The second round of the 2010 SB Nation NFL Mock Draft rolls along. We're having each SB Nation blogger make selections for their respective teams. Brian Galliford, lead blogger at SB Nation's Buffalo Bills blog, Buffalo Rumblings, checks in to make the No. 41 overall selection in this year's mock. Take it away, sir!
With the No. 41 overall pick in the 2010 SB Nation NFL Mock Draft, the Buffalo Bills have selected Eric Norwood, OLB, South Carolina.
Brian Galliford says: I'm a BPA type of guy, and I don't think there's any player still available in this mock that's better than UCLA DT Brian Price. Productive and disruptive defensive linemen with upside aren't easy to come by, and Price will be outstanding value to any team that picks him from this point forward. He's not a great fit for the 3-4 scheme, however, and while I don't believe that would deter Buffalo from picking him, they do have some depth along the defensive line, particularly after signing Baltimore DE Dwan Edwards in free agency. Still, passing on Price here is tough to do - he's a heck of a football player.
We took care of Buffalo's most glaring need in the first round when we selected QB Jimmy Clausen to be the new face of the franchise. With QB out of the way, Buffalo's biggest need is unequivocally offensive tackle. Indiana's Rodger Saffold is probably the best tackle available, and his connection to Bills assistant O-Line coach Bobby Johnson - his position coach at IU - makes him an intriguing option here. Saffold, however, is not an overly powerful player, and despite his underrated pass protection skills, he's not a great fit for Gailey's smash-mouth, run-oriented offensive system. Had I taken OT here, I'd have gone with Vladimir Ducasse - he has the requisite road grading abilities to work well in Gailey's offense, but he's so raw that the best he could do is push Demetrius Bell for the starting left tackle job. That's not exactly great value in the second round. Keep in mind, also, that if we know anything about GM Buddy Nix, it's that O-Line isn't necessarily a high priority for him in the early rounds.
We won't even discuss nose tackle, as the two best options, Torrell Troup (whom the Bills are quite interested in, by the way) and Al Woods, would be rather massive reaches here.
Buffalo is very desperate for pass rushing help - so much so that there's a strong chance the team could address the pass rush in the first round. The team's best pass rusher, Aaron Schobel, is aging, contemplating retirement, and probably not athletic enough for the 3-4 as it is. 2009 first-round pick Aaron Maybin is a great scheme fit, but coming off an awful rookie season while remaining hugely unproven. The only pass-rushing reserves on the roster are Chris Kelsay and Chris Ellis; neither is a great pass rusher, first and foremost, and they're poor scheme fits to boot. Given who's available, the choice came down to Price, the three-tech DT with great value that the team could find a way to use, or the best available pass rusher; thankfully, there's good value at this critical need.
Nix is an old-time scout that values talent, of course, but places a high emphasis on experience and production in power conferences. In order for Nix to pass on the talent and production of a guy like Price, he'd need talent and production from an OLB prospect, and that's exactly what he's getting in Eric Norwood. A three-year starter for South Carolina in the vaunted SEC, Norwood was tremendously productive, racking up 225 tackles, 45.5 tackles for loss and 22 sacks in those three seasons. Norwood was a team captain and a leader, is a tremendous competitor, and fits perfectly into the 3-4 scheme. His workout numbers won't blow you away, but Norwood is the type of guy that gets it done on the field in clutch situations time and again, and that's really all that matters to Nix. This pick is the best blend of need, value, talent, production and intangibles, and knowing that, passing on Price is a bit easier.
Have fun with the Bills/Norwood jokes, by the way. Get creative!
Mocking Dan reacts: Norwood is the kind of pass rusher who can line up wide right. He gets a lot of pressure darting to the outside. Although he's a solid pick that would improve the team's pass rush, he may never take the Bills to the promised land.
All right, that was the best I could do with the Bills/Norwood quips. I stand by him being a solid pick, though. This is a little early for Norwood, but he's experienced as a linebacker and defensive end. Clearly he's too small for even a 4-3 end, but his pass rush skills are good. He's only slightly a level below Jerry Hughes, who was taken 12 picks ago.
Mocking the Draft's Top 5 remaining prospects: 1 - Jonathan Dwyer/RB/Georgia Tech, 2 - Damian Williams/WR/USC, 3 - Rob Gronkowski/TE/Arizona, 4 - Brandon Spikes/LB/Florida, 5 - Chad Jones, S, LSU
Sound off, SB Nation! What say you of the Bills' selection of Norwood? Please be sure to check out Buffalo Rumblings for all of your Bills needs.