I’ve thought for the past five years the offensive line has been one of the strengths of the Bills and the left side with Cordy Glenn, Richie Incognito/Andy Levitre, and Eric Wood was the strength of that line. Now, it appears, those three are all gone. Vlad Ducasse was cut by the Jets and Jordan Mills was cut by the Bears before the Bills picked them up. They both did a decent job last year, but they were not the strength of the line the past few years. Dion Dawkins looked good filling in for Cordy Glenn last year and playing next to all pro Incognito certainly was an aid to Dawkins in his rookie year. We picked up two pretty good tackles out of last years draft with Dawkins and Conner McDermott who we added to the roster off the Patriots practice squad. I look for McDermott to be the R tackle this year if he can beat out Mills. Marshall Newhouse is a good pick up from the Raiders. With Dawkins, McDermott, Mills and Newhouse I think the Bills are set at offensive tackle. Our holes on the line are center and guard. However, here is my take on this years tackle class. A lot of college tackles get kicked inside in the NFL, so maybe we can find a good interior lineman out of one of these tackles.
There is no great talent at the top end of the draft for offensive tackles. No tackle is in the discussion for the top 10 picks, even though L Tackle is one of the most coveted positions for teams drafting. The tackle crop is one of the thinner positions this year. Nevertheless, there is still a number of good tackles in this years draft.
1)Connor Williams, Texas, 6’5″, 296, 5.05 40, 26 reps. Williams was sensational at Texas in 2016. He was injured and was not as dominant this past year, but as his injury healed towards the end of the 2017 season he looked pretty damn good again. He is a first round talent. His arms are a little short at 33″ for tackle and some have speculated that his best position in the pros would be guard, but I think he can play tackle in the NFL. He would, however, be a helluva’ guard. If he is there at #22 and we really want to upgrade the O-line he would be a great pick.
2)Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame, 6’8″, 312 lbs., 24 reps. A huge bullish tackle. Very smart. Played R & L Tackle at Notre Dame. He is a little stiff and doesn’t bend as well as some of the other tackles. Has 34″ arms. Will probably play R tackle in the league, as I think he is more suited to the R side, but could play on the L. He also will go in the first round.
3)Kolton Miller, UCLA, 6’81/2″, 310 lbs., 4.95 40, 24 reps, 7.34 3 cone, 4.49 short shuttle. A tall but surprisingly fast tackle. A teammate of the Bills Conner McDermott at UCLA in 2016. Has 34″ arms. For as big a man as he is, he is remarkably agile. Defenders don’t often get leverage on him despite his height; he can bend. He also is plenty strong enough and will get much stronger. He probably goes in the first round also, and will have a long career at tackle in the NFL.
4)Chukwuma Okorafor, W. Mich., 6’6″, 330 lbs. 5.31 40. 19 reps. I liked his teammate Moton who came out last year better. Moton was the R tackle and Okorafor was the L tackle that year for Western Michigan. Okorafor is pretty good though. He is long with 341/2″ arms and surprisingly quick for a man his size. He needs to get stronger, though, to play in the league. Like Moton last year, he will probably go in the 2nd round.
4a)Orlando Brown, Oklahoma. 6″8″, 340lbs. 5.77 40, 14 reps. Lousy 40 time and only 14 reps but he has long arms (35″) and way harder for the long arms to lift than the short arm guys. The proof is watching the games and Brown consistently kept Baker Mayfield’s blind side clean. He is massive with long arms. He can collapse the entire R side of the defensive line at times. He can move people. I have seen him 40 yards downfield blocking. With his massive size and long arms it is hard for defensive ends to get around him to the QB. He has good hands and long arms to direct rushers away from the QB. May have a big upside if he buys in to a team’s program and gets in better shape and stronger. I have a feeling he has been getting along with his natural ability but may now realizes he has to work harder to succeed in the NFL. He is a boom or bust type prospect. His father played in the league.
5)Tyrell Crosby, Oregon, 6’41/2″, 310 lbs. 5.23 40. 17 reps. Gave up no sacks last year playing L Tackle at Oregon. Tall with long arms (351/4″) and legs. Also, needs to get stronger to play in the NFL. Moves well. Looks like he could kick inside as well. Probably a late 2nd round or 3rd round prospect.
