Buffalo Bills Draft Overview
Entering the 2020 NFL Draft, The Buffalo Bills do not have any glaring needs. A rarity for most NFL teams. The Bills are legitimate contenders to not only win the AFC East but to compete for a championship.
The Bills didn’t get to this point overnight. Buffalo is in this position now because of the disciplined approach they have taken in free agency, and because of how successful they have been in drafting cornerstone players, since 2017.
The foundation for the teams’ future is in place, thanks to work done by General Manager Brandon Beane and Head Coach Sean McDermott. The last three drafts for Buffalo have produced these starting players;
2017-2019 Free Agency
The Bills have taken a quantity-based approach in free agency. The first three years of free-agent signings for Buffalo have produced these vital contributors to the team;
2020 Leap Year
The teams’ biggest splash acquisition in four years came in the trade for WR Stefon Diggs. The move for Diggs is a calculated risk, designed to help quarterback Josh Allen get to the next level. The deal is an indication of how close the Bills brass feels that they are to taking that next big leap forward. Because they were willing to commit big money and significant draft capital to bet on what they think is a proven commodity in Stefon Diggs.
It was business as usual for the Bills in free agency. Once again, Buffalo steered clear of overpaying for players. The team stuck with the quantity approach that they have utilized in recent years. The focus of the 2020 free agent haul was on players who can provide depth like;
The list above is indicative of the type of roster moves that the Bills have made in recent years. The latest crop of free-agent signings represent a group of hold the forte type players, brought in to supplement the roster in the short term.
The Bills feel that their time is now. Because of this, I wouldn’t rule out Buffalo being aggressive and trading up the draft board. Buffalo is without a first-round pick because of the Stefon Diggs trade. So, to get back into round one, Buffalo’s 2021 1st round pick would have to be part of any potential deal.
Here is my mock draft for Buffalo (No trades).
Round 2: (54)- Darrell Taylor– DE/Edge- Tennessee
At Defensive-End, Buffalo has Jerry Hughes (31) and Mario Addison (32) as their two starters. As a result, youth at the position is a priority moving forward. Darrell Taylor is a potential long-term solution for the Bills. Taylor produced 16.5 sacks in his last two years in Tennessee. At 6’4 and 267 pounds, Taylor has all the physical traits necessary to develop into a dangerous edge rusher.
Round 3: (86)- Antoine Winfield Jr.– DB- Minnesota
Some could see this as strictly a nostalgia selection, but the Bills defense needs depth and versatility at defensive back. The ball-hawking Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. is the son of former Bills All-Pro Cornerback, Antoine Winfield. Winfield Jr. is one of the draft’s most intelligent and versatile defensive players. He was a three-time All-Academic player in the Big Ten. Winfield’s 5’9 size has some teams wondering if he is more of a slot corner than a safety. Winfield has also missed time in the past due to injuries. His draft projections have been all over the map. If Winfield falls, as a result of it, Buffalo should draft him.
Round 4: (128)- Michael Ojemudia– CB- Iowa
Buffalo’s acquisitions of veteran cornerbacks, E.J. Gaines and Josh Norman, gives them the flexibility to draft for upside at the position. The former Hawkeye, Michael Ojemudia, is long and athletic with great physical tools. At 6’1 200lbs, with a 36 inch vertical, a 78-inch wingspan, and a clocked 40 time of 4.45. Ojemudia presents them with someone who has long term potential to start on the outside.
Round 5: (167)- Antonio Gibson– RB/WR- Memphis
A year ago, many draft pundits pegged Bills Running back Devin Singletary as a fourth to sixth-round pick. Despite Singletary’s productivity in college. Some saw him as no more than a change of pace back due to his size. However, The Bills saw him differently and drafted Devin in the third round to be their feature back.
A prospect like Antonio Gibson, on the other hand, appears to be the opposite type of player. A late bloomer at Memphis, Gibson’s productivity came towards the tail end of his college run. Measuring at over 6 feet and weighing 228lbs. You wouldn’t expect a player at Gibson’s size to have 4.39 speed. He’s not your typical offensive player, to begin with. Gibson goes against type. In college, Antonio Gibson was an explosive tackle-breaking player at RB/WR and had seven touchdowns of over 40 yards. For the Bills, Antonio Gibson can be a matchup problem for defenses because of his traits as a runner and receiver. The skillset of Gibson may be the perfect complement to Singletary.
Round 6: (188)- Trey Adams– OT- Washington
Trey Adams has the classic backstory of what is known as a “red flag player.” So, Back in 2017, Adams was considered a potential early-round draft pick. At 6’8 and 320lbs, Adams had the measurables of a possible starting offensive tackle in the NFL. However, Adams’s junior season ended with a torn ACL, and in his senior year, he ended up having back surgery.
Trey Adams was able to recover from this adversity and earn First Team All-Pac 12 honors, but there are questions about his long term prospects and health. Because of Adams’s history, he is going to be available on Day 3. The Bills have Cody Ford penciled in as their starting right tackle. However, there was talk of moving Ford inside to guard. Buffalo could be in the market for a long term solution at tackle. In round six, the roll of the dice on Trey Adams may be worth the reward.
Round 6: (207)- Thaddeus Moss– TE- LSU
Moss is the son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss. Despite the lineage, Thaddeus is a different type of player than his father was. In fairness, very few players have ever compared to Randy Moss. Thaddeus Moss is an excellent run blocker and a safety valve in the passing game. Moss developed late in his college career. He started showing signs of improvement at the end of his run at LSU. Moss had developed chemistry with Heisman winning quarterback Joe Burrow. He scored two touchdowns in the national title game victory over Clemson. For the Bills, Thaddeus would provide a nice contrast from their young tight end, Dawson Knox. It would give Buffalo a promising young tandem at the position.
Round 7: (239)- Shaquille Quarterman– LB- Miami
Quarterman will not wow with his size (6’0 234) or his speed (4.7), but his productivity is hard to overlook. The first-team All-ACC player was a tackling machine at Miami. Quarterman never missed a start in college, proving himself to be very reliable. Linebacker is not an area of a great need for Buffalo, but that’s a prevailing theme with the entire Bills draft. The 2020 draft is more about building for 2021 and beyond.
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