(WGR 550) -- The frenzied free agency period has come and gone in the National Football League with more of the attention shifting towards the 2014 NFL Draft. Some needs were met through free agency and it changed some things up in how to prognosticate the first round.
How will it affect the Bills' pick and who might they be looking at in both the first and second rounds?
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:
1. - QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida
- The long-term potential wins out for Bortles and he becomes Houston's franchise player.
2) TRADE (from STL via WSH) - DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
- The Falcons view this as a big opportunity to get an impact player in their win-now window. ** STL gets 6, 37, 4th Rd pick, ATL gets 2, 5th rd pick
3) - LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo
- A superb fit for Gus Bradley’s defense, Mack will fit right in and be an impact rookie.
4) - QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
- Sammy Watkins to Cleveland is gaining some steam, but they just can’t neglect quarterback again, can they? The pairing of an unorthodox quarterback with an aggressive head coach with defensive backgrounds looks good on paper.
5) TRADE (from OAK) - OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
- Armed with a bevy of picks, the Rams move up to claim two top prospects in this outrageously talented class. The Raiders, it seems, are attempting to move down again this year. ** OAK gets 13, 37, STL gets 5
6) (from ATL) - WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson
- Not a bad haul for the Rams with Robinson and Watkins. Les Snead is as proactive a GM as they come.
7) - WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
- They addressed pass rusher in free agency and Mike Williams seems to be in a little bit of hot water. Pairing Evans with Vincent Jackson will make Josh McCown feel at home from his last year in Chicago with the towering combination of Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall.
8) - QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
- Bridgewater is better than the eighth pick, but there aren’t enough teams in full-on add a quarterback mode. A good pairing with Norv Turner.
9) - OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
- With both Watkins and Evans off the board, this pick becomes easy for the Bills. Jake Matthews will start at right tackle immediately and give the Bills flexibility in case Cordy Glenn starts to struggle on the left side, or, in two years if they cannot get the left tackle under a long-term contract. It’s a safe pick, and some (including your author) would argue for the Bills to go after North Carolina’s Eric Ebron if this were how the first eight picks shakes out. However, head coach Doug Marrone is putting a premium on being able to run the ball, and they’ll likely look at this as a chance to solidify the offensive line from left to right. That, combined with the wide receiver depth in 2014, is sound enough logic for the decision makers at One Bills Drive.
10) TRADE (from Detroit) - OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
- Last off-season the Dolphins attempted to surround Ryan Tannehill with weapons and fortify the defense. This off-season, it’s about keeping him upright and they strike for Lewan even after signing Branden Albert. ** DET gets 19, 50 MIA gets 10
11) - LB Anthony Barr, UCLA
12) -TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina
13) (from St. Louis) - QB Derek Carr, Fresno State
- There have been some rumblings by those that cover the Raiders that Derek Carr could be a viable candidate for their first round pick. They need a quarterback in the absolute worst way. They could stick at 5 and draft Bridgewater, too.
14) - DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
15) TRADE (from PIT) - WR Marqise Lee, USC
- The Ravens will likely scare the Jets into making a move for another target for Geno Smith and they keep their second round pick. An easy sell for them, especially landing a playmaker like Lee. **PIT gets 18, 80, NYJ gets 15, 5th round pick
16) - DE Kony Ealy, Missouri
17) - DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame
18) (from NYJ) - NT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame
- Their defensive line needs some re-working and Nix gives them some flexibility.
19) (from MIA) - S HaHa Clinton-Dix, Alabama
20) - DE/OLB Dee Ford, Auburn
21) - S Calvin Pryor, Louisville
22) - LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama
- A solid get here for Philadelphia. Pairing him with Mychal Kendricks would be an ideal scenario in the middle of that 3-4.
23) - WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State
24) - CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
25) - CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
26) (from IND) - WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
- They pass on Watkins to take a quarterback early on, and then get a solid number two receiver to pair with Josh Gordon and new slot receiver Andrew Hawkins.
27) - LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
28) - OT/G Zack Martin, Notre Dame
- Yes, they need receivers, but offensive tackle is a huge issue as well. Martin falling here certainly helps the justification process.
29) - DT Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota
30) - CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech
31) - CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State
32) - WR Odell Beckham Jr., LSU
- Out goes Golden Tate, in comes an even more talented player in Odell Beckham. The trio of Percy Harvin, Beckham and Doug Baldwin would be pretty potent.
33) - ILB Chris Borland, Wisconsin
34) - CB Bashaud Breeland, Clemson
35) - T/G Joel Bitonio, Nevada
- With no running back worth the 35th pick the complement Ben Tate, the Browns elect to fill the absence of guard Shawn Lauvao.
36) - DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
37) (from STL via ATL) - S Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois
38) - TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
39) - QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois
- A second round quarterback won’t keep them from taking one in the first round next year. This is a bit of dot-connecting but, here goes nothing: Bill Polian loves Garoppolo. Polian taught Jaguars GM David Caldwell the business. Therefore because of those ties, Caldwell might have a similar eye in scouting this particular quarterback.
40) - DE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State
41) - WR Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss
- The Bills are in need of a playmaker for their offense, specifically to help EJ Manuel become the player they want him to be. While he isn’t a Sammy Watkins or a Mike Evans, Donte Moncrief possesses a lot more to his game than some gave him credit for early on in the draft process. He’s a smooth wideout with sneaky speed that can get behind a defense in a hurry. The size is there, measuring in over 6-foot-2, with a good weight of 220-pounds. At Ole Miss the quarterbacking wasn’t great, but Moncrief still found the way to make plays. He’s a viable candidate at 41 if the Bills elect to go with the offensive line in the first round.