BUFFALO, N.Y. [WKBW] — After months of anticipation, we finally know how the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft played out. There were a few surprises, but all things considered, the board fell how a lot of experts projected. So who is still available and what guys should the Bills be targeting?
Here are some of the top players available, who likely won't be available for the Bills at No. 54. That said, Brandon Beane has shown he's aggressive and willing to move up to get the players he desires. Any of these three players would make sense if the Bills looked to move up the board.
EDGE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa
EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State
LB Zack Braun, Wisconsin
OT, Ezra Cleveland, Boise State
As for the more realistic options who could be on the board *if* the Bills stay at No. 54:
EDGE, Terrell Lewis, Alabama
It will always bother me that Lewis wore No. 24 while at Alabama. Nevertheless, Lewis is a very talented player who has had injury troubles during his time at Alabama, playing just 26 games.
In 2019, Lewis registered 31 tackles and six sacks in 11 games played. It was far and away his best season at Alabama, yet some believe, he's just scratching the surface. There will be injury concerns for whatever team drafts Lewis, but with players like Mario Addison, Jerry Hughes, and Trent Murphy already on the roster, the Bills could afford to take a swing on a player with big upside.
WR, Tee Higgins, Clemson
Before the Diggs deal went down, plenty of fans and experts linked the Bills to the big-bodied WR from Clemson. For whatever reason, Higgins slid out of the first-round and could very well be available at No. 54.
While the Bills don't need to add another WR, I think it makes sense if they have a high-grade on Higgins or any other wideouts for that matter. John Brown and Cole Beasley are both older than 30 and have contracts that expire in two seasons. Making the transition into the NFL can be a big adjustment for young pass-catchers and this would allow the Bills to ease a player into an expanded role as the season moved along.
CB Trevon Diggs, Alabama
Wouldn't it be something if the Bills added two of the Diggs brothers in the matter of a month and a half? Some analysts had the youngest Diggs as the third-rated CB in this draft class. Others thought he would be a second-day pick. Turns out, the latter turned out to be true.
Like his brother, Trevon was once a WR, so his ball skills are very impressive for a defensive back. Diggs has ideal size for a defensive back and runs well. His critics say consistency was a problem while at Alabama and a few bad games overshadowed his promising skill-set. That said, if Diggs is available at No. 54, it would be a smart pick for the Bills, who have plenty of questions opposite Tre'Davious White.
DB Kyle Dugger, Lenoir-Rhyne
Dugger has been called by some the NFL Draft’s best-kept secret. Unlike many of his peers, Dugger played at the small Division-ll school Lenoir-Rhyne in North Carolina.
If selected by the Bills, Dugger would likely take over the starting job at the big nickel position. If we have learned anything about Sean McDermott, it's that he loves versatility with his players on defense and that's what Dugger would bring. He could line up in the secondary, alongside the linebackers or even on the defensive line.
DB Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois
Just like Dugger, Chinn would be the guy to come in and take over the big nickel job on the Bills defense. He's a bit taller than Dugger but has a different skillset. While Dugger excels in stuffing the run, Chinn thrives in pass coverage.
The Athletic writer and 7 ABC contributor Joe Buscaglia has said several times the drop off after Dugger and Chinn is huge, which is why both players make sense for the Bills. The Bills have bigger needs, but remember, Brandon Beane doesn't believe in drafting for need, especially in the top three rounds.
Other intriguing options:
OLB, Josh Uche, Michigan
RB - J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State
RB - Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
RB - D'Andre Swift, Georgia
RB - Cam Akers, Flordia State
WR- Chase Claypool, Notre Dame
WR - K.J. Hamler, Penn State
WR - Laviska Shenault, Colorado
Moral of the story -- the Bills will be getting a good player in the second round, who should contribute next season. With the way their roster is built, they have the luxury of taking the best player available and adding skill, not fill a need.