Buffalo Bills Pre Free Agency 2022 Seven Round Mock Draftby Christopher Gallagher March 11, 2022 0 comments
The Buffalo Bills won 11 games during the 2021 season. This led the Bills to capture the AFC East title for the second straight season. Ultimately falling short of their Super Bowl goal, the Bills were defeated by the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round of the AFC playoffs. By virtue of this, they are currently slated to select 25th overall in round one of the draft. The Bills also hold eight more selections throughout the weekend, including five in the final three rounds. Home to one of the best rosters in the NFL, the franchise has needs at cornerback and on the interior of their offensive line. Furthermore, the group could also look to add another weapon at wide receiver for Josh Allen.
To help with this mock draft, I used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator.
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Round 1, Pick 25: Zion Johnson, iOL, Boston College
Failing to develop any continuity between them last season, the Bills’ offensive line struggled mightily at different points in the year. They battled injuries all season long, leading to a lot of shifting amongst the position group. Shot into a starter’s role after Jon Feliciano and rookie Spencer Brown missed time, Cody Ford failed to establish himself as an every-down player along the interior. Needing to upgrade their depth at the position, Nelson would provide the team with a capable day one starter at either guard spot. Choosing to transfer to Boston College after beginning his college career at Davidson, he is both smart and physical in pass protection. Furthermore, he has the power and the lateral mobility to win as a run blocker and get to the second level.
For more on Johnson, check out our scouting report on him.
Round 2, Pick 57: George Pickens, WR, Georgia
Once regarded as one of the top receivers in the draft class, Pickens saw his stock take a hit after suffering an ACL injury during the Bulldog’s spring practice last March. He was able to make it back during the team’s run to the National Championship. The junior appeared in five games while hauling in five receptions for 107 yards. He has all the intangibles to be a downfield threat at the pro level. The Alabama native can run a diverse route tree while possessing natural hands at the catch point. One of the best wide receiver cores across the league, Buffalo could be without both Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders next season. They need to keep finding weapons for their superstar quarterback. This would be a steal late in the second round.
For more on Pickens, check out our scouting report on him.
Round 3, Pick 69: Myjai Sanders, EDGE, Cincinnati
Looking to reload at the edge spot this offseason, Buffalo has multiple question marks to address at the position. Both longtime veterans Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison are pending unrestricted free agents. They will both likely command a raise on the open market, meaning general manager Brandon Beane could look to move off both players. Requiring an impact pass rusher as they look to get over the hump in the AFC next year, Sanders can be a rotational piece at the NFL level. Known for his ability to get off the ball, the University of Cincinnati product provides a handful for opposing offensive tackles with his speed around the corner. Needing to improve as a run defender, he would be a nice compliment to A.J. Epenesa and Gregory Rousseau
Round 4, Pick 128: Akayleb Evans, CB, Missouri
Buffalo was once again one of the top defenses in the NFL a year ago. The team led the league in passing yards against with just 176.7 allowed per game. Led by their outstanding safety tandem in Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, the group lost all-pro cornerback Tre’Davious White to a season-ending ACL injury. Forced to rely on their young duo of Levi Wallace and Dane Jackson, both players filled in admirably on the outside. However, with Wallace set to hit unrestricted free agency, the former undrafted free agent is set to command a raise. A developmental boundary cornerback, Evans choose to transfer to Missouri after three years at Tulsa. He has the makeup to be a long physical shutdown defensive back down the road.
Round 5, Pick 167: Matt Henningsen, DL, Wisconsin
In need of a true one technique defensive tackle, the Bills need a running mate to pair with Ed Oliver. Former fourth-round pick Harrison Phillips will be looking for a new contract. After signing a five-year deal with the team as a free agent in 2018, Star Lotulelei projects to be a money-shedding casualty. Choosing to opt out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, the 32-year-old is set to count for $9.2 million against the cap this year. A leader for the Badgers’ defense over his time with the program, the senior led the defensive line in sacks and tackles this past season. A powerful player in the interior, he has the balance and strength to eat up double team blocks and penetrate gaps.
Round 6, Pick 183: Hassan Haskins, RB, Michigan
Struggling to move the ball on the ground throughout a large chunk of their 2021 campaign, Sean McDermott‘s group needs another playmaker at the position. Showing flashes during the season’s final month, the team will likely role with Devin Singletary as their lead back next season. However, former third-round pick Zack Moss was unreliable all year long as he struggled mightily to provide consistent production on the field. This led him to become benched in favor of veteran Matt Breida. Enjoying a resurgence in his final year with the Michigan Wolverines, Haskins rushed for 1,327 yards in 14 games while adding in 20 touchdowns. A durable one cut back, who is physical in between the tackles, he would help the Bills’ offense become less reliant on their superstar quarterback.
Round 6, Pick 202: Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
A former four-star recruit out of Central High School in Phoenix, Arizona, Ross was the seventh overall rated player in the nation. Ultimately landing at the University of Clemson, the 6’3″ wideout was one of the most productive players in the country during his first two years. He caught 112 passes for 1,865 yards and 17 touchdowns. However, after suffering a stinger following a collision in spring training, it was revealed that the 22-year-old would have a congenital fusion and a bulging disk. This led him to undergo spinal surgery. He was able to make it back for his final season with the program in 2021. The Alabama native would be a nice chess piece for new offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey with his ability to move all over the formation.
Round 7, Pick 228: Daniel Bellinger, TE, San Diego State
Reportedly set up upgrading at the tight end position in the offseason, the Bills have shown interest in Rob Gronkowski and Evan Engram. Buffalo enjoyed a breakout 2021 campaign from Dawson Knox. The Ole Miss product hauled in 49 passes for 587 yards and nine touchdowns. He became a go-to guy in the passing game and one of the favorite targets for Allen. Nonetheless, the group could not garner any production from any other players in the position group. Tommy Sweeney battled injuries all year long after a battle with COVID-19. A fit in any pro offensive scheme, Bellinger has the nastiness and power to move people in the run game. Furthermore, he possesses natural hands and the route running ability to win down the field as a pass-catcher.
Round 7, Pick 243: Myron Cunningham, OT, Arkansas
After beginning his college career at Western Illinois University, Cunningham chose to go to junior college. Able to earn offers from other top programs across the country, he landed at the University of Arkansas. A three-year starter with the Razorbacks, he has experience against the top pass rushers in the SEC. Possessing all the tools to be a starting right tackle in the NFL down the road, the senior offers tremendous length at 6’6″. Along with this, he can extend his arms and make opposing players run an arc around him while having the anchor to win against bull rushers. In need of depth at the tackle spot, both Brown and Williams missed time during the 2021 season. This makes it a solid late-round value selection at pick 243.
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