What needs did the Bills leave for the draft?

Free agency took care of many roster holes, but what is left for the draft to fix?

Louie DiBiase
April 03, 2020 - 1:15 am
Darrell Taylor

Photo: Randy Sartin - USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills and general manager Brandon Beane were among the most active buyers in the NFL Free Agency period last month. Trading for Stefon Diggs filled the hole of a true top wide receiver, while signing Mario Addison, Quinton Jefferson, and Vernon Butler upgraded the defensive line.

A look at the roster heading into the 2020 NFL Draft shows the Bills don't have a lot of dire weaknesses that a rookie from this class will step in and fix from Day 1. 

Without many issues on either side of the ball and the lack of a first round pick thanks to the Diggs trade, what is the organization targeting in Day 2 and 3 of the draft? What holes can they fill with picks from the second, third, and later rounds? 

Most of Buffalo's picks in this year's draft will likely come with a focus on future needs. There aren't many starting jobs up for grabs on offense or defense. 

With their first pick of the draft at the 54th overall spot in the second round, the focus could be on a few things. 

One idea Beane and head coach Sean McDermott will likely consider is bringing in an edge rusher with a high ceiling. Addison and Jerry Hughes are locked in as the two starting defensive ends, but the veterans will be 33 and 32-years-old when the regular season would normally kickoff.

It would be the perfect setup for a raw player with a lot of upside to be a third or fourth pass rusher rotating on the edge. They won't be relied on to shoulder the load, but they can see the field on a limited basis while learning behind two proven veterans. 

Going through a mock draft simulator, some names that consistently were available with the 54th pick offer this kind of potential. A prospect like Notre Dame defensive end Julian Okwara has exciting explosiveness and bend off the ball and his close-in speed is impressive. His motor is relentless. 

Michigan's Joshua Uche and Tennessee's Darrell Taylor have the bend of Mrs. Incredible getting around tackles. Throw in Alabama's Terrell Lewis and it is "upsidepalooza" on the edge. 

Defensive end isn't the only position where Buffalo can be flexible and take a more risky prospect with a high ceiling. They might like the idea of a "positionless player" on defense that could play across the formation. 

The safety tandem of Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer is expected to be among the league's best again in 2020. The linebacker duo of Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano should continue to get better. In sub-packages however, bringing in a player like Kyler Dugger from Lenoir–Rhyne, who can hit like the most physical linebackers, while getting sideline-to-sideline as fast as the most elite safeties, could only make this defense even more dangerous.

They have the flexibility to give a player like Dugger time to fully develop at a position, while allowing him to move around without being a needed starter immediately. 

On offense, veteran guard Quinton Spain re-signed to maintain stability on the interior of the offensive line, but you can never add enough lineman to protect your quarterback. 

Temple guard Matt Hennessy will be a top, proven starter likely available in the second round. St. John, and Division-III swing tackle Ben Bartch could provide Buffalo with a versatile backup in the third or fourth round. 

You can expect the selection of another tight end and running back at some point as well to add depth and competition behind Dawson Knox and Devin Singletary. 

It is rare for the Bills to head into a draft with very little immediate needs but here we are. Beane and the front office have done an excellent job of drafting and signing core pieces over the last three years, thus allowing Buffalo to be flexible and keep their options open in the 2020 draft.

Comments ()