2013 NFL Draft: Grading The Buffalo Bills

By Seth Carson
May 02, 2013 8:20 am
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1)  QB EJ Manuel (Florida State)

Manuel has a prototypical body and he also has great speed clocking in 4.65 on his 40 yard dash.  Word has it the Bills are incorporating the spread option offense into their offensive playbooks.  Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson aren't likely to produce in the Bills new system, and I can't imagine either starting once the pre-season has concluded.  EJ Manuel is the franchise player the Bills saw prior to drafting him.

2)  WR Robert Woods (USC)

First the Bills drafted their future franchise quarterback, then they scooped up one of, if not the best receivers in the draft.  Woods has good speed (4.51 40) and has an excellent set of hands.  The Bills new offensive schemes needed a receiver that could flourish and remain consistent, they got both and then some with Woods.  EJ Manuel to Robert Woods will remind many of Jim Kelly to Andre Reed, which is an improvement from last season and a strength to build a contender.

2)  LB Kiko Alanso (Oregon)

The Bills also entered the draft needing to upgrade their defense at key positions.  Alanso is expected to step right in and start at MLB.  The Bills anticipate him becoming a defensive leader and making a difference from the opening defensive snap of the season.  Alanso makes solid tackles and is fast enough to be used in blitz packages, and also utilized in zone coverages.  He brings size and leadership to a defensive unit long in need of one.

3)  WR Marquise Goodwin (Texas)

Goodwin is fast and knows how to get under zone reads and get space when defended by man coverage.  Goodwin will be the Bills 3WR and can also cover the slot on situational downs.  The Bills re-signed Steve Johnson, so it will be fun to watch the two rookies battling for the 2WR spot.  Regardless, the Bills starting receivers with a good 3WR, will be a tough test for opposing defenses to contain.

4)  S Duke Williams (Nevada)

The Bills needed depth behind Byrd and Williams.  Duke Williams will be mainly used for special teams, but can hold his own if ever called upon due to an injury.  He played well at Nevada and in some circles it's believed he can be a starter.  While he is a good draft pick, minus an injury, Byrd and Williams' starting gigs are in no danger of being overthrown.

5)  DB Jonathan Meeks (Clemson)

Meeks was drafted for the same reasoning as Duke Williams, to add depth to an already scarce secondary.  He joins Williams as a back up to either Byrd or Williams, however he can also be called upon to play a nickel or dime corner.  He will sit along with Williams for a season or two and develop his game.  He's a good player to have on hand encase of an injury.

6)  K Dustin Hopkins (Florida State)

Ryan Lindell is getting up there in years and the Bills need to think about developing a young kicker to step in on that day Lindell is either injured, released, or retires.  Hopkins has a reliable foot, but his distance and accuracy from beyond 40 yards needs work, but he will have plenty of time to develop behind Lindell who isn't going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

7)  TE Chris Gragg (Arkansas)

The Bills already have a good amount of players at tight end.  Gragg will likely be released at some point prior to next season, as the position is already loaded and his game really isn't good enough to make the roster.  He's a developmental player at a position the Bills don't need to further develop.  He may catch on somewhere else, or the Bills may place him on the practice squad.

Summary:  B+

The Bills made some solid picks to improve the offense on game day.  The defense didn't improve with Duke Williams and Meeks, but Alanso gives the middle third a big upgrade.  If the Bills can end the QB competition and name Manuel the starter, the Bills will improve by 4 to 5 wins over last season's record.  Their offense might be the toughest to defend in the AFC East.

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By Seth Carson
Senior Writer
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