The 2014 NFL Draft is now just over two weeks away, paving way for what could be one of the most intriguing drafts to date. With so much talent loaded into this class, teams will be trying to weave their way to secure the guy that best fits their roster.
Last time around in Mock Draft #4, the Bills went with Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan. Could it be the same thing in Mock Draft #5? For the first time in 2014, the mock draft goes up to the Bills third round selection. Here's a look at how May 8 and 9 could play out for Buffalo.
Keep in mind, mock drafts should always be considered to be for entertainment purposes only. With that written, on to the mock!
1) TRADE (from HOU) - DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
- It's not often you see the top pick in the draft dealt away, but it's also not often that a player with Clowney's pedigree is available. NFL.com's Gil Brandt said he believes there is a "good chance" Houston trades out of the top spot, and the recipient would likely be moving up for Clowney. With not much depth to this pass rushing class, the Falcons, who believe they're close, capitalize on what they may view as a rare opportunity.
2) (from WSH) - OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
- The majority of St. Louis' leverage was based on the fact that Houston needs a quarterback, but now that the Texans are focusing in on either defense or a trade, that likely leaves the Rams stuck at second overall. They choose to build up their offensive line with a run-first approach and select Greg Robinson, who has the potential to be a top offensive tackle in the NFL.
3) - LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
- This remains one of the best fits in the draft. Gus Bradley could use Mack in so many different ways in his pressure-based defensive scheme. The Jaguars defense could be one of the most improved units in all the NFL in 2014.
4) - WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson
- Whoever the Browns end up taking to be their next quarterback will have an embarrassment of riches at their disposal. If the Browns end up with Watkins, that gives them one of the most talented pass-catching units in all the NFL: Josh Gordon, Watkins, Jordan Cameron and the newly signed slot receiver Andrew Hawkins. Brian Hoyer might be the early recipient of all the weapons, it's just a matter of which quarterback the Browns set their sights on and how quickly he can play.
5) - QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida
- Wanting to trade down, the top quarterback on their board is too good to pass up at fifth overall. After all, GM Reggie McKenzie has to take a quarterback early in the draft eventually, right? Right?! Bueller?!
6) (from ATL) - OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
- The Matthews family will have an extended presence in the city of Houston once again. Jake Matthews slots in as an immediate starter for Bill O'Brien, as the Texans attempt to build up their offensive line for their quarterback of the future.
7) - QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
- Manziel would be an electric fit for the Buccaneers and would help them be competitive immediately. There is little doubt that they need a shot in the arm offensively, and Manziel could be just the guy to do it.
8) TRADE (from MIN) - WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
- Rather than waiting around, the Rams pounce on the opportunity to select a big, playmaking wide receiver that Sam Bradford doesn't currently have to throw to. Evans would be an immediate starter and give St. Louis a lot of flexibility on offense if they were to draft Greg Robinson at number two as well.
9) - TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina
- For three out of the four mock drafts before this one, the Bills were taking an offensive tackle with the ninth overall pick. Last time around, both Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews were off the board, and the mock featured the Bills selecting Michigan's Taylor Lewan over Ebron. So why the change of heart? It all comes down to two separate reasons. Firstly, if EJ Manuel is going to succeed as a quarterback in the NFL they need to surround him with as much playmaking talent as possible. While tight end isn't an outrageous, crying need, adding an explosive player that can change the way defenses play you is far more important than what a right tackle could bring along. Back when the Patriots featured their two tight end sets, they had a super-athletic player that was used for receiving purposes only. This is what the Bills could have envisioned for Ebron, who is head and shoulders above the rest of the tight end class. The second reason, and perhaps the most important, is that the offensive tackles outside of the top three have a very real chance to slip down farther than initially thought. Buffalo could end up with tremendous value in the second round, coming away with two impact starters for their offense.
10) TRADE (from DET) - LB Anthony Barr, UCLA
- If the board doesn't fall the way the Bills want it to, there is an argument to be made for them to engage in talks with the 49ers for somewhat of a similar deal. With all the drama happening with Aldon Smith, it appears a split could be on the way sooner rather than later. Barr would fit perfectly into the San Francisco defense, and the 49ers certainly have the ammo to make a big move up the draft order.
SF gets: 10th overall
DET gets: 30th overall, 56th overall, 61st overall
11) TRADE (from TEN) - OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
- The Ravens are in need of a right tackle now that Michael Oher has departed as an unrestricted free agent. The Ravens have a lot of picks to play with in this year's draft, so a move up to secure that player for the pocket-bound Joe Flacco could be in the works. If they have any hope of landing Lewan, they have to get ahead of the New York Giants.
