After analyzing the draft needs of all 32 teams, PFT will review how well each team addressed those needs. Up next: The Buffalo Bills.
What they needed: Quarterback, wide receiver, linebacker, guard
Who they got:
Round 1: E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
Round 2: Robert Woods, WR, USC; Kiko Alonso, LB, Oregon
Round 3: Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas
Round 4: Duke Williams, S, Nevada
Round 5: Jonathan Meeks, S, Clemson
Round 6: Dustin Hopkins, K, Florida State
Round 7: Chris Gragg, TE, Arkansas
Where they hit: General Manager Buddy Nix wasn’t lying when he said he liked the makeup of this year’s quarterback class more than most observers. Manuel was the first and only quarterback to go in the first round and the Bills were able to add two extra picks while moving down the draft board to pick him. Woods and Alonso both have good shots at being in the starting lineup from day one and Goodwin should be a factor out of the slot right away, which makes this a good job by the Bills of recognizing and addressing their biggest needs.
Where they missed: The offensive line need wasn’t great, although it would have been nice to see the Bills grab some depth there instead of doubling up at safety. Even with Jairus Byrd likely to stay away for a while because of the franchise tag, Williams would have been enough. When only three quarterbacks went in the first three rounds, you have to wonder if the Bills needed to pull the trigger on Manuel with the 16th overall pick. Another trade down would have been ideal from a value standpoint.
Impact rookies: The Bills have needed an outside receiver other than Stevie Johnson for a long time and Woods is the best option they’ve come up with yet. His arrival gives Manuel (or Kevin Kolb or Tarvaris Jackson) a much better chance at succeeding next season. Williams is a good bet to replace George Wilson at strong safety. Hopkins will get every opportunity to unseat Rian Lindell.
Long-term prospects: They all pretty much begin and end with Manuel. If he’s a hit, no one will care about whether the Bills took him higher than they needed to take him because Buffalo will finally have a post-Jim Kelly answer at quarterback. His varied skill set certainly opens the door to some creativity from new coach Doug Marrone. They hit their other needs pretty well, but the final word on this draft will have everything to do with how Manuel progresses.