With both the Senior Bowl and Combine in the books, we’ve reached a perfect time for an updated mock draft. As usual, we’ll go pick by pick to make sure we discuss each pick thoroughly enough, and as usual, we’re assuming I’m the GM, so I’m not making picks based off who I actually think will go where, but rather who I’d take with the slot. And no, no trade scenarios because they’re infinite.
Here’s a quick rundown of our draft so far: no. 1 Houston Texans (Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina), no. 2 St. Louis Rams (Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M), no. 3 Jacksonville Jaguars (Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville), no. 4 Cleveland Browns (Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M), no. 5 Oakland Raiders (Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn), no. 6 Atlanta Falcons (Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan), no. 7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson) and no. 8 Minnesota Vikings (Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State). With the 9th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, who do the Buffalo Bills select?
Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, University at Buffalo. There’s almost no way Mack falls this far in the real draft, but if he does, we’re absolutely taking him. Is this filling a need? No, it’s not a pressing need, Manny Lawson and Nigel Bradham were OK, and they’re playing practically for nothing (in NFL numbers) but Mack would be a major upgrade.
Mack is legitimately in contention for the best player in the draft, so to have him fall to us at ninth is the best thing that’s happened to this franchise in a long, long time. He’s 6-foot 3, 251-pounds, runs a 4.65 40 (and plays faster than that on film), can play DE or OLB in our 4-3 looks, and also has the versatility to play OLB in our 3-4 fronts. Versatility is the name of the game for Mack, and he can both rush the passer at a high level as well as turn and cover. He’s got the strength to take on TE’s and the speed to match up well with backs on the flat.
Imagine pairing Mack next to MLB Kiko Alonso, our second round pick from last year who absolutely exploded in his rookie year, putting up 159 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 INTs, 2 FRs, 1 FF and 5 PDs. The fact that he was snubbed for Defensive Rookie of the Year is appalling, but that’s unimportant now. He’s clearly a building block on defense, and Mack could have a similar impact.
Since Mack likely won’t be available at this spot, who else did I strongly consider? Mike Evans (WR, Texas A&M), Eric Ebron (TE, North Carolina), Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix (S, Alabama) and Zack Martin (OT, Notre Dame).
Evans has to be considered here just for the value, and he’d give our young QB E.J. Manuel another playmaker to get the rock to. Ebron would fill a major void and also provide another weapon for Manuel. Clinton-Dix could replace outgoing Jairus Byrd (who I have very little faith in being able to re-sign), but this might be a little high for him. Martin is versatile and could play either OG or OT at a very high level for us, both areas of need.
Still, if Mack is somehow available, we’re scooping him up without a second guess.