2012 NFL Draft Props Odds: Buffalo Bills 2012 NFL Draft Preview
Thursday, April 26, 2012
by Wagerweb Sportsbook
A surprising 5-2 start last season unraveled because of lack of experienced depth to step in after rash of injuries saw 17 players – seven starters – end year on IR. That doesn’t include rib injury that hampered QB Ryan Fitzpatrick over second half of season. The offense did show life in piling up 5,624 yards, Buffalo’s most since 1993. Young and patchwork defense was porous, allowing franchise-worst 5,938 yards and 434 points, second most in team history.
The Buffalo Bills ls have gone 12 seasons without making the playoffs. It’s the NFL’s longest active drought, and a stretch in which Buffalo’s enjoyed just one winning season, a 9-7 finish in 2004.
With the signings of defensive ends Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, two of the top pass rushers of this year’s free-agent class, the Bills turned last season’s most troubling weakness into a possible strength. Questions still remain on the offensive line, however, after the team allowed starting left tackle Demetress Bell to depart in the offseason. Though 2011 fourth-round pick Chris Hairston has upside, the jury’s still out as to whether he’s quick and skilled enough to handle the left side, making it likely that general manager Buddy Nix will use one of Buffalo’s first two selections to bring in some competition.
An outside wide receiver with size and deep speed that can prevent opponents from focusing on top target Stevie Johnson also ranks high on the Bills’ to-do list, as is injecting some more youth and ability to a secondary that contains four key members over the age of 30 and adding further depth at linebacker.
Though there are several holes still to fill, the smart money is on the Bills leaning toward selecting a left tackle or defensive back — both distinct needs that would help solidify an emerging core on either side of the ball.
First round: 10th overall
Total picks: 10
Round-overall: 1-10, 2-41, 3-71, 4-105, 4-124, 5-144, 5-147, 6-178, 7-217, 7-251
1. Left tackle. Bell was allowed to leave as a free agent, leaving second-year man Chris Hairston as the penciled-in starter—and only—left tackle on the roster. The Bills have said all the right things about Hairston’s ability, but depth alone suggests the team will need a tackle early this year.
2. Wide receiver. The flanker position opposite Johnson was filled with a rotating cast of characters last season — Donald Jones, C.J. Spiller, Brad Smith and Derek Hagan all saw time there. Their combined output — 47 catches for 459 yards and two touchdowns — was the lowest yards per catch (9.7) in the league. Buffalo needs a vertical threat to take heat off Johnson, the No. 1 receiver.
3. Outside linebacker. The Bills are shifting to a 4-3 scheme under new defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt. Veteran Kirk Morrison was re-signed and is first in line to start on the strong side, but the team needs to draft a young player to groom to eventually take over the position.
If Buffalo can better protect Fitzpatrick and provide him with a top target beyond Johnson, the Bills may finally have a shot at competing for their first playoff berth since 1999 and ending the longest drought in their history.
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