BUFFALO, N.Y. [WKBW] — Despite not owning a first-round pick, Buffalo Bills GM Brandon Beane will get a very good prospect when his team finally is on the clock at No. 54. The question becomes -- which position makes the most sense for the Bills to select? Our 7 ABC sports team shares their opinion on what position they believe the Bills should be targeting.
Brandon Beane has always believed in taking the best player available, especially early in the draft. He's said it a thousand times and he brought it up again when he spoke with reporters leading up to the draft.
"As you move later in the draft, then you start looking at, okay, what are some needs? Because now the best player available may not make our team in the fifth round if we've already drafted someone there or filled up that position in free agency. So early on, second, third and through there, will definitely be best player offense, defense, whatever."
So assuming that philosophy holds up, Beane will likely have some intriguing options when the Bills are on the clock. So what positions are believed to be deep in this class but also fill a need for the Bills? Wide receiver, cornerback and edge rusher. In this particular class, all three of those positions are believed to be among the deepest groups. So while the Bills won't be getting a top-end player when they pick at No. 54, they should still be adding a player who will compete for a starting job.
At WR, the addition of Stefon Diggs makes it less likely for Beane to add a pass-catcher in the second round. But it would be hard to pass up players like Brandon Aiyuk from Arizona State, Tee Higgins from Clemson or Laviska Shenault from Colorado if any of them are still available when the Bills are on the clock.
Even with Diggs added to the rotation, the Bills No. 4 option heading into the season looks like it's going to be Isaiah McKenzie, who was brought back after the Bills declined to pick up his option. John Brown, who was great last season is 30 and Cole Beasley will be 31 in a few weeks. Even though WR isn't the most glaring need for the Bills, it might be hard to pass up the sixth or seventh best option in a historically deep class.
Defensively the Bills were great last year despite a lackluster pass-rush. They could certainly add a younger player to the rotation with the No. 54 pick but I think adding a cornerback makes morse sense.
Levi Wallace, who started opposite of Tre'Davious White last season, was fine but was occasionally exposed. Josh Norman, who was once one of the best cornerbacks in the game, was added to the mix but on just a one-year deal. E.J. Gaines was also brought back for his third stint in Buffalo but has had a hard time staying healthy. It's becoming a crowded room, but we don't know who will be the No. 2 corner once the season starts.
If the Bills can snatch up someone like Kristian Fulton from LSU, Trevon Diggs [Stefon's younger brother] from Alabama or Cameron Dantzler from Mississippi State, it would immediately add some young competition to a room with plenty of questions [besides Tre' White].
I'm going to say it. It's so weird not having a first-round pick.
With the Stefon Diggs trade, the Bills aren't on the clock until day two and by then, it's hard to gauge what direction they'll take. Depth is needed at a few different positions so let's highlight one on each side of the ball.
The Bills defense has been the backbone of this team for the last few seasons. We've watched them find ways to stop some of the best offenses in the league and become a consistent and dominating unit week after week. But the cornerback position intrigues me, especially this year.
Tre'Davious White has become a reliable top corner on the Bills unit but the guys behind him don't really add a whole lot of depth and desire, in my opinion. Levi Wallace each had his chance to play in that starting position last season, but dealt with injuries and wasn't very consistent. The team did add Josh Norman, a guy who can provide that veteran experience and compete for a starting job, but I don't see the harm in adding a young piece of talent. This cornerback draft class is deep and it may be hard for Beane to pass up on a talented guy who could work well alongside White.
The Bills offense was a roller-coaster last season but the one big spark we saw was running back Devin Singletary, providing fans a desire to see him get more touches. But Singletary can't carry the entire load and with Frank Gore becoming a free agent, there's a need for another body in the backfield. The Bills do have TJ Yeldon but in my opinion, he's not the guy when it comes to that No. 2 spot. Adding another body would be beneficial and with a good crop of guys in this draft class, it could be a good move if the right one is there at No. 54.
GM Brandon Beane has said many times that when it comes to his draft philosophy, they tend to select the best player available. I guess we'll see who that is.
By the end of the 2020 season, Jerry Hughes, Trent Murphy, and former Panther Mario Addison will all be 30 or older. The Bills saw 36% of their sack total in 2019 leave in free agency, with the departures of Shaq Lawson and Jordan Phillips.
There have been plenty of signings on the defensive line already, but with the 54th pick, an edge rusher for the future has to be near the top of the Bills' list of needs. Buffalo likely won't see someone like A.J. Espenesa fall into their lap, but somebody like Alabama's Terrell Lewis or Florida's Jon Greenard could help round out the rotation on the edge and become a core piece of the defense's future.
Any picks along the offensive line will indicate whether the Bills see Cody Ford as a tackle or guard for the long-term future. A mid-round pick on the interior OL could develop behind the veteran starters. A day 2 tackle could compete for a starting job.
With the offseason additions at wide receiver and cornerback, there's really no need to continue to stuff those position rooms this year. A nickel player with room to grow into an eventual starter at safety is another intriguing option, though.
Another running back to complement Devin Singletary would be a commodity, but I don't expect that move to be made any earlier than the third or fourth round. Singletary was tied for fourth in the league in yards per carry (5.1) as a rookie.