10 spots, the Raiders essentially flip a third round pick for a fourth round pick. The Rams end up with two first round picks, two second round picks and two third round picks. Not bad for this draft especially.
(26th overall and Cleveland's 4th round pick goes to OAK) (36th overall and 67th overall goes to STL)

27. - LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
28. - WR Odell Beckham Jr., LSU
29. - DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
- A lot of people have Jace Amaro going here. The problems for New England are much more weighty on the defensive side of the ball. Coming off a serious injury, you have to wonder just how long Vince Wilfork will continue playing at a high level.

30. - CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech
31. - CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State
32. - OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama

Round 2

33. - OLB Trent Murphy, Stanford
34. - DL Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame
35. - WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
- Johnny Manziel throwing to Josh Gordon, Jordan Matthews and Jordan Cameron sounds like a pretty nice way to start things off for Mike Pettine in Cleveland. Now they just need to find a running back somewhere.

36. (via OAK) - G David Yankey, Stanford 
37. (via ATL) - G Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA
38. - TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
39. - DE Scott Crichton, Oregon State
- The trend continues for the Jaguars and GM David Caldwell. Build the team, and then bring in the quarterback. They knew it would be longer than just a one-year rebuild. They're going from the ground up. They could select one in the third round to compete for the starting job, giving themselves the wiggle room to select one in the first round in 2015.

40. - DE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State
41. - LB Chris Borland, Wisconsin
- This was a tossup between Borland and Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas. Borland gets the edge because of how open to the idea GM Doug Whaley was at switching Kiko Alonso over to the weakside, coupled with the Bills seeming more content than most with their tight end group. With the addition of Borland, who fits the mold of a Jim Schwartz style middle linebacker by the way, it helps their abilities in stopping the run and gives Alonso the freedom to move around on the field without getting covered up by blocks. It's not the sexiest of first two picks, but the duo will help the Bills in the two areas they've been talking about trying to fix since the end of the season: running the ball more effectively and stopping the run more consistently.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

All photos courtesy of AP
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