Buffalo Bills go boom-or-bust in the NFL Draft

4/29/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

In the NFL Draft, teams are often forced to make the difficult decision between a "safe" prospect, or a player with remarkable raw tools that is drafted based on upside. There are also times when teams must decide between a high-character kid, or a player with off-field concerns. This past weekend, the Bills frequently opted for the latter of those options. Let's take a look at the Bills' draft, which I believe is the biggest boom-or-bust draft of the year:
Blog Photo - Buffalo Bills go boom-or-bust in the NFL Draft
The Bills first-round pick sort of came out of left field, as they drafted Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel. Having ranked Manuel as the third best quarterback in this draft myself, I thought I was higher on him than most - turns out I was wrong. I certainly agree with those who say that Manuel has the highest upside of any quarterback in this draft, and the only reason I ranked Geno Smith and Matt Barkley ahead of him is because I believe they are safer picks. The Bills sort of shocked the NFL community when they reached for Manuel at 16th overall, but in a few years we may be looking back at this selection and wondering how Manuel dropped this far.

USC receiver Robert Woods was the Bills' next selection, though I'd consider him a pretty safe pick. The only concern with Woods is his decline in production during his final year in school, in which he caught 37 less passes for 443 less yards and four less touchdowns than the previous season. Much of that was due to the emergence of teammate Marqise Lee, who led the nation with 118 catches. I think that Woods makes a case as the most polished, complete receiver in this draft class, and is the safest bet to contribute positively in Buffalo.

Just five picks after Woods, the Bills grabbed Oregon linebacker Kiko Alonso. This special talent wins with physicality and should improve the Bills' weak linebacker group immediately, but he has had some off-field issues in the past. After receiving a DUI in 2010 and breaking into a house while intoxicated in 2011, Alonso claims to have quit drinking. My guess is that he'll be able to stay out of trouble during his time in the NFL, but with former incidents like that, you never really know.

In the third round, the Bills snagged Olympic athlete Marquise Goodwin. After four years of disappointing production at the University of Texas, Goodwin began turning heads during the pre-draft process by standing out at the Senior Bowl and dominating the combine. At 5'9'' with only 30 catches per year while at school, there is plenty of reason to be skeptical of Goodwin's football future. However, he has unteachable athletic ability and has the potential to turn into a lethal weapon on the football field.
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