Perfect Picks: Buffalo Bills
With the NFL Draft approaching we will be looking at each team and evaluating where they need to improve. In this particular series we will run a seven round mock using the Draft Network Mock machine and find the ‘Perfect Picks’ for each franchise.
We will highlight five players that could help each team. This will include a ‘flex’ pick where we give you two ways a potential pick could go depending on how the board falls. All in all you will get picks 1 and 2, a mid round gem and a late round sleeper. Next up the Buffalo Bills.
It was one-and-done for the Bills in the 2019 playoffs. The season as a whole though can be viewed as a success and Buffalo will hope that they can replicate that this season. Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott have proved a great partnership and the roster reflects that. The acid test will be if Josh Allen can find the consistency to knock division rivals the Patriots off their perch. If they can find some additional contributors in the draft they may make it past wildcard weekend.
Round 1 - Pick 22 - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
If the Bills are to get the best from Allen the key is to surround him with talent. As of now the Bills roster still looks slightly short-handed at wide receiver. John Brown enjoyed a career year, going over 1000 yards for only the second time in his six year career. Cole Beasley is an excellent slot receiver but there remains space on the roster for another impactful pass catcher.
Henry Ruggs III would be exactly that. Ruggs offers speed that few else can provide. Allen can be scattergun so giving him receivers who get plenty of separation is key. Tagging Ruggs as simply a speedster is underplaying his talents. He is a polished all-rounder with buckets for hands. His long speed means he is a true home run hitter and could be the piece that pushes this offense into the elite category.
Flex Pick - Pick 22 - Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
In a loaded wide receiver class it’s difficult to see the Bills going elsewhere. However, should the top 3 on the board all be gone and with the edge rushers being underwhelming bar Chase Young, perhaps cornerbacks could pique their interest? Levi Wallace overperformed as an outside corner while Taron Johnson played well at nickel. However, there is a lack of depth.
Staying on the Alabama theme they could use a player like Trevon Diggs. Diggs was recruited as a wide receiver, just like brother Stefon who has become elite at the NFL level. It shows in his cornerback play. Diggs is a natural mover who has the ability to think like the receiver he is covering. He also has fantastic ball skills as demonstrated in the gauntlet drill at the recent NFL Combine.
Round 2 - Pick 54 - Matt Hennessy, IOL, Temple
The Buffalo Bills offensive line played at a high level in 2019. Despite not having high profile names they became an effective unit. Quinton Spain made the most of his one year deal showing he can be one of the better guards in the league. He now looks set to make big money either staying with the Bills or hitting free agency. Even if they do manage to retain Spain, further depth is needed.
Temple’s Matt Hennessy could be the first interior lineman drafted. That is most likely in the second round and he could develop in Buffalo. Despite a lack of bulk, weighing in at 307lbs and 6’4, he is stout against defensive tackles. Hennessy excels in space with quick feet and good hand placement. His ability to block at the second level and pull means he would be a good fit for a changing Bills running game. Frank Gore and the power game look to be on the way out, replaced by the more dynamic Devin Singletary.
Mid Round Gem - Pick 137 - A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College
Following on from that, the Bills should look to add depth at the running game if Gore departs. Singletary outgained Gore by 176 yards despite 15 less carries but it’s unfair to think the third round pick out of FAU can carry the full load at running back. The middle rounds of this draft will give the Bills plenty of options to build their rotation and in particular look for a bigger, more power style runner.
AJ Dillon fits that role perfectly. The Boston College back amassed 38 touchdowns and 4382 rushing yards over his three year college career. At 6’0 and a hefty 250lbs you wouldn’t be surprised to think of Dillon as a short-yardage battering ram. However, that is not the case. Dillon shows electric feet and vision to hit gaps and take runs to the house. His 4’56 in the 40 yard dash in Indy showed just how dynamic he is. Of course his size gives him the contact balance and power you would expect and he could form an explosive pairing with Singletary.
Late Round Sleeper - Pick 187 - Geno Stone, S, Iowa
The benefit of having a well balanced roster is that instead of trying to fill needs throughout the draft you can begin to add the best player available. Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde have formed an excellent partnership at safety and the tandem will be together for 2020. Beyond that who knows, Poyer’s deal expires in 2021 so the Bills could look to find a long-term replacement in the later rounds.
Iowa’s Geno Stone could be considered somewhat of a steal if he’s still on the board come round 7. A fluid athlete, the first thing that jumps out on tape is his ability to knife through opposition offenses to find the QB or stop a runner behind the first down marker. Stone is a genuine all rounder as shown from his 6 interceptions and 4 fumbles during his college career. Adding him to the secondary would allow the Bills to potentially shift Hyde to nickelback if they want three safeties on the field.
Draft in full
22. Henry Ruggs III (WR)
54. Matt Hennessy (IOL)
86. Jonathan Greenard (Edge)
118. Jordan Elliott (DT)
137. A.J. Dillon (RB)
149. Mykal Walker (LB)
168. Chris Williamson (CB)
181. Michael Pittman Jr (WR)
187. Geno Stone (S)
formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at stripehype.com