How have things shifted since the last mock draft? As far as the Buffalo Bills are concerned, at least on the surface it looks as though they're zeroing in on a position in the first round. How will it all play out?
A few things to note, as they always should be. First, and most importantly, mock drafts are for entertainment purposes only. If one variable goes a different way, the entire course of the draft could change. That is why you see trades involved in all the mock drafts, because it can't quite be a first round without some trades going down.
With that said, here is a look at my latest projections leading up to the Bills pick in the third round:
|1||OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan|
|- The Chiefs have to decide whether they want someone that is more of a finished product or one with more room to grow as a player. I think they side with the latter, and Fisher.|
|2||LB Dion Jordan, Oregon|
|- The Jaguars are aiming to get younger, faster and more efficient on defense. Helping a starving pass rush helps with Dion Jordan. The only big question is this: do they go after Geno here? It wouldn't be a shock.|
|3||OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M|
- With the Chiefs passing on Joeckel, the Dolphins fly up the board to take someone that can be plugged in to left tackle immediately. With their 2013 draft ammo, they can afford the move.
Miami gets: 3rd overall
Oakland gets: 12th overall, 42nd overall, 111th overall and a 2014 third-round pick
|4||QB Geno Smith, West Virginia|
|- The Eagles aren't fooling anyone by keeping Nick Foles on the roster right now. They need a quarterback after Michael Vick's time with them is done. Geno Smith is the perfect fit for Chip Kelly's offense and he even has a year to redshirt, and learn the system in full.|
|5||DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU|
|- The Lions could go for a left tackle in Lane Johnson here, but Ansah's raw skills may be too good to pass up at a position that the Lions sorely need to address. The Lions will hope for an offensive tackle to be around when they pick in the second round.|
|6||OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma|
- With Detroit passing on an offensive tackle, the Chargers make their move to secure the services of Johnson. They need to get ahead of the offensive tackle hungry Cardinals, and do so by giving the Browns what they covet -- a pick in the second round.
Chargers get: 6th overall, 139th overall
Browns get: 11th overall, 45th overall
|7||OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama|
|- A little early for Fluker? It sure seems like it. However, Bobby Massie was one of the worst right tackles in football last season. He can step in right away and help the porous offensive line. If there isn't a surprise, then it's not the NFL Draft.|
|8||QB Matt Barkley, USC|
|- With the way the Buffalo Bills talked on Tuesday during the pre-draft luncheon, saying there were two-to-three franchise quarterbacks available in the 2013 NFL Draft, it has fans expecting a quarterback to be taken in the first round. If they truly believe they are franchise players, then you do not wait for the second round and hope one of them falls. A franchise player indicates that it's someone that can help turn things around with a team that sorely needs it. With Smith off the board, this comes down to Barkley versus Nassib. From a talent standpoint, I think Barkley is a better fit for the Bills' scheme. Nassib knows the scheme and could step in day one, but Kevin Kolb gives the Bills the opportunity to not have their rookie know the scheme before they walk in the door.|
|9||WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia|
|- In search of playmakers on offense, the New York Jets get one of the most explosive the draft has to offer. Already having Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill fitting in on the outside, Jeremy Kerley and Austin could do some damage in the slot area. Austin can also line up in the backfield and make teams think twice that way. If Rex Ryan is aiming to get more aggressive on offense, Austin would be a great start.|
|10||DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida|
|- The Titans could go with a guard in this spot, but the value of Floyd may just be too good to pass up. They have a rotation of defensive tackles with Jurrell Casey, Karl Klug and Mike Martin that have some talent, but the addition of Floyd would help not only this group, but Kamerion Wimbley and Derrick Morgan on the edges as well.|
|11||CB Dee Milliner, Alabama|
|- The Browns move down, obtain their second round pick and still come away with Milliner who was a bit overvalued once he ran his 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. With Cleveland, he has the advantage of not being the top shutdown corner on the roster which is good because there will be an adjustment period.|
|12||DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri|
- Sensing they need to make a move, the Cowboys get ahead of Carolina to secure Richardson. He can help out the transition to the 4-3. The Raiders, in attempts to recoup more picks, gets the deal done with Dallas.
Cowboys get: 12th overall
Raiders get: 18th overall, 80th overall, 114th overall
|13||QB Ryan Nassib, Syracuse|
- Assuming that the Buccaneers acquisition of Darrelle Revis goes through, this is a pick that allows the Jets to develop their new look offense. Rumored to be very interested in Nassib, the Jets can afford to take him at 13 and not wait and hope at 39.
Jets get: 13th overall, 2014 third-round pick, 2014 seventh-round pick
Buccaneers get: CB Darrelle Revis
|14||DT Star Lotulelei, Utah|
|- While the Panthers could definitely use a left tackle, they have been searching for the answer at defensive tackle for years. There are some intriguing offensive tackle options that may be available by the time their second round pick comes up.|
|15||OT Menelik Watson, Florida State|
|- With the exit of Jermon Bushrod, the Saints will have to put a premium on protecting Drew Brees. They could attempt to trade out of their selection and hope Watson is still there to claim back a second round pick, but with Drew Brees entering in to the final stages of his career the window may be closing soon for New Orleans. It's very important to keep him upright.|
|16||G Chance Warmack, Alabama|
|- He may not be Tavon Austin but Warmack certainly helps the Rams right away to finish their offensive line. He's a good fit schematically.|
|17||LB Barkevious Mingo, LSU|
|- In need of more pressure off the edge, the Steelers elect to snap up Mingo as he's falling a bit. A seemingly good fit for the Steelers attacking 3-4.|
|18||DE Tank Carradine, Florida State|
|- Simply put, the Raiders need to bring down the quarterback at a much higher rate than they did in 2012. Carradine helps that right away.|
|19||DL Datone Jones, UCLA|
|- Gee, a versatile defensive lineman that can line up anywhere? Yeah, that doesn't sound like the Giants or anything.|
|20||S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas|
- With Vaccaro lasting a little longer than expected, the Rams jump ahead of the Bengals to secure his services. The Bears don't have a third round pick, so they add another selection to the tally.
