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Grading the Bills Draft Choices

From Sports Illustrated to Bleacher Report and ESPN, a range of commentators are weighing on on the Buffalo Bills draft picks,grading the team's strategy and results. 

Here's a sampling.


Matthew Fairburn, SB Nation says  Watkins costly, Kouandjio risk, Brown a reach  
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 Chris Burke, (Audibles) says  OL picks all "rolls of the dice"  

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  Shutdown Corner, says cost for Watkins was "extremely high"

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Bob Rang, CBS Sports says  cost for Watkins "will prove too much" 

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Dennis Amo, Fansided, :
Watkins good pick, should have taken safety instead of Johnson

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Mel Kiper of ESPN gives Bills a  D+ for needs, failed to address TE or S

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Steven Cook, Bleacher Report

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 Tyler Conway, Bleacher Report

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On Thursday, Buffalo used thier first pick to select  Wide Reciever Sammy Watkins , trading up to the #4 overall pick for the dynamic Clemson wideout.
Watkins comes to Buffalo after three years at Clemson, capped off by a junior season that saw him rack up 101 receptions for 1,464 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Tigers, punctuated by an explosive performance in the 2014 Orange Bowl where he racked up 227 yards on 16 catches.
    As a freshman in 2011, Watkins burst onto the scene with 82 catches, 12 of those touchdowns, for 1,219 yards. That performance earned him a spot on the AP first-team All American squad.
     Standing 6'1" and weighing 211 pounds, Watkins clocked in with a 4.43 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
    To get Watkins with the fourth overall selection, the Bills sent the ninth overall pick in this year's draft, plus their 2015 first and fourth rounders to Cleveland.

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson has been traded to the San Francisco 49ers.
The compensation for the Bills, is a conditional 2015 fourth-round selection that could turn into a third-round pick if production-based incentives are met. The level of production to meet those conditions are unknown to this point in time. According to a league source, the deal all came together Friday morning. However, for Buffalo it recoups one of the two picks sent to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night in order to move up to the fourth overall selection. The Bills dealt their 2015 first and fourth-round picks to move up in the order.

The Bills took measures to beef up their offensive line in the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday, selecting Alabama tackle Cyrus Kouandjio with the 44th overall pick.
Kouandjio looms large at 6'7" and 322 lbs. with an arm length of 35 5/8".  
   Some injury concerns are following Kouandjio heading into the pros. He missed time during his freshman season in 2011 with a torn ACL and MCL, but rebounded to start every game for the Crimson Tide in each of the last two seasons, and has also received a clean bill of health from Dr. James Andrews. Kouandjio, who departs Alabama following his junior year, was a 2013 consensus All-American and was named to last year's first team All-SEC squad.
   Bills GM Doug Whaley noted that the team would likely plug Kouandjio in at right tackle. Whaley also emphasized that both he and the front office feel confident that Kouandjio is fully healthy entering the 2014 season. Buffalo moved down for Kouandjio, sending the 41st overall selection to St. Louis for the 44th and 153rd picks.

After going offense with their first two selections, the Bills took a defensive player in the third round, going with Louisville LB Preston Brown at 73 overall.
Brown comes to Buffalo after four years with the Cardinals, where he racked up a total of 301 tackles.
    Brown was Louisville's leading tackler in each of the last two seasons, including 98 as a senior in 2013. He also recorded 4.5 sacks last season with three forced fumbles. Brown ran a 4.86 40-yard dash at the Combine and enters the NFL at 6'1", 251 lbs. He became a regular starter for the Cardinals in 2011, his sophomore season, and earned second-team All-Big East honors a year later in 2012.

The Bills went after a cornerback with size in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, selecting Duke's Ross Cockrell at 109 overall.
Cockrell is 6'1" and 191 pounds, and picked off 12 passes during four seasons with the Blue Devils.
    Cockrell started 13 games at Duke in each of the last two seasons (he missed one game in his senior season with an ankle injury) and was named to first-team All-ACC following his junior and senior years. Referred to as, "off the charts smart" by Bills Director of Player Personnel Jim Monos, Cockrell was a political science major and earned his degree from Duke in just three and a half years.

The Buffalo Bills pulled off their fourth trade in the past three days when they acquired running back Bryce Brown from the Philadelphia Eagles.
The trade at it's core is for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2015 and a swap of seventh-round picks in 2014, but it can become much, much more complex than that.
    The Bills only hold a fourth-round pick in 2015 because of the deal that sent wide receiver Stevie Johnson to San Francisco for a conditional fourth-round pick.

Cyril Richardson, all 6'5" and 329 lbs of him, is headed to the Bills. Buffalo used its fifth-round selection (153 overall) on Richardson, a guard out of Baylor.
    Richardson started all 13 games during his final season with the Bears, and is a two-time winner of the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year award. He was also a 2013 Outland Trophy finalist last year.
    Buffalo started the day with two picks in the fifth round, but traded the 149th pick to the Buccaneers for a seventh-rounder and a 2015 fifth-round selection.

The Bills used their two seventh-round selections at the NFL Draft on linebacker from Florida Atlantic, Randell Johnson, and Miami tackle Seantrel Henderson.
    Johnson played in every game as a senior, recording 41 total tackles. He's 6'3" and weighs 242 pounds, and was named FAU's Iron Man of the Year in 2013.
    A top recruit coming out of high school, Henderson was originally headed to USC. He reversed course and instead headed to Miami, following NCAA punishment of Southern Cal's football program. Henderson comes with some character issues, including multiple suspensions while playing for the Hurricanes, plus a reported positive drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine. He does have the size the Bills have been trying to collect for the offensive line, standing 6'7" and weighing 331 pounds.

How would you rate the planning for and reaction to the northeast storm?
  Overkill! Closings, and bans should happen on a need-be basis.
  Appropriate. Better safe than sorry!
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