By Kyle Johansen @kylejohansen on March 14, 2014
So far through free agency the Bills have addressed three of their needs, signing Chris Williams to play left guard, Keith Rivers to play linebacker and re-signed tight end Scott Chandler. In the first round the Bills have a high enough pick that it would be too early to take a safety to replace Jairus Byrd. They will look to build around QB E.J. Manuel, hoping for an elite wide receiver to fall to them at pick No. 9 in the first round.
Sammy Watkins represents the best case scenario for the Bills at pick No. 9, as he will provide E.J. Manuel with a true No. 1 wide receiver to throw to. Watkins is an explosive receiver who dominated in college and has been called the best wide receiver prospect since A.J. Green. At 6-foot-1, 200-pounds Watkins ran a 4.40 second 40-yard dash at the combine and produced 101 receptions for 1,464 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2013 for Clemson.
Mike Evans would be a consolation prize to the Sammy Watkins sweepstakes, but he provides better size than Watkins at 6-foot-4, 231-pounds and similarly dominated his college competition. Evans totaled 69 receptions for 1,394 yards and 12 touchdowns but had gigantic games against the best competition in the SEC. He caught seven balls for 279 yards against Alabama and 11 passes for 287 yards against Auburn in 2013.
Offensive tackle is not a huge need for the Bills, but if Sammy Watkins is off the board, Matthews may provide the most value to the team as a protector of their franchise quarterback E.J. Manuel. Matthews is the clear No. 2 offensive tackle in the draft and is the son of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews. At 6-foot-5, 305-pounds Matthews is a polished prospect who is equally good at run and pass blocking.
Ebron is the No. 1 tight end in this year’s class, and if Sammy Watkins is off the board or if the Bills prefer Ebron to Mike Evans then this may be the pick at No. 9 in the first round. Ebron has speed and athleticism at 6-foot-4, 250-pounds and would provide E.J. Manuel with another large target to throw to. While the Bills did re-sign Scott Chandler, Ebron would add a new dimension to the offense.
If Jake Matthews is off the board and the Bills are dead set on taking an offensive tackle to protect E.J. Manuel, Lewan could be worthy of the No. 9 overall pick. At 6-foot-8, 302-pounds Lewan still has room to grow into his massive frame. He played well against Big Ten competition and plays with a mean streak, a trait teams love to see in offensive linemen.
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