(WKBW) — Here we are, another week deeper into the offseason, with another big event -- in this case the NFL Annual Meeting -- now in the rearview mirror. It's all flown by, now with under a month to go before the single-biggest roster building exercise of the calendar year.
As the 2019 NFL Draft draws near, what might the Buffalo Bills and the rest of the NFL be looking at? My newest projection, extending all the way to the Bills' second-round selection:
1) - QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
- The Josh Rosen trade talk seems to be picking up steam, and without any public commitment from anyone over at the Arizona Cardinals, the pairing of Murray and head coach Kliff Kingsbury is becoming increasingly likely.
2) **TRADE (from SF) - EDGE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
- The 49ers just invested heavily in Dee Ford which gives them some flexibility to move, and the Raiders need help on the edge in the worst way. Having draft capital to pull off a move like this, the Raiders move up to get someone that Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock, based on the players they showed to value in all their years working in media, are both likely to covet in Nick Bosa. The Jets would highly consider selecting Bosa if on the board at three, so the Raiders move to make it happen.
Trade Details: Oakland receives 2nd overall, 104th overall. San Francisco receives 4th overall, 27th overall.
3) - EDGE Josh Allen, Kentucky
- After missing out on Anthony Barr, the Jets need an infusion of talent to get after the passer -- and in the meantime, bring a second Josh Allen to the AFC East.
4) (from OAK) - DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama
- I've seen some projections of the 49ers going for wide receiver DK Metcalf, but with how many questions he has as a player, I have a hard time believing in that over a potential big value and potential impact player in Quinnen Williams -- at least at this point in time.
5) - EDGE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
- In their transition to the 3-4 defense, the Buccaneers will be in need of a pass rusher that has the athleticism to rush the passer and to drop into coverage. Sweat is a super athlete, and would slot into the starting lineup immediately.
6) - OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida
- Are the Giants investing in another year of Eli Manning being the unquestioned starter? It certainly comes off that way. If so, they bring in an offensive tackle in Taylor to help keep Manning upright.
7) - G Jonah Williams, Alabama
- Protecting Nick Foles has the be a priority because without him, this thing could go up in flames fairly quickly. This is a huge year in Jacksonville, with jobs potentially on the line if it doesn't go well enough.
8) - LB Devin White, LSU
- It's not usually the Patriot way to grab linebackers early in the draft, but desperate times call for desperate measures for head coach Matt Patricia in trying to fix the defense well enough.
9) **TRADE (from BUF) - QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
- Washington is in desperate need of some hope at the quarterback position, and they simply don't have that in the form of Case Keenum and the still-rehabbing Alex Smith. With Haskins, Jay Gruden finally has a quarterback to build around. Bills GM Brandon Beane loves taking advantage of value, and trading down with a quarterback-needy team would fit that way of operating. The Bills move down six spots, land another pick in the second round, and give up the later of their two fourth-round picks to sweeten the deal.
Trade Details: Washington receives 9th overall, 131st overall. Buffalo receives 15th overall, 46th overall.
10) - QB Drew Lock, Missouri
- While John Elway can continue to attempt to convince everyone that Joe Flacco is his starting quarterback, it can still be true and have the Broncos invest in a quarterback in the first round like Drew Lock. He cannot continue to pass off mediocre options at quarterback without a plan for the future.
11) - DT Ed Oliver, Houston
12) - TE Noah Fant, Iowa
13) - DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson
14) - DE Rashan Gary, Michigan
15) (from WAS) - TE TJ Hockenson, Iowa
- If the Buffalo Bills were to stay at ninth overall, they'd be in a little of no man's land in terms of this specific need on their roster. That's a bit earlier than you would like to be to take a swing on a tight end, but at 40th overall, the window for drafting one of the top three guys available has a good chance of being gone. And at defensive line, there is a depth to the class that can likely be found when they're on the clock in the second round. With the opportunity to allow another team to move up for a quarterback, they can move down the board while picking up another Day Two selection, and then strike where the value meets the need. That's where Iowa's TJ Hockenson comes in, who would instantly become the Bills' biggest swing on a tight end since Tony Hunter in 1983. At this week's owners meetings, Brandon Beane didn't shy away from the notion of drafting a tight end in the first round even though only six teams have done so since 2011. Sean McDermott said how Chad Lewis in Philadelphia and Greg Olsen in Carolina helped instill in him at a young age how important having a good tight end is for a quarterback, and especially for a young quarterback. And on top of it all, Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has the desire to run multiple tight end formations, and just didn't have the personnel to do so in 2018. While the Bills still could go for an offensive lineman or a defensive lineman, I don't think you should ignore tight end in round one for this team. In Hockenson, the Bills would be getting an all-around tight end that shows tremendous blocking ability already at a young age, and the movement ability to line up anywhere you want him to on offense. The Bills signed Tyler Kroft, who has a similar skill-set to Hockenson but with a lower ceiling, which would then give the Bills the chance to use both players on the field at the same time to keep defenses guessing about what's coming at them. This selection has home run potential for Josh Allen, who could come to rely on Hockenson over the course of his young career.
