The 2016 NFL Draft is under a month away and the Buffalo Bills -- unlike last year -- have a first round selection to try and find themselves an impact starter. With a pair of selections on Day Two, the Bills could even two more starters to the roster.
General manager Doug Whaley has continued to say the Bills will look for the best player available and won't draft based on need, which makes them fairly unpredictable up until they make a selection on April 28. With so many positions that they could go after, the Bills have a great deal of names to keep an eye on -- as long as you know what you're looking for.
Leading up to the start of the draft, WKBW.com will be going through potential names that the Buffalo Bills could select in the 2016 NFL Draft:
LB/S Su’a Cravens, USC
USC's Su'a Cravens is an extremely intriguing athletic linebacker, although a tad undersized... but only 20 pic.twitter.com/kJ4B97KqyB
— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) February 16, 2016
Why he’s a fit
- The Bills satisfied an immediate need at inside linebacker with the signing of free agent Zach Brown to a one-year deal, but there is no certainty that he’ll be the rock-solid starter from the day he walks into the building. At that weakside inside linebacker position, you want someone with a little bit more speed, and someone that trusts his instincts to fly in and bring down a ball carrier before they get started. That’s what Su’a Cravens is best at, and despite a lack of size, would fit into that role while being able to cover tight ends and running backs as well. Cravens could even be a linebacker/safety hybrid, and a player that Rex Ryan could line up everywhere. If you’re looking for defensive versatility, Cravens is a compelling argument.
Why the Bills may shy away
- Some teams will shy away from Cravens due to not only a lack of size, but his workout numbers don’t indicate someone as small and explosive as some of the examples already in the NFL. For comparison’s sake, Tampa Bay linebacker Lavonte David is 6-foot-1, 234-pounds, ran a 4.65 40-yard dash, and posted a 36.5-inch vertical jump along with a 119-inch broad jump. Arizona’s Deone Bucannon is 6-foot-1, 211-pounds, ran a 4.49 40-yard dash, and also had a 36.5-inch vertical, but with a 125-inch broad jump. While Cravens ran a 4.65 40-yard dash, he was also below both David and Bucannon in jumping, with a 27-inch vertical and 114-inch broad jump. The lack of size and measured explosiveness could drive his value down.
Joe B. Verdict
- Where Cravens lacks in explosiveness, he makes up for in instincts on the field. He was a highly productive player for USC that played at both safety and linebacker during his career, and a team like the Bills could utilize him in the same way. If a team has a specific idea of how they would use him, and takes advantage of his versatility, he could become quite the productive player in the NFL. It’s just all about where he lands. Let’s say the Bills decline to select an inside linebacker in the first round of the draft, which means Cravens would certainly be a player worth keeping an eye on at 49th overall.