Buffalo Bills 2013 NFL Draft Review

EJ Manuel

The Bills had a productive draft, filling major needs at quarterback, linebacker, wide receiver, tight end, and defensive back. EJ Manuel was the first quarterback drafted and will compete with free agent addition Kevin Kolb. During OTAs, Manuel’s footwork problems were evident as were his accuracy issues. The Bills think if his footwork improves, so will his accuracy. He passes the look test physically as he is big, strong, and athletic. His natural feel for the game will always be in question as will his decision making. Robert Woods caught 32 touchdown passes in his career and he was impressive in the mini camps and OTAs once he got on the field. He missed a week of OTAs because of the NFL graduation rule. Woods was one of the most polished route runners in the draft. He snared 252 passes for 2930 yards in three years at Southern Cal. A fluid receiver, he plays fast and is dangerous in space. He will compete as a kickoff and punt return specialist and is currently penciled in as the Bills’ number two receiver. After rookie mini camp and during OTAs, Kiko Alonso gained the coaches’ confidence to call the defensive signals. The Bills see the former Duck as a four-down linebacker who can cover and rush the passer. He is getting repetitions with the first team veterans during camp. His ability to play multiple positions and contribute on special teams warrant his selection in the second round. Marquise Goodwin is a slot type receiver who is dangerous in space. An undersized but athletic target, he catches the ball well in short and intermediate under routes. He has explosive speed, quickness, and good body control. He is more of a track performer than productive football player with natural tools at this point. Serious skill development is needed. Duke Williams is a competitive and versatile performer who should excel in sub packages with his safety hitting ability and his corner skills. A physical and tough tackler, he accelerates to the football. He should be a major contributor on all special teams’ coverage units. Safety Jonathan Meeks was drafted to add competition to the back end. He collected 62 tackles his senior year along with two interceptions. A big safety at 6003, 209, he can run and had a 4.54/40 on his pro day. His best game was against Virginia Tech. A developmental prospect, he should contribute on all special teams’ coverage units. Dustin Hopkins was drafted to compete with 14-year veteran Rian Lindell. Lindell hit 21 of 24 field goal attempts, so Hopkins has his work cut out for him. A finalist for the Lou Groza Award, the right-footed soccer style kicker has a strong leg on kickoffs averaging 65.5 yards per kick. Over his career he had 117 touchbacks. Hopkins has good “pop” and quick lift. Chris Gragg was drafted as a non-traditional tight end who is more of an H-back/wide receiver move type weapon. He has outstanding deep speed to pressure coverage in the slot. Durability will always be a question mark with his receiver type slender build. He started 20 games in four years at Arkansas. GRADE: ABOVE AVERAGE.

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