By Nick Richardson @NickSonofDave on May 11, 2014
Attempting to give a grade to an NFL draft pick mere hours after they were selected is the ultimate exercise in futility. It will take at least two or three years to find out how good each of these players are, and in some cases even longer. But it’s fun to guess, isn’t it? Here are the knee-jerk reactions to the Buffalo Bills’ picks from the 2014 Draft.
This pick is all about potential. Henderson was once one of the most sought-after high school recruits in the country. Character issues have severely hurt Henderson’s draft stock, but anyone this big with a speck of athleticism is going to have a shot in the NFL. As a seventh-round pick, there’s almost no risk with this pick. Worst-case, Henderson is cut in training camp. Best-case, he's an absolute steal and a future starter.
This pick came as a bit of a surprise given that the Bills had already selected a linebacker earlier in the draft. But in all fairness, it’s hard to give a poor grade to a seventh-round pick, and the later rounds are all about building up depth and hoping to find a diamond in the rough. Johnson will likely fight for a spot on the special teams unit this season.
Aside from Watkins, this is probably my favorite pick of this class (and no, it’s not because of the name). Richardson is a tremendous value pick in the fifth round. A converted offensive tackle who once protected Robert Griffin III’s blind side, Richardson is, like Kouandjio, an absolute bear of a man. It’s obvious that coach Doug Marrone wants to build a wall to protect his franchise QB, and Richardson could be a starter on that wall for years.
While safety was a position of concern for the Bills with the departure of Jairus Byrd, they needed more depth at cornerback. In today’s NFL, you can never have too many quality defensive backs. Cockrell represents a good value here and walks into a good situation in Buffalo. With Stephon Gilmore, Leodis McKelvin and Nickell Robey ahead of him on the depth chart, Cockrell will not be asked to do too much right away.
The Bills certainly filled a need with this selection, as they needed depth at linebacker to assist Kiko Alonso and Brandon Spikes. The issue here is value. You could argue that several other linebackers graded higher than Brown at No. 73 overall; you could also argue that the Bills could have waited on selecting Brown for another round. Hopefully the Bills will give Brown time to grow, because right now he isn’t starter material.
Many experts had Kouandjio listed as a first-round talent. At 6-foot-7, 332, Kouandjio is an absolutely gigantic offensive lineman with a surprising amount of athletic ability. As a left tackle in college, Kouandjio had to go up against some pretty good pass rushers in the SEC. With Cordy Glenn entrenched at that spot for Buffalo, Kouandjio will likely compete for the right tackle spot. However, Kouandjio does come with major injury concerns.
The only reason this pick isn’t an ‘A’ is because of the hefty price the Bills had to pay to get it. But even considering that they had to give up a first-round pick, the Bills got arguably the best offensive player in the draft in Watkins. With Stevie Johnson out the door, Watkins immediately becomes the Bills’ best receiver. Bills management has made it clear that it’s win-or-go-home time for QB EJ Manuel and the rest of the team.
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