People often ask me why I have a general disdain for mock drafts, so let me tell you. There hasn’t been a college football game played since the Senior Bowl in mid-January, yet somehow, the stock of some of the draft-eligible players has risen and fallen as if they were a NASDAQ stock during a turbulent trading period.
Someone needs to explain to me how, for instance, Baker Mayfield’s stock has risen to the point where he’s now being talked about by some people as a potential No. 1 overall pick to Cleveland, or perhaps No. 3 to the Jets. Yet, after his final game for Oklahoma, the Sooners’ Rose Bowl loss to Georgia in the national semifinals of the College Football Playoff more than three months ago, most draftniks wondered if he was even worthy of middle first-round status.
What happened? He had a good scouting combine, a better pro day, but that was expected. Without Mayfield throwing a pass in a real game, how could the opinions on him been swayed so heavily?
Still, realizing I’m in the minority on the whole not caring about mock drafts issue, I took the time to scour through the mock drafts one last time to give you a feel for what the experts think the Bills will be doing come Thursday in the first round. No Mel Kiper or Todd McShay here because unless you're an ESPN Insider, you can't read the full story.
The Bills will select quarterback Sam Darnold
Walterfootball.com: They have the Bills trading up into the fourth spot owned by Cleveland and picking USC quarterback Sam Darnold, on the assumption that the Browns will pick Wyoming QB Josh Allen, the Giants will take Penn State RB Saquon Barkley, and the Jets will pick Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield.
Chad Reuter, NFL.com: This is one I haven't seen, but Reuter has the Bills dealing with the Broncos at No. 5 and picking Darnold. He has Allen to the Browns No. 1, Mayfield to the Jets at No. 3, and the Dolphins trading into the Colts' sixth spot to pick Rosen.
The Bills will select quarterback Josh Allen
Peter King, MMQB: The Sports Illustrated writer thinks the Bills will move into the sixth spot via a trade with the Colts to select Allen. King has Darnold (Browns), UCLA QB Josh Rosen (Jets) and Mayfield (Broncos) all gone in the first five picks, so the question becomes, with Allen being the fourth QB off the board, is he really the guy the Bills want at this spot? Will it be worth giving up draft capital to take the fourth QB? In King's scenario, the Bills retain their No. 22 pick and use it to replace retired center Eric Wood with the selection of Iowa center James Daniels.
Bob Glauber, Newsday: He has the Bills staying put at No. 12, with Allen falling into their laps. I'm not on board with picking Allen, but if the Bills don't forfeit any of their picks and he's sitting there at No. 12, they have to take a swing because you just never know. Enough draft experts love Allen to at least provide some hope that he may go on to be a terrific player, but I'm having trouble seeing it. With the 22nd pick, Glauber has Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans going to Buffalo, which would certainly be nice.
Josh Norris, Rotoworld: This is a new strategy as Norris has the Bills trading into the 49ers' ninth spot to select Allen. Interestingly, he has Rosen still on the board and going in the next spot at No. 10 to the Cardinals via a trade with the Raiders. The Bills keep their 22nd pick and Norris has Daniels as the pick.
The Bills will select quarterback Josh Rosen
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: The former NFL scout has Rosen dropping to the Bills at No. 12, while the other three top QBs are all gone in the first five picks. I've said right along Rosen is my guy for the Bills, with the assumption that Buffalo never had a chance to get Darnold because I firmly believe the Browns are picking him. Getting Rosen without trading up would be superb. At No. 22, the Bills upgrade at linebacker by picking athletic Leighton Vander Esch of Boise State.
Dan Kadar, SB Nation: Maybe Kadar and Jeremiah got together because they have the same scenario with the Bills getting Rosen at 12 and Vander Esch at 22. That works for me.
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Rosen falls to the Bills at 12, and Iyer has Beane addressing the impending retirement of Kyle Williams, likely after 2018, by slotting Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst at No. 22. I'm OK with that, though I still think the most immediate need is linebacker/receiver/cornerback.
The Bills will select quarterback Baker Mayfield
Doug Farrar, Bleacher Report: He's not buying the Mayfield hype and he has the Heisman Trophy winner sitting there at the Bills' No. 12 pick. If this were to happen, I think the Bills should do cartwheels in their war room. I've always liked Mayfield, and think he'd be a nice fit in Buffalo. At No. 22, Farrar has Maryland wide receiver D.J. Moore as the pick. This would be a first round for the Bills if it were to happen.
The Bills will select quarterback Lamar Jackson
USA Today: Another situation where the Bills stay at No. 12, but with the top four quarterbacks all gone by the fifth pick, the Bills are left with Louisville QB Lamar Jackson. To me, that would be a mistake, especially this high. At No. 22, guard Will Hernandez from Texas-El Paso is the choice as a replacement for Richie Incognito. I'm guessing this is not a first round Bills fans would be too enthralled with.
Charles Davis, NFL.com: Another pick of Lamar Jackson at No. 12, with Davis saying that Jackson is a better version of Tyrod Taylor. My question is, why do the Bills want anyone who compares to Taylor? At No. 22, I like Davis' pick of Moore, the wideout who has the ability to get downfield, something the Bills sorely lack.
Jason Owens, Yahoo: Once again, Jackson lands with the Bills at No. 12, and Vander Esch at No. 22. The trend seems to be that several mock drafters don't think Brandon Beane will be willing to trade away his picks to move up, and that he's hoping one of the QBs is sitting there at 12. As I've said earlier, I really don't think Jackson would be a good idea. If the top four QBs are gone, the Bills should spend 12 on a linebacker and 22 on a receiver or cornerback, depending on who's available.
The Bills will select linebacker Roquan Smith
Pro Football Focus: The Bills get a QB, but not until No. 22 where they take a swing at Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph. With the 12th pick, PFF has Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith coming to Buffalo to step right in and start. I like Rudolph at 22 far better than Jackson at 12.