Eagles fans might be a little disappointed.
One of the players who has been associated frequently with the Eagles in our Mock Draft Tracker is Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Well, in our fan mock draft, our old friends in Carolina - former Eagles coaches Ron Rivera and Sean McDermott - selected Cox with the No. 9 pick, according to you.
The Buffalo Bills are on the clock today. One of the surprise teams to start the 2011 season, the Bills were 4-1 after beating the Eagles in Week 5. A high-powered offense and an opportunistic defense made the Bills look like a possible playoff contender. However, the wheels exploded on the bus. The Bills won just one of their final nine games and finished 6-10. In those final nine games, the Bills defense allowed at least 27 points in seven of those games. Buffalo was 0-7 in those contests. And how about that explosive offense which scored 30-or-more points in four of the first five games of the season? The offense accumulated that many points in a single game just once in the final nine games.
Well, the Bills splurged in the offseason to bring in defensive end Mario Williams. During the team's seven-game losing streak in 2011, the Bills notched just three sacks. When you have Tom Brady in your division, the pass rush is essential. The Williams signing was relevant not only because of the talent, but it signaled that big-time free agents will come to Buffalo and that the franchise is serious about building a winner. The Bills have one of the better defensive lines in football with Williams, defensive end Mark Anderson and defensive tackles Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus.
The Bills should also get better with their top offensive playmakers returning in running back Fred Jackson (broken fibula) and wide receiver Stevie Johnson (re-signed). If quarterback Ryan Tannehill was available, it would be an interesting discussion. Yes, the Bills gave Ryan Fitzpatrick a long-term deal last season, but his play tailed off significantly towards the end of the year.
Buffalo does need to add protection for Fitzpatrick. Chris Hairston, a 2011 draft pick, took over at left tackle after Demetress Bell was injured and appears slotted to remain there after the Eagles signed Bell. Most mock drafts have the Bills selecting Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff, who could play on the right side. The Bills could have Georgia tackle/guard Cordy Glenn rated higher to play offensive tackle. The Bills could add Stanford guard David DeCastro, who is considered by many the top offensive lineman available regardless of position. I'm putting Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright because the Bills could use a stretch-the-field complement to Johnson. A wide receiver could be more realistic if Notre Dame's Michael Floyd was still available, but head coach Chan Gailey incorporates a lot of spread principles in his offense and could use another wideout – especially one that played in the spread in college.
The NFL's 30th-ranked defense in terms of points allowed last season should improve with the addition of Williams, but the secondary could still be helped and South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore makes sense here. Gilmore is considered by most draft experts the No. 2 cornerback in the draft behind LSU's Morris Claiborne. Linebacker Luke Kuechly was a tackling machine at Boston College. He also has the athleticism and instincts to play all three downs. Even with the big investment last year with Dareus (No. 3 overall pick) and this offseason with Williams, maybe the Bills just continue to stockpile talent with either Quinton Coples of North Carolina (the Bills could prefer South Carolina's Melvin Ingram) or one of the top remaining defensive tackles in Memphis' Dontari Poe or LSU's Michael Brockers.
Here you get to be the general manager. The Bills are on the clock. Who will be selected with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2012 fan mock draft.
1. Indianapolis – QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
2. Washington – QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
3. Minnesota -- OT Matt Kalil, USC
4. Cleveland - RB Trent Richardson, Cleveland
5. Tampa Bay - CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
6. St. Louis - WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma St.
7. Jacksonville - WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
8. Miami - QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
9. Carolina - DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State
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