Football Memo

AFC East Draft Grades: Buffalo Bills

BuffaloBillsOldPHelmet
Wide receiver Sammy Watkins

Wide receiver Sammy Watkins

Buffalo Bills
Analysis:
The Bills took a gamble by giving up a No. 1 pick next year, but coming away with this draft’s premier offensive weapon seems worth the risk. Buffalo traded up from No. 9 to No. 4 to grab Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins, in hopes he can become the true No. 1 receiver that they’ve lacked since the retirement of Andre Reed. Watkins provides the Bills with a player that defenses will have to plan for. Watkins’ ability to run after the catch is rare, and he should draw enough attention to open up things for the rest of the offense. Now, with Watkins and running back, C.J. Spiller, the Bills have two of the more dynamic offensive players in the AFC East. With the remainder of the draft, the Bills turned its focus to upgrading the offensive line. Buffalo added tackles Cyrus Kouandjio (2nd round) and Seantrel Henderson (7th round). They also nabbed guard Cyril Richardson in the 5th round. All three have similar qualities. They are very big men with tremendous potential. Kouandjio had an off season in 2013, but has the talent to play either left or right tackle. He is very long, but doesn’t possess the best feet, and sometimes loses technique. Henderson was one of the more decorated players coming out of high school, but maturity issues and inconsistent play make him a high-risk, high-reward player. In my opinion, Richardson was a steal for the Bills. He’s an accomplished run blocker, and gives Buffalo a huge offensive front. The Bills didn’t totally disregard the defense, as they added cornerback Ross Cockrell in the 4th round, and linebackers Preston Brown (3rd round) and Randell Johnson (7th). Cockrell is an intelligent overachiever, and should work his way onto the roster. Brown is more of a run-stuffing inside backer, who shares similar qualities of newly-acquired Brandon Spikes. Johnson is another physical player and projects as an outside linebacker. I think anyone will be shocked if Watkins doesn’t turn into a top performer. However, what will decide how this draft went for the Bills is whether those mammoth offensive linemen reach their true potential?
Grade: B

Buffalo Bills – 2014 Draft Selections
1 (4) Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
2 (44) Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
3 (73) Preston Brown, LB, Louisville
4 (109) Ross Cockrell, DB, Duke
5 (153) Cyril Richardson, G, Baylor
7 (221) Randell Johnson, LB, FAU
7 (237) Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami

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