The Wagons Have Been Circled

Can we start with the fact that this is the most media attention the Buffalo Bills have ever received during an offseason? Andre Reed is headed to the Hall of Fame. The NFL and its followers showed tremendous support for Jim Kelly and his cancer treatments as well as grieving the loss of Ralph Wilson. Brandon Spikes made the leap from division rival New England and is now a supporter of the Bills Mafia. The Ralph is receiving $130 million worth of renovations and most importantly, NO HOME GAMES IN TORONTO. The Buffalo Bills are finally on the brink of returning to relevancy and a playoff push would certainly solidify that.

The most recent headline surrounding Buffalo’s camp has been their initiative to move up to the first overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. Draft day is fast approaching and the Buffalo Bills have kept any speculation on who their selection will be close to the vest. A lot can happen in the first eight picks before they are eventually placed on the clock at nine. But having no glaring needs to fill, the Bills can go in any direction to improve the team.

The loss of Jairus Byrd to the New Orleans Saints will hurt the Bills’ secondary but Doug Marrone and his coaching staff are confident the combination of Aaron Williams, Da’Norris Searcy and Duke Williams will be able to fill that void. EJ Manuel showed flashes of starting capability but his sample size was too small to determine if he will remain the quarterback of the future. Jim Schwartz replaced Mike Pettine as defensive coordinator, leaving Buffalo’s defense to learn a new playbook for the second straight season.

The Bills have already addressed several needs on the defensive side of the ball by signing linebackers Brandon Spikes and Keith Rivers along with cornerback and Turner Carroll alum Corey Graham. The acquisition of Chris Williams aids the offensive line while trading for another hometown native in Mike Williams gives EJ another weapon at his disposal. Even adding running back Anthony Dixon gives them more depth at an already stacked position. Buffalo’s offseason additions allow them to draft the best player available when they see their name on the clock.

The burning question is who will be available to the Bills at nine? Will Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans fall because of the need for quarterbacks in the top 10? Which lineman is going to be available when the Bills are on the clock? Will the Bills even draft at nine or do they have their mind set on a guy at the top of the draft?

The Bills continue to make headlines with rumors of being in contention for the number one overall pick. But who would they take? Clowney and Mack are absolute monsters and would be scary matched with Mario on the outside with Kyle Williams and Marcel Dareus in the middle. Or are they more intrigued in a stud receiver like Sammy Watkins? I don’t necessarily think they would need to move up to number one to grab him so that scenario is a little more unlikely. And even with EJ’s uncertainty, I can’t see them taking another quarterback in the first round of the 2014 draft. That being said…

"With the 9th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select"

ERIC EBRON, TIGHT END, NORTH CAROLINA.

Ebrons athleticism alone would add a dynamic to the tight end position that the Bills have never had. Drawing comparisons to Vernon Davis, Ebron can cause damage from anywhere on the field. Although his blocking is a concern, adding a versatile threat at tight end would give the Bills offense endless opportunities. Drafting him would fill two positions on offense since he has the ability to line up as a tight end or a receiver on the outside, much like the New Orleans Saints do with Jimmy Graham.

With Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and Mike Williams, Buffalo already has a solid receiving corps who can only improve if EJ stays healthy. Although Scott Chandler had one of his best statistical seasons in 2013, adding Ebron would allow the Bills to run a lot of two tight end sets. CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson are one of the top backfields in the NFL so opposing defenses wouldn’t be able to account for everybody.

The major concern on offense are the guys in the trenches. Cordy Glenn played solid at left tackle, but the Bills may decide to play it safe and go with a stud lineman with their first round pick (if any are left). Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews are the two guys pretty much guaranteed to go in the top 10, with the latter being the more likely option to be Buffalo’s first selection. Taylor Lewan has also been climbing draft boards lately and he is now the hot name to be selected inside the top 10.

Defensive players like CJ Mosley and Anthony Barr are also candidates worthy of being taken at nine, but having Spikes in the middle along with Kiko Alonso and Keith Rivers on the outside, the Bills already have a solid front seven. Leodis McKelvin has made huge strides as a shutdown corner, while Corey Graham, Stephon Gilmore and Nickell Roby are also solid options in coverage to fill out the defense.

Everything about the Bills looks good on paper but they will need to continue to make headlines for all the right reasons. Come draft day, Buffalo will make another splash and take a tight end in the first round for the first time since they took Tony Hunter as their 12th selection in 1983, two picks before Jim Kelly. Ebron will have plenty of expectations to live up to but he will also have the opportunity to turn Buffalo’s offense from underachieving to dare I say it, PLAYOFFS?!?!