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New Look Bills To Run Draft Differently
Look for new regime to trade down for more picks.
by Steve Saslow
Wednesday April 18, 2001

The new Bills brass continues to finalize their draft board for this weekend's selections in New York City. We may see a different draft than we are used to from the old John Butler/Bill Polian days. The club has 10 picks right now, thanks to receiving four compensatory picks. Tom Donahoe has expressed a desire to acquire more picks. He said the possibility exists that the club will trade down to add picks, they may also trade a player like Antowain Smith to add picks. One thing is for certain; the club will not trade up on draft day. Options for trading down includes Tampa Bay at #21 and Minnesota at #27.

If the Bills stick with the 14th pick in the draft they should have their pick of high quality players. The biggest need areas include both lines and defensive back. We feel the number one need is a starting defensive tackle, luckily for the Bills this draft is very deep at that position. One player many mock draft's, including ours think the Bills will pick if they stay put at 14 is Marcus Stroud from Georgia. He is a big run stuffing lineman who will help fill Ted Washington's shoes. The club may also decide to go with an offensive lineman like G Steve Hutchinson from Michigan. If the club does decide to trade down they may opt for the best Center in the draft late in the first round, where Dominic Raiola from Nebraska should still be on the board. Center is the other position the Bills need a starter at, since Jerry Ostroski appears headed back to Guard.

Gregg Williams continues to talk about the need for a tall cornerback and that also remains a possibility with the first pick. Nate Clements from Ohio State may be a good fit. Other possibilities include Fred Smoot from Mississippi State who's stock is dropping because of a brush with the law this week. Jamar Fletcher of Wisconsin and Will Allen of Syracuse may also be thought about. The only other possibility is a fast pass rushing defensive end like Andre Carter of California. We feel that the club needs to get an immediate starter in the first round and that seems to lead towards getting one of the top defensive tackle's like Stroud.

Donahoe has stressed in meetings with reporters that he will treat each round equally which means there are many more selections to think about after the first round. If the Bills do nab a defensive tackle in round one, they will most likely go for an offensive lineman or a cornerback in round two. The club has three third round picks and may go for a quarterback here, if Mike McMahon of Rutgers is still on the board they may grab him with one of these picks. He's a cocky player from a poor college program but he has all the tools and played in a West Coast Offense. The other third rounder will most likely go for one of the need positions since the club needs to draft at least two players on both lines and a couple of defensive backs to help fill the holes of the 46 and 4-3 defenses.

On day two of the draft the Bills will have their final five picks and maybe more if trades are made. This is when the club will go for best available player but they will still keep an eye on plugging some of the gaping holes on the depth chart. One thing is for sure, more than in the past, the new regime will rely on all the rookies to have an immediate impact in the regular formations as well as on defense. Donahoe has guaranteed "an outstanding draft." His track record precedes him, and he is every bit the talent evaluator that his predecessor was. Williams and his young staff are suppose to be great teachers, they will get their chances since there will be more rookies on the roster than there ever has been before.

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