We're up to pick number 9 in the 2014 Acme Packing Company NFL Mock Draft, and that puts the Buffalo Bills on the clock.
The Bills have a promising left tackle in Cordy Glenn, who took over the starting role last season after starting 13 games as a rookie in 2012. Entering his third year in the league in 2014, Glenn is an emerging star at left tackle. The problem for the Bills is there incumbent right tackle, Eric Pears. He is an average (at best) right tackle who really struggles in run-blocking. Despite the fact that the Bills finished second in the NFL in 2013 in total rushing yards, right tackle is a position that could really use an upgrade.
If a player like Texas A&M's Jake Matthews or Auburn's Greg Robinson would to fall to the Bills at No. 9 it would be tough to imagine them not pulling the trigger. Adding a solid right tackle would instantly make the Bills' offensive line one of the better units in the league. Pairing a top rookie tackle with former Pittsburgh Steelers third-round pick and current Bills right guard Kraig Urbik would give the Bills a potential dominate run blocking tandem on the right side of the line.
The Bills do have a ton of other needs including tight end, safety (arguably) and outside linebacker, however, I personally don't believe that it is beneficial taking a tight end or safety at any point in the first round. There are some cases where it would be acceptable, like in the case of Vernon Davis at No. 6 overall to the San Francisco 49ers in 2006, however, tight end and safety should be avoided, in my opinion, in the first round.
Essentially that leaves the tackle position as the greatest need for Buffalo in the first round of this draft.
Now on to the pick.
With 9th overall pick in the 2014 APC mock draft, the Buffalo Bills select:
Name: Jake Matthews
Position: Offensive Tackle
School: Texas A&M
Depending on which NFL draft scout you talk to, many believe that former Matthews is the best tackle available in this year's draft, with Greg Robinson a close second. I would agree with this narrative. However, my fellow writers at APC didn't put as much stock in Matthews as I did, thus he slipped to No. 9 overall, where the Buffalo Bills will be more than happy to take him.
Matthews will make his money in the NFL as a tough run blocking specialist. Matthews is one of the most explosive offensive linemen to come out of college in a long time. At times he is simply overbearing for defenders to deal with. On many occasions, I watched Matthews drive his blocking assignment five yards backwards before the defender was even out of his stance.
Although his pass blocking ability may be questionable, as blocking for QB Johnny Manziel can be difficult with his ability to keep plays alive, it is by no means a weakness. The only other knock on Matthews may be his inexperience at left tackle if a team were to take him in hopes of him being their starter at that position. 2013 was Matthews' first and only year as the starter at left tackle; however, this point is moot in the case of the Bills, who already have a stud left tackle in Glenn.
Although Matthews played in a spread offense at Texas A&M, his true abilities lie within the run blocking game, an area the Bills have excelled in the last number of seasons.
If the Bills were to draft Matthews they would be getting a humble, focused and hungry individual. According to Nolan Nawrocki of NFL.com, Matthews is a "film junkie, who hails from football royalty." His grandfather Clay Matthews, Sr. played offensive tackle for the 49ers for four seasons in the early 1950s. His father, Bruce Matthews, is a legendary Oilers/Titans guard and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Bruce Matthews played 18 seasons in the NFL, he was a 14-time Pro Bowl selection and played 296 games — the most for an offensive linemen in the history of the NFL. Jake's cousin Clay Matthews III is well-known to Green Bay Packers fans, while his other cousin Casey is also a linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles.
His family lineage speaks for itself. Simply put, the Matthews family can play some football.
Jake Matthews is one of the safest picks in this year's draft, and for a 6-10 team in 2013, that is just fine. The Bills haven't won more than nine games in a season since 1999 when they won 11 games. That 1999 season was also the last time the Bills made the playoffs, when they controversially lost to the Tennessee Titans thanks in part to the Music City Miracle.
Drafting Matthews will solidify the tackle position for the Bills for the next decade with the tandem of Glenn and Matthews. It also allows the Bills to go get a player like BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy or Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the second round with the 41st pick of the draft. Getting any combination of these three players would be a solid improvement for the Bills. Matthews, along with free agent acquisitions Brandon Spikes (MLB) Corey Graham (CB) and Keith Rivers (OLB), could put the Bills on the cusp of the playoff picture in the coming seasons.
The future is rather bright in Buffalo and with the 9th overall pick in the draft, they should get an impact player that can have an immediate effect on the team.
Round One Summary
|1||Houston Texans||Blake Bortles||QB||Central Florida|
|2||St. Louis Rams||Jadeveon Clowney||DE||South Carolina|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||Khalil Mack||OLB||Buffalo|
|4||Cleveland Browns||Johnny Manziel||QB||Texas A&M|
|5||Oakland Raiders||Sammy Watkins||WR||Clemson|
|6||Atlanta Falcons||Greg Robinson||OT||Auburn|
|7||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Mike Evans||WR||Texas A&M|
|8||Minnesota Vikings||Teddy Bridgewater||QB||Louisville|
|9||Buffalo Bills||Jake Matthews||OT||Texas A&M|
Next up this afternoon in the 2014 APC mock draft is Aron with the pick for the Detroit Lions.