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Buffalo Bills 2014 Draft Preview

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Updated: 5/02/2014 10:51 am

(SportsNetwork.com) - Buffalo probably wouldn't mind adding another standout linebacker next to 2013 rookie star Kiko Alonso, but it might be a better idea at this point to build up around second-year quarterback E.J. Manuel in order to help the former Florida State star speed up his development.

The Bills could be in the position to snare a franchise left tackle with the ninth overall pick, either Texas A&M's Jake Matthews or Michigan's Taylor Lewan, depending on how things shake out.

Another option could be selecting the best wide receiver left on the board, especially if Matthews' teammate with the Aggies -- lengthy wideout Mike Evans -- falls. The 6-foot-5 Evans would project as a complement to Stevie Johnson and could add to an impressive young core which also includes second- year players Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin.

Safety is also an issue after losing a Pro-Bowl talent like Jairus Byrd in free agency but the best back-end defenders in this process -- Alabama's Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix and Louisville's Calvin Pryor -- aren't worthy of the ninth overall slot.

2013 Record: 6-10

Top Needs: OT, WR, LB, S, TE

First Three Picks: No. 9, No. 41, No. 73

Number of Selections: 6 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7)

CALLING THE SHOTS: GM Doug Whaley took over last May after Buddy Nix stepped down so this will be his first season piloting the draft process in western New York. Whaley has been being groomed by the Bills as assistant GM since February of 2010 and made his NFL bones in Pittsburgh where he spent 10 years in the personnel department and was instrumental in the pre-draft scouting of defensive stars like Troy Polamalu and LaMarr Woodley.

RECENT FIRST ROUND HISTORY: 2013 - E.J. Manuel (QB, Florida State); 2012 - Stephen Gilmore (CB, South Carolina); 2011 - Marcell Dareus (DT, Alabama); 2010 - C.J. Spiller (RB, Clemson); 2009 - Aaron Maybin (DE, Penn State), Eric Wood (OL, Louisville); 2008 - Leodis McKelvin (CB, Troy); 2007 - Marshawn Lynch (RB, California); 2006 - Donte Whitner (S, Ohio State), John McCargo (DT, North Carolina State); 2005 - None; 2004 - Lee Evans (WR, Wisconsin), J.P. Losman (QB, Tulane); 2003 - Willis McGahee (RB, Miami-Florida).

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