Friday, April 29, 2011
Five to consider for Patriots and Bills
By Tim Graham
The New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills own the first two picks of the second round Friday night.
Let's take a look at five possibilities for each.
No. 33 New England Patriots
No. 34 Buffalo Bills
- Trade: The Patriots' track record and added time to work the phones suggests they'll deal this pick for additional assets. Who knows? Maybe they collect a third 2012 first-round draft choice.
- Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers: Always on the lookout for value, Bill Belichick might be intrigued enough with Bowers to stash him on injured reserve for a year. Bowers once was considered a legitimate candidate to be the first pick overall.
- Pittsburgh defensive end Jabaal Sheard: The Patriots need to improve their pass rush and Sheard could be in their crosshairs. ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss predicts this should be the pick.
- UCLA outside linebacker Akeem Ayers: He's third on ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper's list of best-available players behind Bowers and Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea. Ayers is a versatile defender who can rush the passer and handle coverage.
- A running back: Only one has been drafted. The New Orleans Saints traded into the Patriots' spot to grab Alabama's Mark Ingram at No. 28. Scouts Inc. considers Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams the fifth-best player still on the board. Kiper has Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure seventh.
- Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph: The Bills are woefully inadequate at tight end. They haven't drafted one earlier than the third round since Lonnie Johnson in 1994. Head coach Chan Gailey could use a skilled tight end to diversify his offense and Rudolph is considered this year's best.
- Texas cornerback Aaron Williams: In a division that has Tom Brady, Brandon Marshall and a Jets squad that hopes to re-sign Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards, the Bills should solidify their coverage. Williams is considered by Kiper and Scouts Inc. to be the best defensive back on the board.
- Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett: He's considered the most pro-ready quarterback in the draft. If the Bills can rationalize Mallett's off-field issues, they could have their quarterback of the future.
- Illinois inside linebacker Martez Wilson: The Bills need help here, and Wilson is considered the best in this -- albeit weak -- draft class. Kiper predicts the Bills will make this pick.
- UCLA outside linebacker Akeem Ayers: The Bills have invested serious money in outside linebackers already. They gave Chris Kelsay a handsome new contract last season and extended Shawne Merriman in the offseason. They'd also love to get a return out of Aaron Maybin. But Ayers might be too talented to pass up.