BAL gets: 11th overall, 112th overall
TEN gets: 17th overall, 48th overall
12) - DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
13) - LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama
- The Vikings move down a bit and claim an inside linebacker that steps in to start as soon as they hand in the card.
14) - S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
15) - WR Odell Beckham, Jr., LSU
- With Emmanuel Sanders leaving, the Steelers need another target for Ben Roethlisberger. The trio of Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and Odell Beckham, Jr. is one that presents a lot of problems for defenses.
16) - DT Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota
17) (from BAL) - QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
- After trading down and acquiring an additional second round pick, the Titans can't pass up the value of Teddy Bridgewater at this point in the draft. Jake Locker is on the final year of his contract and he is not Ken Whisenhunt's quarterback. Bridgewater can step in quickly to a good situation on offense with Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter and Delanie Walker.
18) TRADE (from NYJ) - CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech
- The Broncos have been going for it all offseason to try and put together a team to win a Super Bowl this season, so moving up to take their top cornerback in the draft to pair with Aqib Talib could be an intriguing option.
DEN gets: 18th overall
NYJ gets: 31st overall, 63rd overall
19) - OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
20) - S Calvin Pryor, Louisville
- A hard-hitting safety to go along with the ballhawking Tyrann Mathieu, the Cardinals are looking to make a playoff push this season with a high impact style of rookie at an increasingly important position.
21) TRADE (from GB) - WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
- Rather than hope that the Eagles don't select Cooks at 22, the Chiefs dish out a fourth-round pick to the Packers to secure their guy. Cooks can play both outside and inside, and that versatility will be fully welcomed to the Alex Smith-led offensive attack.
23) (from KC) - S Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois
- The Packers are in desperate need of a safety. With both Clinton-Dix and Pryor off the board, the Packers figure they can move back a little bit and still secure their player. Their gamble pays off, and they get an additional fourth-round pick along with Jimmie Ward.
24) - DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
25) - CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
- A slight fall in cornerbacks benefits the Chargers greatly, who could use an entire new starting set of players at the position. They get Gilbert, who some view as the top cornerback in this class.
26) (from IND) - QB Derek Carr, Fresno State
- The Browns have some nervous moments, but end up with their guy to groom for the longterm. Will he be an immediate contributor? That much we don't know. But the Browns do have a player in Brian Hoyer that can help in the interim with all those weapons on offense that Cleveland now boasts.
27) TRADE (from NO) - WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State
- Not only do the wide receiver needy Carolina Panthers worry the New York Jets, but so do the New England Patriots. They offer the New Orleans Saints a great deal which gives them a total of three picks in the second round, all while maintaining 31st overall to add to their offense even further. The Jets will hope that Kelvin Benjamin is Eric Decker's new Demaryius Thomas.
NYJ gets: 27th overall
NO gets: 49th overall, 63rd overall
28) - OT/G Zack Martin, Notre Dame
29) - DT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame
- The Patriots would have went with Benjamin had he been on the board, but can't pass up an impact player like Nix. He'll eventually take over for Vince Wilfork, but can play right beside him until that day comes.
30) (from SF) - CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
31) (from DEN) - TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
32) TRADE (from SEA) - QB Zach Mettenberger, LSU
- This trade happens for three reasons. The first, Minnesota has the additional second round selection to be able to pull off this trade. Secondly, the threat of what Houston might do at 33rd overall looms largely over their heads, and they seem to be big fans of Mettenberger. Thirdly, drafting at 32nd overall rather than in the second round gives the Vikings the fifth-year option on Mettenberger if he's a success.
33) - QB Tom Savage, Pittsburgh
- The craziness of the draft continues, with the Texans actually selecting the quickest rising quarterback in recent memory. With Savage selected, Ryan Fitzpatrick will get some more time as a starting quarterback in the NFL.
34) - CB Jason Verrett, TCU
35) - LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
36) - WR Marqise Lee, USC
- Even a few months ago, Marqise Lee dropping out of the first round was a preposterous thought. With all the talent in this draft and the type of depth that exists at his position, it puts a team in a position to get a steal of a second round pick.
39) - HB Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
- Jimmy Garoppolo is a popular pick here in most mock drafts, but is he worthy of a second round selection? Instead, the Jaguars take the second member of their one-two punch at running back in Carlos Hyde.
