For those who aren’t familiar with MockOne.net, it’s a website that brings together fans from all 32 NFL teams to participate in a live, interactive, full seven-round mock draft. I had the opportunity to be an assistant General Manager along with Ryan Talbot of QueenCitySports.net (@BonasBillsFan), Chris Brown of ProFootballCentral.com (@cbreezy2411), and our own #BillsMafia OG Del Reid (@mrdeadlier).
It was a fascinating experience, due to our varying opinions on certain players, which I will allude to in this piece, and it gave us an inside look of what it may be like to take part in a “war room” setting in the NFL Draft.
Going into the draft, we agreed that quarterback was the Bills’ biggest need, along with wide receiver, linebacker and some help in the secondary.
Round One, Pick No. 8 Overall: Alabama CB Dee Milliner
Our staff had all agreed on West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith as our No. 1 selection, as the Mountaineer signal-caller was the consensus top passer on each of our boards, and presented great value at the No. 8 pick. However, the Cleveland Browns selected him with their No. 6 overall pick, de-railing our plans.
With the premier pass rushers in Oregon’s Dion Jordan and LSU’s Barkevious Mingo already off the board, we began to discuss Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner.
Ryan Talbot was Jones’ biggest supporter in the war room, but ultimately, his medical concerns turned us off. Cordarrelle Patterson was discussed for quite some time, but we concluded that the depth at wide receiver was too deep to address the position in the first round.
We came to an agreement that Dee Milliner was the best available player and he would fit a glaring hole in the secondary opposite Stephon Gilmore. In Mike Pettine’s defense, cornerbacks are expected to lock down opposing wide receivers consistently in man-to-man coverage, and we all were in agreement that Milliner was the man to do this.
Round Two, Pick No. 41 Overall: Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o
Mike Pettine utilizes a 3-4 defensive front and aside from Kelvin Sheppard, who has proven to be an average linebacker in the middle of the defense, there wasn’t really any depth on the roster. Prior to going on the clock, our staff was discussing LSU linebacker Kevin Minter, USC wide receiver Robert Woods and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o.
As luck would have it, Woods and Minter came off the board back-to-back, to the Cincinnati Bengals and the Arizona Cardinals, respectively. This left us with Manti Te’o as our best available player at a strong position of need.
Despite Te’os “fake girlfriend hoax,” there’s no doubting that he’s an excellent fit as a 3-4 inside linebacker that will start for several years.
Round Three, Pick No. 66 Overall (via trade with Oakland Raiders): Baylor WR Terrance Williams
After we selected Manti Te’o, things got interesting. The Bills’ war room had keyed in on Tennessee Tech wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers and began to pursue multiple trades to move back into the second round.
After several negotiations with the Bengals, Colts, and a ridiculous offer from the New England Patriots, we came to an agreement with the San Francisco 49ers that would send our 4th, 6th and a 2014 2nd round pick to the 49ers for their No. 50 overall pick.
However, due to rules regarding trading within a specific time period, the deal fell through and no other suitors were available. Sure enough, the Patriots selected Rogers with the 29th pick in the second round.
We immediately decided we needed to acquire another third round pick, in order to ensure that we found our franchise quarterback and a weapon for him to throw to.
We began negotiating with the Oakland Raiders for several hours, before finally coming to an agreement that would send our 4th round pick (No. 102 overall) and our 2014 2nd round pick to acquire the Raiders’ third round pick (No. 66 overall).
We had agreed that out of our second tier of quarterbacks (Matt Barkley, Ryan Nassib, E.J. Manuel, Tyler Wilson), we’d have a shot at snagging at least one of them while we were on the clock with pick No. 71, and decided to select Baylor wide receiver, Terrance Williams. Williams perfectly fit the mold of the “Big, outside receiver that’s open when he’s covered” that Buddy Nix had been describing, and we felt he was an absolute steal in the third round.
Round Three, Pick No. 71 Overall: Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib
Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley was our first target in the third round, but the Arizona Cardinals chose him two picks prior. We felt equally comfortable taking Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib, as he will be more familiar with the offensive system the Bills want to run than any other signal caller in the 2013 NFL Draft. While Nassib doesn’t scream “Franchise Quarterback,” he’s a productive and smart passer that should be able to earn the starting job in training camp.
Round Five, Pick No. 136 Overall: Texas A&M WR Ryan Swope
In rounds five and six we looked to find the best available player over filling needs. There was a bit of a discussion regarding a tight end and a guard, but ultimately, we felt that Ryan Swope was a steal in the fifth round. Swope fills a need, and has prototypical measurements for the slot receiver position.
Round Six, Pick No. 167 Overall: Ohio State DE John Simon
With our last pick in #MockThree we filled a need with the best available player on our board. John Simon is a relentless pass rusher that most likely won’t make it to Day 3 of the draft. Simon was a leader for the Buckeyes’ defense and projects well to the outside linebacker position in some 3-4 looks.