Mock Draft Watch 4.0

Each week leading up to the draft the Buffalobills.com will share mock drafts from local and national NFL reporters in this feature - Mock Draft Watch.

However, media are not the only ones who can predict the Bills pick in this year's draft. We encourage you, the fans, to participate in the M&T Bank Draft Day Challenge where you can predict who the Bills will pick with their first selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. Fans who correctly guess which player the Bills select first will win an exclusive game day experience for two at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Click here to participate in the challenge.

Here's a rundown of this week's mock drafts …

Friday, April 15 - Nolan Nawrocki, Pro Football Weekly
#3 QB Cam Newton
Nawrocki's take: GM Buddy Nix is looking for a spark on offense, and Newton has proven the last two years that he can help win championships as soon as he arrives. He'll have his work cut out for him in Buffalo, but he will change the franchise more than any other player in this year's draft. The oldest front-office regime in the league takes a short-term approach.

Sunday, April 17 - Allen Wilson, Buffalo News
#3 LB Von Miller - Texas A&M
Wilson's take: Quarterback wasn't the biggest need, but they would take Newton if the Panthers don't. There's no guarantee Shawne Merriman will regain top form, so taking arguably the best natural pass rusher in the draft is the smart move.

Monday, April 18 - Nick Mendola, WECK
#3 LB Von Miller - Texas A&M
Mendola's take: Miller's problem is his size, but just like Aaron Maybin, he's gained significant size since the end of his regular season. The comparison to Maybin is ill-founded, however. Miller is a multi-year freak who has improved every single season. He struggled early this season with the double team, but once he figured it out, it was game over. Miller posted 35 tackles and eight sacks over his final five regular season games, only to make Joseph Barksdale (an LSU lineman I'm high on) look like shredded wheat in the Cotton Bowl (Nine tackles and a sack).

Monday, April 18 - Wes Bunting, National Football Post
#3 DE/LB Robert Quinn - UNC
Bunting's take: The Bills need to be able to get after the passer more consistently and I think Quinn has the upside to mature into one of the league's best. He's as gifted athletically as they come, is versatile enough to play down or stand up and IF he checks out medically, in my view I would select him as the first pass rusher off the board on draft day.

Tuesday, April 19 - Peter King, Sports Illustrated
Special notes: Says Bills will draft Von Miller but thinks team should draft T Anthony Castonzo
#3 LB Von Miller - Texas A&M
King's take: Buffalo's biggest needs are a left tackle and a run stopper, but those will be addressed in later rounds, because Miller's potential is so great. He has the chance to be a double-digit sacker, the guy '09 first-rounder Aaron Maybin hasn't become. But projecting pass rushers is always risky. For a team whose QB was hit way too much last year, I'd rather have a Day One left tackle. Castonzo started 54 games at BC and was never overmatched.

Tuesday, April 19 - Evan Silva, Pro Football Talk
#3 LB Von Miller - Texas A&M
Silva's take: 33 sacks, 50.5 tackles for loss, and 10 forced fumbles. The 2010 Butkus Award. Miller's body of work compares favorably to all of this year's top-ten picks, and his ability to bend and explode by offensive tackles is unrivaled. Chan Gailey will wait for his franchise quarterback at the top of round two.

Wednesday, April 20 - Todd McShay, ESPN.com
#3 LB Von Miller - Texas A&M
McShay's take: Scenario 1: Miller is the premier pass-rusher in this class and fits perfectly at outside linebacker in Buffalo's 3-4 defense. This is the smart pick, but still a tough pill to swallow given the lack of production the Bills have gotten from 2009 first-rounder Aaron Maybin.
Scenario 2: Use this pick on one of the quarterbacks, likely Newton if he's on the board.
Scenario 3: The only other player I'm hearing even whispers about is Peterson.

Wednesday, April 20 - Peter Schrager, FOX Sports
Special notes: Three-round mock draft
#3 DL Marcell Dareus - Alabama
Schrager's take: The Buffalo defense gave up 169 rushing yards per game last season, worst in the league by a large margin. Dareus fits Buffalo's scheme perfectly. He can play as one of the two-gap defensive tackles, or as either the defensive end or nose tackle in the 3-4. This might not be the sexiest pick for Bills fans, but after an 11-year playoff drought, "sexy" shouldn't be the top priority in Buffalo. As for quarterback, look for Chan Gailey and Buddy Nix to go that route in the second round.

#34 QB Colin Kaepernick - Nevada

#68 LB Dontay Moch - Nevada

Thursday, April 21 - Dan Bilicki, Toronto Sun
#3 QB Blaine Gabbert - Missouri
Bilicki's take: In this draft, Gabbert isn't a bad consolation prize at QB; he's essentially the 1A

RESEARCH ROUND-UP

The Buffalo Bills media relations department has charted 130 mock drafts dating back to April 27, 2010. Below is a list of the players most selected for the Bills …

32 - Von Miller
25 - Cam Newton
23 - Marcell Dareus
20 - Blaine Gabbert
8 - Da'Quan Bowers
7 - Patrick Peterson
4 - Nick Fairley
4 - Other
2 - Cameron Jordan
2 - Ryan Mallett
2 - Robert Quinn
1 - A.J. Green

Von Miller led the week by being selected in five of nine mock drafts.

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