While the 2014 NFL Draft is now just hours away, the hype for how things will play out has been building for months. Dating back to December, mock drafts have provided projections aplenty playing out countless draft day scenarios.
The staff at buffalobills.com has crunched the numbers on some of the projected picks for the Bills at nine overall and there are some clear favorites among the prognosticators.
Having now charted more than 150 mock drafts, here are a few of the more interesting notes and numbers that have emerged from our research:
1 – Some help in the trenches
Forty-three percent of mock drafts project that the Bills will select an offensive tackle. Tight end has been projected as the Bills’ pick 26 percent of the time, good for the second most
2 – A play-making tight end
Offensive tackle has received the most attention out of all the positions, but no single player has been projected to the Bills more than North Carolina TE Eric Ebron. The 6-4, 245 pound North Carolina product has been projected to the Bills in 26 percent of all the mock drafts. Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews is a close runner up behind Ebron though, being projected to the Bills in 20 percent of the mocks.
3 – Popular picks
Considering the continually evolving nature of team needs, we have also broken down the mocks into separate time periods. Since free agency began on March 11, Ebron, Matthews and Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan are the Bills three main draft day targets according to the prognosticators. The trio accounts for 80 percent of the Bills draft projections since the start of free agency.
4 – Latest polls
-Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks (April 22) – North Carolina TE Eric Ebron
-FOX Sports’ Peter Schrager (April 24) – Texas A&M WR Mike Evans
-ESPN’s Mel Kiper (April 29) – Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews
-Houston Chronicle’s John McClain (April 29) – Michigan OT Taylor Lewan
-ESPN’s Todd McShay (April 29) – Michigan OT Taylor Lewan
-WGR 550’s Joe Buscaglia (May 1) – Note Dame OT Zack Martin
-Sports Illustrated’s Peter King (May 6) – Michigan OT Taylor Lewan
-NFL Network’s staff analysts (May 6) – North Carolina TE Eric Ebron
5 – Can I get seconds?
Twenty mock drafts have included second round selections. Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been the most prominent second round projection to the Bills, accounting for 25 percent of the selections. Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and Oregon State defensive end Scott Crichton are the only other players to appear multiple times.
6 – Who had who first?
The first mock draft charted was on December 18, 2013 from ESPN’s Todd McShay projecting the Bills to take Michigan OT Taylor Lewan. Could Lewan, who ended up being projected to the Bills 17 percent of the time, end up being the guy?