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Bove: The Buffalo Bills should still be considering WR at No. 54

Wake Forest Clemson Football
Posted at 7:24 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 19:26:45-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. [WKBW] — How many times have we heard this is the deepest wide receiver class in years? That can be interpreted a lot of different ways. To me, it says in the second or third round, there will be some really good players left on the board. So while the Diggs trade makes WR much less of a need, the position shouldn’t be ignored.

Diggs was brought in to be the true No. 1 WR this team has been yearning for and I loved the move for the Bills. But what about the guys lining up beside him?

Both John Brown and Cole Beasley are older than 30, which doesn’t mean they won’t contribute, but it does mean they are in the second half of their careers. That’s not a bad thing, especially after their strong seasons in 2019. That said, both only have two years left on their deals, so it’s not too early to start thinking about the future.

Another important factor — both players made it through last season without any injuries that caused them to miss a game. Before you yell at me and say they each played 15 games last season, both players sat the final regular-season game as a precautionary measure.

As a whole, the Bills were incredibly healthy last season, but there’s no guarantee the trend continues in 2020. If the injury bug bites and the Bills are without Diggs, Brown, or Beasley for any extended amount of time, a second-round pick would likely be the guy to which they turned. If no injuries happen, it's the perfect situation to ease a player onto the field without forcing too much responsibly. Zay Jones is the perfect example of this. If not thrust into such an important role immediately, he might still be in Buffalo contributing.

As for the other players already in the room, Isaiah McKenzie, who was the Bills No. 3 target last year, wasn’t originally tendered by the team. This tells me they think he’s a complementary piece and not a building block. Robert Foster, who jumped on to the scene in 2018, had just three (!) receptions in 2019. Duke Williams, for all you believers out there, has 12 career receptions. If the Houston playoff game is any indication, he’ll get more usage this season. Yet, it wouldn’t be wise to bank on Williams to eventually turn into a true No. 1 or No. 2 wideout.

So while wide receiver isn’t an immediate need, it soon might be, which is why the idea of drafting a pass-catcher shouldn't be scoffed at. Chances are, there will be someone who slides down the draft board. It seems to happen every year and it will again later this week.

In 2019, it was A.J. Brown [pick No. 51] and DK Metcalf [pick No. 64]. If you told most fans last year both Brown and Metcalf would fall that far, they would’ve called you crazy. Perhaps this year it’ll be Tee Higgins from Clemson who falls, or maybe Brandon Aiyuk from Arizona State, Chase Claypool from Notre Dame, or even Laviska Shenault from Colorado. There’s no telling how the first round will play out, but it’s a guarantee that there will still be some solid options available Friday.

Brandon Beane has said time and time again, he prefers to take the best player available, especially in the earlier rounds. With such a deep receiver class, there should be a player with a solid grade still available late in the second round when the Bills are on the clock. Hypothetically speaking, it makes more sense to add the eighth or ninth-ranked WR if he has a much better overall grade than the fifth-best cornerback or the sixth-best edge rusher.

Who knows, maybe there will be a run on wideouts and it won’t be worth the No. 54 pick. But if they do select a wideout in the second round, don’t grab your pitchforks. This roster is balanced and doesn’t have any huge holes, which allows the front office to take their highest-rated players on Friday, regardless of their positions.

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