6)Brian O’Neill, Pitt, 6’7″, 297 lbs. 4.80 40, 22 reps, 7.14 3 cone, and 4.5 short shuttle. He is a converted tight end and can still run like a tight end even at 297 pounds. Looks thin though and can get pushed around by D-lineman and does give up leverage at times. Can he move, though. If he bulks up in an NFL strength program, with his movement skills he could be really good. He could kick in and play guard. He probably goes on day #2.
7)Joe Noteboom, TCU, 6’5″, 309 lbs., 343/8″ arms, 4.96 40, 27 reps, 7.65 3 cone. He probably goes on day 3 of the draft, but he is a really good prospect. My notes on him are “long, good traits, good hand technique, powerful and mobile” after watching his games. He is someone I would love to see the Bills get on day 3. He could play tackle and he would be great at guard IMO>
8)Desmond Harrison, West Georgia, 6’6″, 300 lbs., 4.90 40. Transferred to W. Ga. after being suspended at Texas. He will have to pass the Beane/McDermott character litmus test, but this guy can play. He was absolutely dominant at W. Ga., and I thought his play against upper level talent at the Senior Bowl was really good. Despite coming from a small school, the step-up in competition level I don’t think will be a problem for him. He is powerful and has great speed and quickness. He could be a diamond in the rough on day 3.
9)Will Richardson, NC St., 6’6″, 306 lbs., 5.26 40. 351/4″ arms. He is big and strong and fast enough. He is a R tackle. He is someone to consider if you want to upgrade R Tackle, which I want to do on the Bills.
10)Greg Senat, Wagner, 6’6″, 290 lbs., 5.38 40, 19 reps. Long arms-35″ and big hands. Quick feet. A four year basketball player at Wagner and looks athletic like a b-ball player on the football field. Can bend. I was impressed with his quick feet. I think he has a big upside. He only played two years of football at Wagner and is still learning. Someone to think about with the 5th or 6th round pick. May need a year or two, but could be really good down the line.
11)Brandon Parker, NC A&T, 6’8″, 315 lbs. 5.4 40. Great size and length. Has 35″ arms. I saw him get to the 2nd level on multiple occasions. He is a little slower but powerful and as mentioned moves well enough to block downfield when called on to do that. Another small school prospect to consider in the later rounds.
12)Alex Cappa, Humboldt St., 6’51/2″, 305lbs, 5.39 40, 24 reps. Another small school player who looks like he can handle NFL competition with some grooming. He plays with a mean streak and plays thru the whistle on every play. Has long, flowing blond hair like Fabio; easy to track him on the field with the hair. Appears very strong. A little slower and a little stiff. Could be a really good guard. 5th rounder for the Bills?
13)Geron Christian, L’ville, 6’5″, 298 lbs., 35″ arms, 5.31 40, 19 reps. Watching Louisville the past two years it is hard to take your eyes off Lamar Jackson, but I watched Christian extensively. I watched several Louisville games as I love watching Jackson play; he is electric. Christian is big and plenty strong. He moves well. He did a good job protecting Jackson’s blind side. The rest of the Louisville line was not so good and there was a lot of scrambling, but I thought Christian was very consistent keeping players off Jackson’s blind side. Christian could kick inside as well. I would love to see the Bills get him in round 5 or 6.
14)Jamarco Jones, Ohio St., 6’4″, 299 lbs, 35″ arms, 5.5 40. He doesn’t test that well and may be a little slow, but he played well at Ohio St. against top competition. Another player who could kick inside. A late round possibility.
Michael Dieter, Isaiah Wynn, Austin Corbett will be under guard or center tomorrow.
Bills Draft Strategy: We really don’t need a tackle but we could sure use a guard. Several of the above tackles would make great guards as well as play tackle. Connor Williams is good enough to use the 22nd pick on. I would like to see the Bills get someone like Joe Noteboom, Will Richardson, Greg Senat, Brandon Parker, Alex Cappa or Geron Christian with that 5th round pick.
The Bills need to retool the O-line and above are some options. We really need help replacing Incognito and Woods. The good news is this is a deep draft for interior offensive lineman. There is both top end talent and a deep pool of talent as well. Tomorrow I will blog about Centers and Guards.