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2014 NFL Draft

Buffalo Bills 2014 NFL Draft Needs and Targets

If the Bills want to end their streak of losing seasons, they’ll need to add more weapons on offense early in the draft.

CJ Spiller
CJ Spiller

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Another 6-10 season for the Buffalo Bills in 2013-14, the third consecutive year the team has finished with that record. While it feels as if the team regularly finishes with a subpar record, a glance over the roster and it’s puzzling why this team cannot succeed.

The team has first-rounders under center and in the backfield in E.J. Manuel and C.J. Spiller, with a proven commodity in Stevie Johnson out wide and budding talent in Robert Woods. The team has a stout offensive line headed by Eric Wood, Cordy Glenn, and Kraig Urbik.

Offensively, it’s hard to pinpoint which area the team has to upgrade. The team should grab Sammy Watkins if he falls to them with the No. 9 pick but, more realistically, the only offensive option should be tight end. If that’s the case, Buffalo should have a chance to take the top prospect in Eric Ebron off the board.

Ebron fits in with the new mold of athletic, hybrid tight ends. The North Carolina standout set an ACC single-season record with 973 receiving yards in 2013, but is also able to line up as an inline tight end and block effectively. He’s drawn comparisons to both Jared Cook and Vernon Davis, largely because of his above-average straight-line speed, good ups, and tremendous hands.

Like the offense, there aren’t too many holes glaring on the defensive side of the ball. Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams man the middle of the defensive line in front of an excellent linebacking unit led by Mario Williams and Kiko Alonso. Former first-rounders Leodis McKelvin and Stephon Gilmore have come into their own at corner, while the safety tandem of Aaron Williams and Jairus Byrd combined for eight picks last season.

Of course, Byrd is an impending free agent and a much-desired commodity. The team could opt to franchise him, especially since a long-term pact seems unlikely, but it could also provide the Bills with a trading piece. Byrd is certainly worth at least a second-round pick and arguably a first, which would allow the Bills to not only grab Ebron in the first round but a safety to replace Byrd, too.

Of course, the Bills could nab Byrd’s replacement with the No. 9 pick and have their choice of any safety in the draft. Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is a true center fielder and a sure tackler in the open field, while Louisville’s Calvin Pryor has risen up draft boards because of his big-hit ability and his instinctive play. In the second round, the Bills could also keep an eye on Northern Illinois’ Jimmie Ward, who eclipsed the 100-tackle mark each of his past two seasons but thrives in both deep-ball coverage and defending the slot.

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