2015 Draft in Review: Buffalo Bills
The NFL draft is over and it suddenly seems like a long time to wait for the next meaningful event on the NFL calendar. But frankly we’re still excited trying to break down what it all means for each team and so we’re going to share some of that excitement.
That’s right every team is going to have each pick broken down as well as a look at their undrafted free agents. Up now? The Buffalo Bills in what would be Rex Ryan’s first draft as Head Coach.
Round 2: Ronald Darby, CB, FSU
A little bit higher than we anticipated him going. Darby is an aggressive player who can struggle running with bigger receivers. Had some problems with Philip Dorsett, and can lose his footing matching quick cuts, but allowed just 24 receptions on 46 balls thrown into his coverage.
Depth Chart Fit: Might not see a lot of action as a rookie. Rex likes his defensive backs, but he’s got five good ones to pass on the depth chart.
Round 3: John Miller, G, Louisville
Played both left and right guard, as Louisville flipped their line. Pulled an awful lot for the team but isn’t a real impact guard. Has the requisite size and is a good fit in the Bills power based scheme, though he lets guys get across him too often. Absolutely dominated weaker competition with fifth-highest run blocking grade, often against some of the weaker Power 5 teams.
Depth Chart Fit: He’s got a real chance of landing a starting spot with just Chris Williams, Richie Incognito and Cyril Richardson really in his way. All of those have big question marks over them.
Round 5: Karlos Williams, RB, FSU
Didn’t really stand out in the Florida offense, averaging a relatively paltry 4.6 yards per carry and finishing only 26th in our production grades for his running (out of draft-eligible backs). Some legal problems in his past, and a log jam at running back make this something of an odd pick.
Depth Chart Fit: Way down. He’ll probably have to wait until Fred Jackson is cut or retires before he even gets a sniff. Making the roster will be a personal victory for him given the talent the Bills have at the running back position.
Round 6: Tony Steward, LB, Clemson
Played in the shadow of a lot of talent at Clemson, but did grade positively, especially for his pass rushing where he was a very able blitzer. There he turned 45 pass rushes into 16 quarterback disruptions as he proved an able assistant to Stephone Anthony. Added six tackles on special teams.
Depth Chart Fit: There’s some competition to be had for playing time with really only Nigel Bradham looking locked into start at this stage. At the very least, Steward should contribute on special teams.
Round 6: Nick O’Leary, TE, FSU
We like this one. O’Leary offers some of the safest hands in the draft and while he’s not an explosive athlete, he’s smooth enough that he can contribute if called upon. Downside is he’s not all that much of a blocker, but with time to develop behind Charles Clay, the Bills could really get something back on a guy who had the third-highest receiving grade of all tight ends.
Depth Chart Fit: Charles Clay is the starter but there’s no reason why he won’t get on the field as a rookie in a team that won’t go 3-WR crazy. Only Chris Gragg really stands in his way from reaching triple digit snaps.
Round 7: Dezmin Lewis, WR, Central Arkansas
We only saw 113 snaps of Lewis in action because he played mainly against FCS opposition. But in those two games he definitely offered us glimpses. Put up 105 yards against Texas Tech, and earned a positive grade in the Senior Bowl. Lewis has the kind of size that is well worth a flyer.
Depth Chart Fit: Cracking the roster will be tough given the Bills have plenty of depth at wide receiver, with a couple of guys who are also key contributors on special teams. He may need to show up well there to be anything more than practice squad fodder.
Justin Hamilton, DI, Louisiana-Lafayette: Played in the shadow of Christian Ringo but was nearly as productive himself, with the fifth-highest pass rushing production grade of all interior defenders.
Andrew Hudson, ED, Washington: Others got more attention for the Huskies, but Hudson was plenty productive, especially against the run where he had the seventh-most defensive stops of all 4-3 defensive ends.
A.J. Tarpley, LB, Stanford: Graded positively in every facet of the game and had 10th-highest production grade of all linebackers. Not a tackling machine, but a guy who made a mark in coverage.
Merrill Noel, CB, Wake Forest: Wake Forest starter who earned a positive grade in coverage, recording three picks and two further pass breakups. QBs had a 41.8 NFL rating throwing into his coverage.
Cam Thomas, CB, Western Kentucky: Didn’t really stand out at Western Kentucky where his 10 missed tackles were too many. Had a nice Shrine Game, though, and was 16th in nation for stops against the run at CB spot.
B.J. Larsen, DI, Utah State: Started the season incredibly well before fading off as the year ended. Still our 21st overall grade for an interior defender.
Cedric Reed, DL, Texas: Had a big game against West Virginia but where was he rest of the year? Not very active rushing the passer but seventh highest run defense grade among edge defenders.
Tyson Chandler, OT, North Carolina State: By no means a standout, but outside of the Louisville and Syracuse games he held his own. Had the 39th overall production grade of all draft eligible tackles.
Spencer Roth, P, Baylor: Roth had the fourth-highest punting grade of all draft eligible punters from the FBS.
Clay Burton, TE, Florida: Florida tight end did not impress in any facet of the game, but at 6-foot-4, size will always buy you a look.
Andre Davis, WR, USF: Including the Shrine game, played 430 snaps, scoring seven touchdowns at South Florida. Had the 31st-highest yards per route run in nation with a 2.31 score.
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