Buffalo Bills 2014 NFL Draft Review
By John McMullen, NFL Editor
1 (4) - Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson; 2 (44) - Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama; 3 (79) - Preston Brown, ILB, Louisville; 4 (109) Ross Cockrell, CB, Duke; 5 (153) - Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor; 7 (221) - Randell Johnson, OLB, Florida Atlantic; 7 (237) - Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami
Top Picks Analysis: Buffalo was very active in an attempt to help speed up the development of second-year quarterback EJ Manuel.
Bills GM Doug Whaley proved to be bold, trading up five spots to get one of the four real blue-chip players in the draft, Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins at No. 4 overall. The problem is they gave up a ton to do it, surrendering next year's first-round pick to Cleveland in order to jump up five spots.
"You have a young quarterback in EJ Manuel; a talented kid. Now they want to surround him with a weapon, and they went and the premier wide receiver in this draft," NFL Draft analyst Mike Mayock said.
Whaley also attempted to sure up things in front of Manuel by landing Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio in the second round before addressing defense in the third by landing Louisville inside linebacker Preston Brown, who should serve as the backup in the middle to the newly-signed Brandon Spikes.
Best Value Pick: Kouandjio is a comparable talent to D.J. Fluker, who went No. 11 overall in the 2013 draft. Concerns over the big man's knee sent him tumbling a bit so getting a talent like Kouandjio at a need position with the 44th pick is the definition of great value.
"Kouandjio slipped to the second round mostly because of a knee injury and the rumors surrounding it. He is a big, powerful tackle; think Phil Loadholt from Minnesota," Mayock said. "He's so long that not many can get by him in pass protection."
Questionable Calls: With or without Watkins most believe Buffalo won't be contending for a playoff spot in 2014 so giving up next year's first-round choice could prove to be very painful next year.
Summary: Whaley also traded veteran receiver Stevie Johnson to the San Francisco 49ers for an undisclosed 2015 draft choice and acquired Philadelphia running back Bryce Brown for a future conditional mid-round draft pick.
Moving Johnson was expected once Watkins was in the fold but acquiring Brown, a pure talent with fumbling issues, for a meaningful pick when you already have CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson on the depth chart was a head-scratcher.
Anytime you get a player like Watkins there is plenty of good in the draft but there were just too many questionable moves surrounding the acquisition to call it a home run.
FINAL GRADE: B-
Undrafted rookie free agent signings: DT Damien Jacobs, Florida; DB Deon Broomfield, Iowa State; CB Darius Robinson, Clemson; LB Darrin Kitchens, Florida; S Kenny Ladler, Vanderbilt; OL Jimmy Gaines, Miami; DB Derek Brim, Buffalo
05/13 10:30:53 ET