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 four players that could help each team. This will feature picks 1 and 2, a mid round gem and a late round sleeper.
The Bills have fully emerged out of the Patriots shadow in the AFC East and have a young team who could be dominant for a while. Adding more talent around Josh Allen could see them take the next step.
Round 1 - Pick 30 - Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame
The Bills protection of Josh Allen was key to their offensive success in 2020. In Daryl Williams they found an elite right tackle. Posting a 79.4 PFF grade, Williams could be hot property in the upcoming free agency market. Should the Bills not be able to retain him then they have to find a suitable replacement. While Cody Ford has played some tackle, he looked infinitely more comfortable at guard. Taking a prospect like Liam Eichenberg could be one solution.
Eichenberg isn’t a flashy prospect but is a powerful edge protector. Following on from the likes of Ronnie Stanley and Mike McGlinchey, Eichenberg appears to be the next off the production line from Notre Dame. His strong anchor makes him difficult to shift. He will need to make progress with his feet to negate speed rushers but starting on the right side will help.
Round 2 - Pick 62 - Ronnie Perkins, DE, Oklahoma
Ronnie Perkins is a difficult evaluation. He doesn’t fit the mould of a natural defensive end. His listed height of 6’3 may be a stretch. Perkins is a short, stocky edge rusher who lacks true speed or explosion. What you do get with Perkins is a ton of effort and a non-stop motor. His violent hands work him free, meaning he does get to the QB regularly. Not only that but he is an effective run and chase tackler.
The Bills took AJ Epenesa early in the 2020 Draft but he didn’t make a huge impact particularly not as a pass rusher. They continued to rely on the 32 year old Jerry Hughes. Perkins would likely be a situational pass rusher to begin with but he could be an eventual successor to Hughes, built in a similar mould. Developing behind a player like Hughes seems to be an ideal landing spot for the former Oklahoma defender.
Mid Round Gem - Pick 93 - Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
The Bills have had a pretty good return from their cornerback position. They locked up star man Tre’Davious White to a bumper deal and supplemented him with Levi Wallace and Taron Johnson. Considering Wallace was an undrafted free agent and Johnson a fourth round pick, that’s good going. Both have contract question marks in the next couple of years meaning the position will be high on the draft agenda.
Stanford’s Paulsen Adebo is a long, physical corner. While Adebo has straight line speed his size can make him susceptible to double moves and quicker receivers. Gabriel Davis made the most of that in their 2018 meeting, however, Davis’ success in the league may dispel some of those worries. While that remains a black mark on Adebo’s resume his size and speed make him an intriguing prospect. If you keep the play in front of him then Adebo can be a talented outside corner.
Late Round Sleeper - Pick 175 - Marquez Stevenson, WR, Houston
Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, John Brown and Cole Beasley are a wildly talented group of receivers who have allowed Josh Allen to thrive. They should remain intact through the 2021 season but Brown will be a free agent in 2022. Taking a late round punt on a dynamic receiver like Houston’s Marquez Stevenson would be a gamble worth taking.
Stevenson has a versatile skill set. As with most speed receivers he is a livewire after the catch as well being utilised in end arounds. However, the gadget stuff is only part of his game. While his route tree wasn’t overly diverse he was a true number 1 threat for the Cougars. His ability in contested situations is excellent and with NFL coaching he could be a late round dark horse.
Draft In Full:
30. Liam Eichenberg (OT, Notre Dame)
62. Ronnie Perkins (DE, Oklahoma)
93. Paulson Adebo (CB, Stanford)
162. Tommy Kraemer (iOL, Notre Dame)
175. Marquez Stevenson (WR, Houston)
215. Antjuan Simmons (LB, Michigan State)
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.