by Mario "Game" Granata
As the days wind down, and the weather is breaking in Western New York, the consensus around the 716 is that the Buffalo Bills, with all the talks around moving up in the draft to nab Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans (and even the pipe dream of drafting Jadeveon Clowney) it seems that the sexy pick and the more sensible one are at odds. Why would the Bills be better off not taking Watkins or Evans?
Sports cars and junk food are both very fun to have and enjoy. They even effect every middle aged man at some point, either for better or for worse, but with all the talk around Buffalo, New York, about who the Bills should select in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft on May 8th, it seems that while the sexy pick is nice, it will do them more in the long run to have an effective pick.
Protect the Baby: Obviously, EJ Manuel is not a baby, but when the 2014 season starts, this 'Franchise' quarterback will be starting only his 11th game in the NFL, after suffering 4 knee injuries and 3 knee procedures in his rookie campaign. What does that mean? He has to be protected better, if he is indeed the future of the Buffalo Bills. While 4 of the the Bills starting lineman (Cordy Glenn, Eric Wood, Kraig Urbik and Eric Pears) started all 16 games last season, and with the addition of Chris Williams (who also started all 16 games for St. Louis in 2013) the line seems set to continue to mesh and gel as a unit. However, during the process, Manuel took some hits (as all quarterbacks do with the exception of Peyton Manning) Manuel will need even more time this season as he tries to develop the chemistry with his receivers. But, the number one priority is that he has to be upright to do so.
Dirty Dozen: The Buffalo Bills have a total of 12 receivers on the team, and 8 of those receivers are either 6'2" or taller. Having a tall, red zone threat is nice to have, but if you are never make it to the red zone, it is like having a elevator in an outhouse...useless. Doug Whaley has done a good job of bringing in players to fill the role of the 'Big' receiving threat, and it will be up to the off-season workouts, and the timing developed in camp for them to mesh. Why did he get all of those receivers if they are going to draft another one? Give Manuel a full off-season of working on the chemistry and the 9th overall pick can be used to fill other needs.
Numbers Game: While its engaging that the Bills would even entertain and be in talks about moving up, they are still technically in a rebuild, and with their 6th round pick going to Tampa Bay as part of the Mike Williams trade, they only have 6 currently to work with. This is a deep draft, and they can't afford to trade away picks this season, or in 2015 when they are still in a rebuild. If they made the playoffs last year, and were a contender, there can be a case made for such a move, but the Bills need bodies, and they need to take a look at a lot of them, at an affordable price to fill some gaps in their roster.
Watkins, Evans and Clowney are very sexy indeed if they were to don the Red, White and Blue for the Buffalo Bills, and patrol the sidelines of Ralph Wilson Stadium, but the smart money is on them coming to One Bills Drive as a member of another team. With 3 teams on the Bills schedule, who are drafting ahead of them (Houston, Cleveland and Oakland) its a good chance we will see these three, but to make this team what it can be, throw away the junk food, get a vehicle that you can rely on (especially in the Buffalo Winters) and build a winner.