Below is the seventh edition of Mock Draft Watch – a rundown of the latest mock drafts compiled by Buffalobills.com via local and national NFL reporters …
March 27 – Gil Brandt, NFL.comNo. 8 – QB Geno Smith, West VirginiaAnalysis: More time will be spent on Smith, who attracted attention from the Jaguars and Eagles at his pro day, than on any other player in this draft. This is an interesting case in that I don't think anybody has a handle on who will pick him or how high he'll be drafted. I like him going to Buffalo, where I think he'll be pretty good. Matt Barkley could be another option for the Bills.
April 1 – Akbar Gbajabiamila, NFL.comNo. 8 – QB Geno Smith, West VirginiaAnalysis: The Bills need a spark in the offense. Smith is accustomed to playing in cold weather and has the physical tools to resurrect a franchise.
April 3 – Russ Lande, National Football PostNo. 8 – QB Ryan Nassib, SyracuseAnalysis: Although we constantly hear that either Geno Smith or Matt Barkley will be the first quarterback selected, the way the Draft has fallen leads to the Bills selecting Ryan Nassib. While a quarterback's physical skills are important, the fact that the Bills' head coach Doug Marrone coached Nassib at Syracuse means he knows how great Nassib's intangibles are and wants to have him leading the Bills.
April 3 – Don Banks, SI.comNo. 8 – QB Geno Smith, West VirginiaAnalysis: Okay, so Matt Barkley didn't turn in a boffo Pro Day performance and vault himself firmly into the top 10 as I presumed he would in last week's 3.0 mock. That puts me back in the mindset of matching up Buffalo and Smith. With the signing of Kevin Kolb representing a short-term starting option, the Bills best pounce on Smith unless they are certain they can get either Syracuse's Ryan Nassib or Barkley at some point later in the draft.
April 4 – Joe Buscaglia, WGR 550No. 18 (via trade w/ Dallas) – QB Matt Barkley, USCAnalysis: The Bills move down, get more picks and secure the quarterback that is the best fit for Nathaniel Hackett's offense that is based in West Coast principles. Many people only look at the negatives involved with Barkley. No, he doesn't have the best arm strength in the draft... but it's a good enough arm to start in the NFL. His intermediate accuracy, a staple of the West Coast offense, is one of his biggest attributes. If the Bills end up selecting a quarterback in the first round, I think Barkley would likely get the call. If they elect to wait until the second round, I think they would hope like all heck that Ryan Nassib would be available at 41. With the extra picks, though, the Bills can feel comfortable in selecting their guy outside of the top ten.
No. 26 (via trade w/ Green Bay) – WR Deande Hopkins, ClemsonAnalysis: With the wide receivers dropping, and all of Houston, New England and Baltimore being threats to take one, the Bills use one of their extra picks to trade up and get the type of receiver GM Buddy Nix was talking about during the season. Hopkins can surely go up and win a jump ball, playing way bigger than his size. He is also an incredibly polished route runner and has a great pair of hands. To move up and get Hopkins, the Bills send their next pick (41) and their third round pick (71) to the Packers, while also getting a sixth round pick back (193).
No. 47 (via trade w/ Dallas) – OL Kyle Long, OregonAnalysis: The Bills could go a few different ways here. Either a safety, cornerback, tight end or pass rusher. However, the long-term potential of Long, his versatility, his pedigree and his size. Long has spent only two years as an offensive lineman, and has showed major flashes with his 6-foot-6, 313-pound frame. Long can slot in either at tackle or guard, and could serve as long-term part of the offensive line. The son of NFL Hall of Fame defensive lineman Howie Long, and the brother of Rams' defensive end Chris Long, teams will have a hard time ignoring his pedigree.
April 4 – Mel Kiper, ESPN.com (Insider)No. 8 – G Jonathan Cooper, UNCAnalysis: The Bills actually have a good foundation on the offensive line. They should feel pretty good about four of their five starters up front. Unfortunately, they lost left guard Andy Levitre to the Titans in free agency, which could really hurt, particularly for a run game that should be strong. Cooper is a great guard, a player capable of challenging for a trip to Hawaii as a rookie. Given the situation at QB, the Bills should take advantage of the opportunity to fill the biggest void they have up front.
No. 41 – QB Ryan Nassib, SyracuseAnalysis: They added Kevin Kolb, but Nassib could be the quarterback of the future.
April 4 – Todd McShay, ESPN.com (Insider)No. 8 – DE Barkevious Mingo, LSUAnalysis: I'm sure at least one QB will go in the first round, but every time I considered a QB, I felt as if I was making that team a sacrificial lamb. So here's my updated first round with zeroquarterbacks.