Tonawanda News


May 8, 2014

MEILER: Options aplenty for Bills at 9

Tonawanda News — Commissioner Roger Goodell moved the 2014 NFL Draft back from its usual late-April start date in an effort to allow teams more time to scout players and negotiate trades, and possibly to make sure his league remained in the national spotlight for an extra two weeks.

If you believe everything you hear in the media, Buffalo Bills General Manager Doug Whaley has taken full advantage of the additional time. The Bills have been the hottest team in the rumor mill, reportedly interested in moving up as high as the No. 1 pick in an effort to snag one of this year’s top talents.

With the draft finally scheduled to kick off tonight (8 p.m., ESPN), here’s a rundown of what the Bills might do in what could be one of the most interesting first rounds in franchise history:

• MOVIN’ ON UP: Rumors have flown around about the Bills’ interest in trading up to grab one of the draft’s top four prospects (DE Jadeveon Clowney, WR Sammy Watkins, OT Greg Robinson or LB Khalil Mack). While this year’s class has been noted for its depth, the players in the top quartet have been almost unanimously tabbed as potential superstars.

Buffalo’s interest in Clowney seems like overkill given the presence of the talented (and expensive) trio of Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Mario Willams. The Bills are already in the conversation for having the best defensive line in football, and paying what it’d take to move up to the top spot to grab Clowney — likely No. 9, No. 41, and a 2015 first at minimum — may not be worth it.

Questions about work ethic aside, Clowney has been called a “generation talent.” Adding him to the defense would give the Bills a dominant front four that’d be the envy of the rest of the league. It could also push the defense from a very good unit (ranked No. 4 in 2013 efficiency by Football Outsiders) to one of the most dominant in the NFL. It’d also give the Bills flexibility in dealing with Mario Williams, who is owed a whole bunch of money over the next few years.

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