The 2017 NFL Draft will conclude on Saturday, but not before four more rounds of players are selected. And for the Buffalo Bills, they'll have -- as it stands today -- three more looks at trying to find players that can help their roster in 2017 and beyond.
The Bills have two picks in the fifth round -- 163rd and 171st overall -- and a sixth-round selection (195th overall) remaining to try to help fill some of the depth on their roster.
The hit rate in the later rounds go down considerably, but there are always gems found at that point of the draft. Who might the Bills be looking at that fit the schemes they're trying to play?
Seven players the Bills could target on Saturday:
1) CB Brian Allen, Utah
- I’ve been on board with this pairing ever since I watched Brian Allen for the first time. While he is a raw, developmental type of cornerback, the size, length, speed, and ball instincts are something are all something a team can work with. Allen is 6-foot-3 and weighs 215-pounds, and has a ridiculous arm length of 34-inches. Of the top 20 cornerback prospects, only two come close to Allen’s 34-inch arm length: Ohio State’s Gareon Conley and Colorado’s Ahkello Witherspoon — whose arms both measure a full inch shorter than Allen’s. Allen has Seattle and, now, Buffalo written all over him, so some team is probably going have to act sooner rather than later if they want him.
2) TE Jake Butt, Michigan
- Now, I don’t know that he’ll be there when the Bills get to be on the clock in the fifth round, but if he is, I think they’re in the kind of situation to be able to wait on a player that has the kind of ability that Butt has. They’re currently stocked with Charles Clay for at least another season — maybe two — which would give Butt the full time to recover from the torn ACL he suffered late in the season. At 6-foot-5 and 246-pounds, he has the dependability factor to his game to where when you need a catch, you can find him and throw it to him with confidence. He probably isn’t the All-Pro type, but he can develop into a solid starter if he comes back from the injury full force. In the fifth round, I think it’s worth the risk.
3) WR Isaiah Ford, Virginia Tech
- I would have gone with Josh Reynolds out of Texas A&M, but I don’t think he will get out of the fourth round. As for Ford, I believe he’s one of the more undervalued wide receivers in this year’s draft. At 6-foot-1 and 194-pounds, he’s a bit thin for the position right now — but has the room to grow and get stronger. Teams also might be scared off by his 4.61 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, but that’s not the guy you see coming off from the line of scrimmage. He has a quick burst of speed off the line of scrimmage that helps him win against defensive backs. Ford is also quite good in the department of contested catches and can bring in some highlight reel catches. He earned the trust of his quarterback, and when games went down to the stretch and they needed plays to be made, that quarterback was looking only for Isaiah Ford. He would, at worst, provide a great depth option along with some down-the-line starting potential.
4) RB Brian Hill, Wyoming
- The first thing you love about Brian Hill is his size. At 6-foot-1 and 219-pounds, Hill has the body type that can withstand the punishment from the bigger, faster, and stronger NFL bodies on the defensive side of the ball. Some bigger runners are more of a plodder than anything, but that simply isn’t his game. For a bigger back, he has a speed element to his game which will help him cut up the field in Rick Dennison’s zone-based scheme. I also love how well, and aggressively he takes on a defender when sitting back in pass protection — which will help him early on. With a number of good runners still on the board, there is a big possibility he’s sitting there in the fifth round for the Bills.
5) S Lorenzo Jerome, St. Francis (PA)
- At 5-foot-10 and 204-pounds, Lorenzo Jerome is small by NFL standards, but when you watch him play, you get a little bit of a Jairus Byrd vibe to him. Jerome should be considered in the fifth round for his combination of instincts and ball skills — to which he really flashed the latter when going through drills at the Senior Bowl. He isn’t a stiff mover, either, which will help him in coverage. The Bills could definitely use a third safety to backup Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, and Jerome would be one of the ball-hawking variety.
6) S Rayshawn Jenkins, Miami (FL)
- On the flip side of Jerome, there’s the bigger style of safety in Rayshawn Jenkins. At 6-foot-1 and 214-pounds, Jenkins would provide the Bills with the versatility to play at his listed spot of safety or to even come down in the box to help in run support. One of the strongest and most explosive safeties in the draft, he was among the position’s leaders in the bench press, vertical jump, and broad jump at this year’s NFL Combine. With the NFL getting smaller and smaller and opening themselves up to the idea that a bigger safety can play weak side linebacker, among the remaining options with a clean background, Jenkins might be the one best suited.
7) LB Tanner Vallejo, Boise State
- A player the Bills can probably wait to use their sixth-round selection on, Vallejo’s 2016 season was mostly defined by injuries. He’s a smaller linebacker at 6-foot-1 and 228-pounds but has the quickness to likely play either middle linebacker or weakside linebacker in Sean McDermott’s scheme. The Bills desperately need depth all across the board at the linebacker position, but with a lot of the good ones already being drafted within the first two nights, they might just be better served to wait until the sixth round with Vallejo, or even for the undrafted free agent period to begin. The Bills did reportedly work out Vallejo at Boise State, so there is at least a certain degree of interest there in the linebacker.