Buffalo Bills Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

John Miller, G, Louisville – Round 3
The Bills needed to acquire some guard help this offseason and were desperate enough to bring in Richie Incognito. Even with Incognito projected to play left guard, Buffalo had a hole at right guard, so the team moved to address the position with a third-round pick on Miller. He will compete for the starting job in 2015, and with his run-blocking skills, it wouldn’t be surprising if he quickly is paving the way for LeSean McCoy.

The 6-foot-2, 303-pound Miller is a very physical blocker who is strong at the point of attack. He can move defenders out of their gap and open holes for his backs. Miller could potentially add more weight for the NFL to make him even tougher at the point of attack. He will need to improve his pass protection, but he has the skill set to be a balanced blocker.

Buffalo has some other guard competitors in Chris Williams and Cyril Richardson, who Miller will have to beat out. Richardson didn’t do enough to convince the team not to address guard in the offseason, while Williams has become a journeyman after being a first-round bust. Before too long, I think Miller will emerge as a solid starter for the Bills.

Most Likely To Bust

Karlos Williams, RB, Florida State – Round 5
Among the Bills’ draft picks, this one looks the most likely to be a bust to me. Williams has a good physical skill set, but he never turned into a standout player at Florida State and also has major off-the-field issues. Some teams had him removed from their draft boards because of character concerns.

During the Seminoles 2013 National Championship team, Williams flashed some tough running as a backup to Devonta Freeman. In 2014 with Freeman in the NFL, Williams was expected to take over as the feature back for Florida State. However the 6-foot-1, 230-pounder ran tentatively last year. He wasn’t an aggressive runner, and as the season progressed, he lost the role of the feature back to freshman Dalvin Cook. Williams ended up being a backup. He also had some legal trouble. Sources with other teams said that Williams lacked running instincts.

The Bills are set at the running back position with LeSean McCoy as their starter. They also have a superb backup in Fred Jackson. Perhaps Williams can learn and develop as a backup, but he is going to have a hard time getting carries in the near future. Williams could easily just never pan out for Buffalo.

Potential Boom Pick

Ronald Darby, CB, Florida State – Round 2
The Bills didn’t need a starting cornerback, but found Darby too good to pass up in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Leodis McKelvin and Stephon Gilmore are the starters for this season, and that should only help Darby’s long-term progression as he can develop at his own pace. The 5-foot-11, 193-pounder is an excellent cover corner who doesn’t allow separation. He looks like a great fit for Rex Ryan’s defense.

As a player, the only thing that Darby needs to improve are his ball skills. He has to get better at playing the ball, but he has excellent speed and was a track star as well. Darby can run with speed receivers down the field and prevent them from getting open. He is also put together well with some strength for his size. Darby uses that to compete with big receivers and doesn’t get pushed around. At Florida State, he was very good at running the route and preventing receivers from getting open.

The Bills have some expiring contracts coming up at the cornerback position, so Darby made sense. Any great defense has three good corners with teams playing the nickel as their main personal grouping. Sources with other teams said that Darby was a first-round talent who has some fixable flaws. It wouldn’t surprise me if Darby ends up becoming an excellent NFL cornerback for Buffalo.

Future Depth Player

Nick O’Leary, TE, Florida State – Round 6
The Bills let Scott Chandler leave in free agency and gave a big contract to Charles Clay. Buffalo will feature Clay as its receiving tight end in 2015, but when the team goes to double-tight end sets, O’Leary could be a nice weapon for the Bills. O’Leary (6-3, 252) was a very reliable receiver for Florida State and has superb hands. He has a knack for getting open and is very clutch. O’Leary may never be a three-down starter in the NFL, but he could be a good backup tight end who contributes in his role.

Walt’s 2015 NFL Draft Grades:

50. Ronald Darby, CB, Florida State: A Grade
Not a quarterback! It’s a victory for the Bills, who sounded like they were getting duped by Bryce Petty. There was discussion that Ronald Darby could go at the end of the first or top of the second round, so Buffalo is getting a steal at No. 50. The Bills have some expiring contracts at the position in the near future, so Darby should be able to step in as the starter as early as 2016.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

81. John Miller, G, Louisville: C+ Grade
I had John Miller going to the Bills – but in the fifth round. Having said that, I don’t think this is a bad pick, or anything. I had Miller going a bit later than I wanted to, so Buffalo is reaching by about a round. Still, the Bills are filling a big need on the interior of their offensive line, so I don’t have a problem with this selection.

155. Karlos Williams, RB, Florida State: C Grade
A very “meh” selection by the Bills at this spot. Karlos Williams can catch passes out of the backfield, but he’s just not an effective runner. The question needs to be asked, though: How many running backs does this team need?

188. Tony Steward, LB, Clemson: C Grade
Another player I didn’t have drafted, Tony Steward is just going to play on special teams. If he sees the field as a linebacker, it’ll be because there are numerous injuries ahead of him. Steward will help the special-teams unit, but Buffalo could have obtained him or a similar prospect in Round 7 or the UDFA signing spree.

194. Nick O’Leary, TE, Florida State: A Grade
The Bills sure love their Florida State products. I wasn’t a fan of Karlos Williams, but Nick O’Leary makes a lot more sense. The Bills signed Charles Clay this offseason, but he’s an H-back rather than a real tight end, so Buffalo was looking to address the position. O’Leary could have gone in the third round, so Buffalo is getting a steal.

234. Dezmin Lewis, WR, Central Arkansas: A Grade
This is one of my favorite picks in the seventh round. I had Dezmin Lewis going early in the fourth frame, so this is incredible value for Buffalo. Lewis was discussed by some as the next Cecil Shorts, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he contributes for the Bills at some point.

2015 NFL Draft Team Grade: B- . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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