Jairus Byrd is gone, leaving a considerable hole in the Buffalo Bills' deep pass coverage. Da'Norris Searcy, Duke Williams or Jonathan Meeks may not be the best players to fill that hole. Brian Galliford's choice at No. 41 on behalf of Buffalo Rumblings could be.
|41. Bills||Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois||S||5'11||193||SR|
"There is little doubt that the Bills have bigger need priorities than safety. Problem is, worthwhile prospects at those positions (Antonio Richardson at tackle, Scott Crichton at defensive end, Jace Amaro and Troy Niklas at tight end) are not of the caliber of Ward, who but for his smaller stature might be widely considered a first-round lock.
Ward is definitely small -- he weighs in 14 pounds lighter than departed starter Jairus Byrd, who isn't the biggest dude, either -- but he has everything else you look for. Range, ball skills, fluidity -- it's all there. Buffalo prefers bigger athletes across its roster, but between Richardson (who is the athletic prototype the Bills prefer at tackle, and was therefore very nearly the choice) and rotational players (Crichton and the tight ends), I'll take the full-time starter at a need position and the better prospect every time, even if the projection is slightly out of character for the Bills. Ward is good enough to walk into Buffalo's starting lineup next to Aaron Williams."
Here are my thoughts on the choice of Ward:
If Buffalo is looking for an effortless replacement for Byrd, it's Ward. The Northern Illinois product is the best pure coverage safety in the draft this year, but is still capable of delivering a heavy hit. Where Ward struggles is supporting the run and getting off blocks to do so.
NFL Mock Draft
|12||Louis Nix III||DT||Notre Dame||6'2||326|
|35||Demarcus Lawrence||DE||Boise State||6'3||251|
|38||Jace Amaro||TE||Texas Tech||6'5||265|
|41||Scott Crichton||DE||Oregon State||6'3||273|
|1||9||Buffalo Bills||Mike Evans||WR||Texas A&M|
|2||41||Buffalo Bills||Jimmie Ward||S||Northern Illinois|