2014 NFL Draft: Buffalo Bills’ 5 Dark Horse First-Round Targets

2014 NFL Draft: Buffalo Bills' 5 Dark Horse First-Round Tagets

Doug Whaley
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The Buffalo Bills just may have one of the most underrated rosters in the league. A 6-10 record in 2013 certainly didn't help how they're perceived, but the Bills arguably possesses a wealth of talent on both sides of the ball. If they can identify a few upgrades during May's draft, they may actually make a legitimate run at a playoff berth in 2014. Here are five potential dark horse targets for the Bills in the first round.

5. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
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5. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 9 overall pick seems a bit high for a free safety, but the Bills lost Jairus Byrd in free agency and could seek his replacement early on. Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is widely regarded as the top safety of the class and would equip Buffalo with a rangy ball hawk in center field.

4. Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Marqise Lee
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

4. Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Marqise Lee
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Even after signing Mike Williams, the Bills will likely draft another weapon for quarterback EJ Manuel. One receiver Buffalo could target is Marqise Lee, who was teammates with current Bills receiver Robert Woods at USC. Lee isn't considered top-10 caliber by most, but there's so much talent at the position in this year's class that it's difficult to distinguish how the prospects rank after Sammy Watkins. Lee has No. 1 receiver potential.

3. Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

justin Gilbert
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3. Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

justin Gilbert
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Like receiver, cornerback isn't a position of need. But if GM Doug Whaley enters the first round looking to snag the best available player, Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert will be one option to consider. Besides, there's reason to believe Buffalo, while solid, is a bit overrated at the cornerback position. Leodis McKelvin was very good, but his sidekick, Stephon Gilmore, was only Pro Football Focus' 66th ranked corner in 2013.

2. Dee Ford, DE, Auburn

Dee Ford
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

2. Dee Ford, DE, Auburn

Dee Ford
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Bills' pass rush, led by Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes on the edge, is one of the league's most dangerous. Still, there isn't a great deal of depth at defensive end. In order to compose a more formidable three-man rotation, the Bills may target an edge rusher early in the draft. Considering Jadeveon Clowney will be long gone by pick No. 9 and Anthony Barr is arguably better suited for linebacker, Auburn's Dee Ford could become the pick.

1. Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame

Zack Martin
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

1. Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame

Zack Martin
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Bills, in need of offensive line help, have been frequently linked to the top two tackles of the class, Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews. But there is a strong chance both will be gone within the top eight picks and Taylor Lewan, who is considered the third best tackle, is a bit more polarizing than pre-draft rankings suggest. Notre Dame's Zack Martin isn't as big as the others, but he's just as reliable on film.


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