There were two surprises in the draft for the Bills, they were the two non moves. The Bills stayed put and picked in the six slots that they had when the draft started, something we said would not happen in our draft preview. The other non move, was not trading disgruntled running back Travis Henry. For the second year in a row they selected five offensive players and only one defensive player. Their main needs were on both sides of the line. They never took any defensive linemen and took two offensive linemen on day two of the draft.
They had a different gameplan on draft day then many of us thought. Instead of dealing with the immediate needs they looked to get more playmaking weapons around their young quarterback. They also were looking for players with a solid competitive attitude. That was a theme of all the picks of the draft, that was also cited as a reason why the team would take two players from the University of Miami. They are known for having very healthy competition among all players, since they play in a big time program.
The team hit that prestigious program to tab their two players from day one of the draft. WR Roscoe Parrish is a speedster, every bit as fast as Lee Evans. He is expected to man the slot position and make some game breaking plays. He's also an accomplished punt returner who should man that spot immediately to take the valuable Nate Clements out of harms way. The only downside of Parrish is that he's very small weighing less than 170 lbs. He plays like he's bigger though, as he's very aggressive. He should challenge Josh Reed for the number three spot on the depth chart almost immediately. The problem is the team had many more needs with that pick than wide receiver, they decided to go for a playmaker who can help make J.P. Losman's job easier.
They looked to make it even easier in round three taking Parrish's Hurricane teammate, TE Kevin Everett. He comes as the latest in a long line of Miami tight ends. His problem is that he never hit the field much before last year so he will have a learning curve. That is something that may not be available considering the injuries that Mark Campbell and Tim Euhus are recovering from. If they do make it all the way back from their torn ACLs than tight end wasn't a need position and they should have gone elsewhere. Everett might not be ready to take over a huge role in the offense and he may have to if Euhus or Campbell struggle in their recoveries. In the long run this pick may work out as Everett has the size and receiving skills that Coach Mularkey covets, but for this year it may not have been the best move.
On day two of the draft, the Bills went more for need. The fourth round pick was center Raymond "Duke" Preston. He may be the heir apparent to the starting center role next year after grooming behind either Trey Teague or Ross Tucker. He feels he's ready to play now, and may not be that far away from playing in the pros. He's very smart which is a huge asset at center since he would make all the line calls.
5th round pick Eric King fills a need at cornerback for some depth and a possible future replacement if the team loses Clements in free agency. I think that the team will make re-signing Clements a huge priority or they would have drafted a corner earlier. The good thing about King is that he was a four year starter and seems to have the skills to play at the pro level, his drawback is also that he's not very tall.
The Bills went back to the offensive line in round 6 to take versatile guard Justin Geisinger. He has been on the Bills radar screen since high school due to a family connection with his high school coach and scout Joe Herring. He played tackle in college but is projected at guard. The Bills feel he'll be able to fill in at all three line positions. He will be a project who will be groomed for the future but he does add more depth on the line.
The Bills wrapped up the draft by taking RB Lionel Gates in the 7th round. He's got a chance to be a steal. He went this low because he never was a full time starter in college. He does have the tools to be a solid all purpose back. His pick means the Bills are probably still hopefully that they'll be able to trade Henry at some point before the season starts. If they do, Gates has a good chance to stick with the team.
The offensive line added some depth in this draft but not a possible starter this year at tackle which was needed. They also did not add a single defensive lineman which is a position that desperately needed depth, if not a starter, in the middle. The Bills now plan on moving Justin Bannan back to defensive line because of the numbers problem.
When we graded the draft we called it average because the needs that weren't met. The bottom line about a draft is its long term success. While that is impossible to predict, there is a good chance that many of these players will be very productive in the long term. Unfortunately, this club is supposed to be built to win now and it doesn't seem, besides Parrish, that they got that much help. For more on each pick, take a look at our draft capsules on our draft page.
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