Rams get: 20th overall
Bears get: 22nd overall, 113th overall
|21||LB Jarvis Jones, Georgia|
|- The Bengals could use a safety, but seeing the depth in the position they can afford to wait until their early pick in the second round. Jones can fill in to the void and play strongside linebacker for the departed Manny Lawson.|
|22||G Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina|
|- Perfect fit and they even moved down to get him. Cooper can step in right away and start.|
|23||CB Jamar Taylor, Boise State|
|- Surprised Taylor is the second cornerback off the board? Don't be. His experience in both zone and man coverages make him a good fit for anyone. Could end up being the best cornerback from 2013.|
|24||CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State|
|- In need of a player experienced with press coverage, the Colts find one in Xavier Rhodes. He fits the new mold of cornerbacks in the NFL to deal with bigger receivers. He's tall, lanky and physical.|
|25||LB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame|
|- The Vikings are in need of a new middle linebacker, and the Notre Dame ties with that franchise are quite apparent.|
|26||TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame|
|- With Jermichael Finley's future uncertain, the Packers draft to replace once he's gone.|
|27||WR DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson|
|- The Texans stand pat and land their man. He can come in and be the immediate second option for Matt Schaub, taking pressure off of Andre Johnson.|
|28||DE Bjoern Werner, Florida State|
|- Werner goes a little later than some expect, but part of his sack totals in 2013 due to a four sack game against Murray State to start the season. He did have 3.5 sacks against Florida, however.|
|29||QB E.J. Manuel, Florida State|
- Assuming they'll be in the hunt this season and preparing for life after Josh Freeman, the Buccaneers make the move to bring in Manuel to take over in 2014. It will leave them without first, third and seventh round picks in 2014, but the Buccaneers appear to be going for it.
Buccaneers get: 29th overall
Patriots get: 43rd overall, 2014 first-round pick
|30||CB Desmond Trufant, Washington|
|- The Falcons are in dire need of a cornerback to help right away. They hope Trufant can.|
|31||DE Margus Hunt, SMU|
|- A move to have someone in place to take over for Justin Smith whenever he leaves should be addressed in this draft.|
|32||LB Alec Ogletree, Georgia|
|- Ogletree's range of where he goes in the draft is quite wide, and the Ravens take available of him being on the board at 32.|
33) - CB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
34) (via KC) - WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
- Ending Patterson's slide, the 49ers are the perfect environment for him to grow as a player.
35) - LB Arthur Brown, Kansas State
36) - OT Terron Armstead, Arkansas Pine-Bluff
37) (via OAK) - S Eric Reid, LSU
38) - S Johnathan Cyprien, Florida International
(Used in 2012 Supplemental Draft on WR Josh Gordon)
39) - TE Zach Ertz, Stanford
- The Jets continue to add to their offensive arsenal through the draft. It could be a much different looking Jets offense in 2013. He replaces Dustin Keller.
40) - G Justin Pugh, Syracuse
41) - WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee
It's obvious the Bills are very interested in adding a big wide receiver and have remained interested in Hunter throughout the draft process. Buddy Nix reaffirmed that the team is looking for a wide receiver to be open when he's not, and Hunter can serve in that role. His presence gives the Bills flexibility to kick Stevie Johnson or T.J. Graham inside whenever they want.
42) (via MIA) - DT Jesse Williams, Alabama
43) (via TB) - WR Markus Wheaton, Oregon State
44) - OT Kyle Long, Oregon
45) (via SD) - QB Tyler Bray, Tennessee
- I continue to believe that at least one team will fall madly in love with Bray's potential enough to take him in the second round. Jimmy Haslam's ties to Tennessee just knock this one out of the park for me.
46) - WR Ryan Swope, Texas A&M
47) - G Larry Warford, Kentucky
48) - CB D.J. Hayden, Houston
49) - DT Kawann Short, Purdue
50) - LB Kevin Minter, LSU
51) - S D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina
52) - WR Robert Woods, USC
53) - HB Giovanni Bernard, North Carolina
- It took quite some time, but the first running back is finally off the board.
54) (via IND) - CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut
55) - HB Montee Ball, Wisconsin
56) - G David Quessenberry, San Jose State
57) - QB Mike Glennon, NC State
- The Texans start preparing for the future, and just in case Matt Schaub can't cut it in the playoffs again.
58) - HB Christine Michael, Texas A&M
59) - WR Keenan Allen, Cal
- Two wide receivers selected in the second round? They certainly need it. With Allen falling down to this area, it makes sense.
60) - DE Alex Okafor, Texas
61) - HB Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
62) - S Matt Elam, Florida
63) - WR Terrance Williams, Baylor
64) - OT Dallas Thomas, Tennessee
- The Jaguars have been needing a replacement at right tackle, and Thomas can certainly slot in to the role.
65) - CB Logan Ryan, Rutgers
66) - LB Sio Moore, Connecticut
- The Raiders have to be intent on building up their defense again through this draft.
67) - NT Johnathan Jenkins, Georgia
68) - G Brian Winters, Kent State
69) - HB Eddie Lacy, Alabama
70) - TE Vance McDonald, Rice
71) - CB Darius Slay, Mississippi State
- In certain need of another cornerback to compete with Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks for the starting job, I believe the position will be a target within the first three rounds. Aaron Williams being moved to safety sealed that fate. Slay is experienced in man coverage and blew up the combine with 4.38 speed. He's as good a candidate as any to be drafted by the Bills in this range.