Sep 21, 2013; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies offensive lineman Jake Matthews against the SMU Mustangs at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills #9 NFL Draft Pick: Who Would I Take?

My rundown through the entire first round of the NFL draft continues as I examine the Buffalo Bills who hold the #9 pick in the first round.

The Pick:  Jake Matthews – OT – Texas A&M

Pass protection is always at a premium when it comes to finding offensive linemen and there is little debating that Jake Matthews is the best of the bunch in the 2014 class.  He’s big, nimble, durable, strong and quick on his feet.  The bloodlines run deep with his Hall of Fame father Bruce Matthews.  The kid was born to play offensive lineman and he did it with great success at Texas A&M.

Why:  E.J. Manuel could thrive with bookend tackles

There is no question the jury is still out on E.J. Manuel.  He looked good at times last season and then struggled at others.  That’s typical of a rookie.  If he really is their future it is up to the Buffalo Bills front office to give him every opportunity to succeed.  A great way to do that is give him more time to throw.  That means bolstering his protection.  The team gave up 48 sacks in 2013, tied for fourth-most in the league.  Safe to say that is not the best way to gain offensive success.  Manuel needs better blockers.  He already has a solid left tackle in Cordy Glenn.  Putting somebody on the right side who can pass protect would make life so much easier.  Matthews played all of 2012 at that position, so it’s quite familiar to him and the best part is he could always move over if required.

Argument:  Sammy Watkins and Anthony Barr might fill bigger needs

The Buffalo Bills would be faced with a tough decision here for sure.  There are still some quality options on the board, starting with Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins.  His speed, toughness, lower body strength and great hands make him the best pass target in the NFL draft and the team would love to put him next to Stevie Johnson.  Then there is UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr.  Though a 3-4 type he has plenty of athleticism to find a home in the Bills defense next to Kiko Alonso and his pass rush ability would be a huge bonus.

Counter-argument:  Draft depth at receiver makes Matthews better target

Frankly, Buffalo should have plenty of opportunities to add one or two quality receivers in free agency and the draft.  Meanwhile Barr is a good player but he’s still a little too raw and unproven to go 9th overall.  Matthews is proven, polished and ready to start from day one.  That is what the Bills both want and need at this junction of their construction plan.

That is why I would take Jake Matthews if I were in charge.  What are your thoughts?

Tags: Anthony Barr Buffalo Bills E.J. Manuel Jake Matthews NFL Draft Sammy Watkins

  • Thomas Eric

    I’d take Mathews or Watkins with 9 too good to pass up

    • Erik Lambert

      Can’t argue with that.

  • gdubb

    That’s if..A big If I seriously doubt either will be available at that pick

  • Bryce Stanton

    I would take Watkins over Mathews

  • chas territo

    The double EE’s before anyone else. Ebron and Evans are the better first fits for the bills, more so than any O-line player(s). With as many decent to good O-linemen coing out don’t you think wasting a 1st round pick on one is not a smart move? Matthews will be great so everyone says, but with his family historyand his greatness comes high expense, maybe too high for a small market team like my Bills. I want my Bills to be smart, responsible and prudent. So Taking any of the big 3 O-linemen doesn’t look as good for us. Just my opinion. Ebron can be a special TE ala Gonzalez, Graham and others maybe a HOF tight end? Evans will be elite and the answer for the big pass catcher as Ebron can be too. Our defense is so close to elite status, a run stuffer or 2 and we are there. 1st round, offensive play maker, 2nd round, quarterback protector. 3rd round,run stuffer. 4th and beyond needs filling players. This would be my strategy for this draft. GO BILLS!!

  • Paul Kawalerski

    You are assuming the Bills have that choice of Matthews and Watkins. I seriously doubt whether they both will be available. I definitely feel they should go for offense in this years draft. The defense held their own last year, except for stopping the run. If Schwartz can cure that problem you essentially have O-Line, WR, and TE to address. If they can pick up either a LB or O-Lineman in FA or both, the draft would be gravy time. Look for them to pick up a developmental RB also later in the draft with both Fred Jackson and Spiller’s contract coming due next year. I doubt they would keep both of them. If Jackson can stay healthy this year and Spiller has another year like last year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bills pass on him next year.

    • chas territo

      Paul, I’m confused. This reply I’m responding too can”t be mine because at no point did I say anything about O-linemen getting drafted by us, in fact I said i was against it pretty much. And I’m not sold on Watkins and us so whether he’s available at 9 is not my hope at all. If we don’t get who I think will be a potential HOFer in Ebron then the next guy is Evans who actually is a BIG WR as Watkins is not. Both have similar traits, but Evans being taller is my choice not Watkins. GO BILLS!!