If you pay attention to most mock drafts from NFL writers and draft analysts alike, the most common position you’ll see linked to the Buffalo Bills is offensive tackle. It is not a sexy position by NFL standards, and it wouldn’t even be for the all-important left tackle position, either.
However, just because the pick would be to fill a need at right tackle, some believe it would be worth it just based on the talent of this year’s draft at the top. Former Houston Texans GM and current NFL Network analyst Charlie Casserly is one of those people.
Joining WGR Sports Radio 550 on Thursday morning, Casserly didn’t rule out the notion that the Bills could add a wide receiver or tight end with the ninth overall pick, but lent much more credence in Buffalo taking a right tackle with the pick than many fans throughout the process.
“It helps the running game, it helps the passing game, it helps the quarterback,” Casserly told WGR. “You solidify both edges of the offensive line. All of a sudden now your pass protection becomes a lot simpler and the running game, you're able to go both sides, you'll be able to knock some people off the ball, it creates some run space for everybody. It makes it a lot simpler.”
The three prospects worth mentioning at offensive tackle that could be within consideration to draft at ninth overall are Greg Robinson of Auburn, Jake Matthews of Texas A&M and Taylor Lewan of Michigan. Based on some reporting throughout the league, it doesn’t appear all that likely that Robinson has a chance to be there at ninth overall. However, both Matthews and Lewan have been extensively linked to the Bills' first round selection.
Perhaps going along the same line as the report yesterday that the Raiders have Lewan — who is widely considered to be the third-best tackle —ranked ahead of both Robinson and Matthews, Casserly used some fairly strong language in the belief that the Bills might not even get a sniff of one of the trio.
“I just think these three tackles are top 10, and to be honest with you, I'll be surprised if one of them is still sitting there when the Bills pick,” he said.
All three gone within the top eight? Did we hear that correctly?
“Yeah, I think they could be. I think they're that good. History shows that one of them should be there. To me, they're better than the ninth pick in the draft all three of them, based on the other players in this year's draft.”
It certainly is conceivable if you picture how the board could play out. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the top four will likely consist of some variation of Robinson, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack and Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
If the Raiders believed in Lewan that strongly, they could take him with the fifth overall selection. After that, the tackle-needy Atlanta Falcons at sixth overall could opt for Matthews, leaving the Bills without a tackle on the board.
Maybe it isn’t likely, but it’s definitely within the realm of possibilities if the teams picking in the top six all neglect the quarterback position. Their talent level, mixed with some other factors, is part of Casserly’s argument.
“In this draft, there's depth at wide receiver, so I think the Bills could get a quality receiver at the top of the second round. There will probably be a better receiver there than there will be an offensive tackle. That's one of the considerations you go through in making a decision.”