40) (from MIN) - G Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA
41) - OT Morgan Moses, Virginia
- The depth at the position allows this situation to happen. Opinions on Morgan Moses are wide-ranging, but the common notion is that he can play right tackle in the NFL. He's got the size (6-foot-6, 314-pounds) and the arm length that the Bills covet in their tackles, making Moses a likely immediate starter in Buffalo. Even if Moses is off the board, there will be options available at 41 to upgrade right tackle if they so choose.
42) - DE/OLB Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State
43) - TE Troy Niklas, Notre Dame
- Niklas might be a little raw, but he has intriguing size and attributes that the Giants were missing from their tight end in 2013.
44) (from STL) - DE Kony Ealy, Missouri
45) - TE Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, Washington
46) - DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame
- After addressing wide receive in the first round, Tuitt can step in and start for a need area in Pittsburgh. A five-technique defensive end is sorely needed after they whiffed on Ziggy Hood.
47) - OT/G Joel Bitonio, Nevada
48) (from BAL) - HB Tre Mason, Auburn
49) (from NYJ) - DE/OLB Dee Ford, Auburn
- An outside linebacker for Rob Ryan isn't the top need area for the Saints, but Ford is too good to pass up at this point in the draft.
50) - LB Chris Borland, Wisconsin
- The Dolphins want to move Dannell Ellerbee to the outside, and Borland would give them the flexibility to do so. Getting Phillip Wheeler out of the starting lineup is a very good thing for Miami.
51) - CB Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State
52) - WR Bruce Ellington, South Carolina
- Andre Roberts moved on to Washington, creating a need for a slot receiver to complement Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. The Cardinals can get the inside scoop on Bruce Ellington from his cousin, and current Arizona running back, Andre. A former dual-athlete at South Carolina, Ellington brings a lot of potential to the table.
53) - C Weston Richburg, Colorado State
54) - WR Paul Richardson, Colorado
55) - HB Jeremy Hill, LSU
- Looking for a power back to pair with Gio Bernard, the Bengals go with Jeremy Hill to take over for BenJarvus Green-Ellis. They'll be running the ball a bit more this season with Hue Jackson as the new offensive coordinator.
56) (from SF) - WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
57) - DE/OLB Kyle Van Noy, BYU
58) - HB Dri Archer, Kent State
- An explosive athlete, Archer can be the new X-factor in New Orleans now that they've moved on from Darren Sproles.
59) - S Deone Bucannon, Washington State
60) - WR Davante Adams, Fresno State
- After waiting to address wide receiver in the first round, the Panthers land a player that could have pushed to be a first round pick in most years. Fortunately for Carolina, this isn't most years.
61) (from SF) - DE Scott Crichton, Oregon State
62) - G/C Marcus Martin, USC
63) (from NYJ via DEN) - WR Allen Robinson, Penn State
64) - DE/DT Dominique Easley, Florida
- Could the Seahawks use an offensive tackle? Sure. But adding Easley, who could become one of the best in the draft if he gets through his second major knee injury, seems like a gamble worth taking for the immensely talented Seattle roster. They can afford him with the time he needs to fully rehab his injury.
65) - ILB Carl Bradford, Arizona State
66) - OT Ja'Wuan James, Tennessee
67) - S Terrance Brooks, Florida State
68) - OT Jack Mewhort, Ohio State
69) - G Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State
70) - QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois
- Waiting on Garoppolo pays off for Jacksonville. Plenty of other teams already addressed their quarterback needs, and taking Garoppolo in the third round doesn't put any pressure on the organization to stray away from moving on from him after only one season.
71) - CB Phillip Gaines, Rice
72) (from MIN) - QB A.J. McCarron, Alabama
73) - CB Bashaud Breeland, Clemson
- The Bills could go with a defensive end, wide receiver or running back at this selection, but the potential of Bashaud Breeland wins out over the likes of North Carolina defensive end Kareem Martin, Clemson wide receiver Martavis Bryant, Ole Miss wideout Dontie Moncrief and Towson running back Terrance West among a plethora of others. They can find a running back in the fifth round, and a situational pass rusher could be had in the fourth round. In the end, the longterm starting potential of a player like Breeland wins out. He's got the size (5-foot-11, 197-pounds) and the hips to be a starting cornerback in the NFL. With the flexibility that Leodis McKelvin brings during Breeland's rookie season, they can develop him with defensive backs coach Donnie Henderson the proper way and not force him into action too early.