16) - WR DK Metcalf, Ole Miss
- The Panthers have been investing in speed in the wide receiver position, but they now lack in size. Metcalf gives them both of those things, along with another big weapon for Cam Newton to throw to. Metcalf joins DJ Moore to form a dynamic duo for the Panthers.
17) (from CLE) - EDGE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
18) - OT Andre Dillard, Washington State
19) - EDGE Brian Burns, Florida State
20) - LB Devin Bush, Notre Dame
21) **TRADE (from SEA) - OT Kaleb McGary, Washington
- Not inclined to wait around to see if offensive tackles will fall down the board, the Chargers are proactive and move up to select the towering Kaleb McGary before the Houston Texans get a chance to.
Trade Details: Los Angeles Chargers receive 21st overall. Seattle receives 28th overall, 91st overall.
22) - G Cody Ford, Oklahoma
23) - T Greg Little, Ole Miss
24) (from CHI) - CB Greedy Williams, LSU
25) - G Chris Lindstrom, Boston College
26) - DT Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State
- While the Colts won't get the immediate gratification of the draft pick due to Simmons' injury, the value of a really talented player at this point of the draft -- and with the option for a fifth season on his rookie deal as a first-round pick, is a bit too tempting to pass up.
27) (from DAL via OAK) - WR Hakeem Butler, Iowa State
- This is a swoon-worthy pairing, putting a potential WR1 like Butler with an ascending quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, with an offensive mind like Kyle Shanahan. A first-round haul of Quinnen Williams and Butler would be an epic way to start the 2019 NFL Draft.
28) (from LAC) - CB Byron Murphy, Washington
29) - CB Deandre Baker, Georgia
30) (from NO) - WR AJ Brown, Ole Miss
- Brown is an awesome prospect, and potentially putting him with Aaron Rodgers gives the versatile wide receiver star potential.
31) - C Garrett Bradbury, NC State
32) - TE Irv Smith Jr., Alabama
33) - T/G Dalton Risner, Kansas State
34) (from NYJ) - EDGE Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech
35) - RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama
36) - S Jonathan Abram, Mississippi State
37) - QB Daniel Jones, Duke
38) - WR N'Keal Harry, Arizona State
39) - S Taylor Rapp, Washington
40) - DT Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame
- If the Bills go another avenue in the first round, collecting a potential high-impact three-technique defensive tackle will be a high importance. The Bills only have Jordan Phillips on the roster on a one-year deal, without a real starter to pair with him. That makes room for Jerry Tillery, who has the size, length, and pass-rushing game that the Bills covet in that position. At the NFL Owner's Meetings, head coach Sean McDermott made mention of how critical getting pass rush help through the interior is, and even agreed with the notion that its harder to take away that production from the inside than it is against edge rushers. Tillery is not completely refined just yet, but with his combination of physical tools and the coaching that he'll receive from McDermott and defensive line coach Bill Teerlinck, it's hard not to think of the dominant potential that he presents in this defense. The argument for a player like Tillery at three-technique is the same reason for why you can talk yourself out of the Bills drafting Houston's Ed Oliver at ninth overall. Oliver lacks the functional length teams usually look for in defensive tackle, with arms that measured under 32-inches long. Tillery, on the other hand, has over a 34-inch arm length, and in the majority of moves made by the Bills since McDermott and Brandon Beane took over, they have made prototypical measurements a priority. Tillery is the prototype, and has the same type of length as the man that dominated the interior for Carolina with McDermott: Kawann Short.
41) - WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
42) - CB Amani Oruwariye, Penn State
43) - EDGE Jachai Polite, Florida
44) - IOL Erik McCoy, Texas A&M
45) - DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson
46) (from WAS) - OT Tytus Howard, Alabama State
- So with these three selections, it has the Bills addressing three spots that are of vital importance to the remainder of their offseason. With Tytus Howard, the Bills would be getting a potential high-upside left tackle that has tons of athleticism for his prototypical size (6-foot-5, 322-pounds, 34-inch arm length). According to NFL.com's Lance Zierlein, Howard is not only a former tight end in college, but also a former high school quarterback. Since that time he's been developing and is at the point where some team is going to try and hit a home run with him on Day Two. Why this fits into the Bills vision is simple: they don't have to force Howard into the starting lineup right away. Dion Dawkins is still around and they have to find out about if and/or where he's going to be a factor for the offensive line. The Bills signed Ty Nsekhe to take over one of the starting tackle positions, but at 33 years old, he's merely a short-term option. The Bills also have LaAdrian Waddle on the roster to serve as the reserve swing-tackle if Howard isn't ready for that role, either. Really, the Bills would be able to effectively redshirt Howard for one season, let new offensive line coach Bobby Johnson mold him exactly how he wants to, and then the Bills can start to figure out about him in 2020 and beyond. The traits are there, and I expect Howard will be drafted a bit earlier than many believe he will.