Buffalo Bills: Draft Grades and Recap


During this week’s NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills built up assets to help construct the future of their franchise.

The Buffalo Bills’ team slogan this season is “Playoff Caliber” as Sean McDermott and staff look to get back into the playoffs like they did during his rookie season as a coach. The 2018 draft was when the Bills laid the foundation and drafted their hopeful franchise quarterback Josh Allen; they also drafted their defensive leader in Tremaine Edmunds.

This year’s free agency period saw the Bills signing a bunch of low-risk experienced players, such as John Brown, Cole Beasley, Kevin Johnson, and E.J Gaines. They also signed a handful of offensive lineman to help keep Allen upright. The needs for the Bills were edge rusher, tight end, offensive line, defensive tackle, wide receiver, and cornerback.

Round 1, Selection 9

Ed Oliver, Defensive Tackle, Houston

Grade: A+


Oliver was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and lived up to that during his time at Houston. He is the ideal three-technique in a 4-3 defense.

In his three seasons as a Cougar, he recorded 192 total tackles, 53 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. Oliver is best off the snap with a quick first step and ability to throw the offensive lineman off. He has elite penetration ability and always seems to find his way into the backfield. His size is the concern moving up into the NFL, as he is considered undersized at 6-foot-2 and 290 pounds.


He would be able to fill into Kyle Williams’s old position where there is a little more freedom to move around and shoot the gaps. Currently, the Bills have Jordan Phillips as their only real three-technique lineman, but they have a solid mix with Star Lotulelei and fan favorite Harrison Phillips in the rotation. His size is the concern, as he is considered undersized at 6-foot-2 and 290 pounds.

Round 2, Selection 38


Cody Ford, Offensive Lineman, Oklahoma

Grade: A

The Bills came into this offseason with a plan to build up their offensive line and protect Allen. They signed six different players in free agency and plan to have them all compete for a starting job.

Ford has the versatility to play either tackle or guard; that is what the Bills like in their players. He is a first-round talent but the Bills were able to get him in the early second. Ford in a mauler and has a relentless motor which helps him be a monster in the run game. He also has quick feet to get into his pass protect set.

Finally, it also helps that Ford has played with mobile quarterbacks who are able to extend the play, which is Allen’s strength.

Round 3, Selection 74

Devin Singletary, Runningback, Florida Atlantic

Grade: B

Coming into the draft, most people and draft experts assumed that the Bills would pull the trigger and draft a running back. The Bills have the oldest running back room in the league with LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore.

Singletary has a lot of the same skill set that McCoy has; quick feet, can cut on a dime, receiving out of the backfield, and balance. He projects best in a zone running system which the Bills use. He has had a heavy workload with over 700 carries in his three years.

Round 3, Selection 96

Dawson Knox, Tight End, Ole Miss

Grade: B+

Coming into the draft, one of the Bills’ biggest needs was tight end, only having Tyler Kroft (who is coming off an injury), Jason Croom (undrafted rookie free agent two years ago), and Jake Fisher (who was a tackle who is converting to the position) at the tight end post.

Knox has the size and speed most teams are looking for at the tight end position. He has shown that he is an above average blocker and with the right coaching can improve. While his production is limited due to the offense he played in along with the other weapons on his team, he has shown natural ball skills with the ability to adjust when the ball is in the air.

Round 5, Selection 147

Vosean Joseph, Linebacker, Florida

Grade: B+

The Bills are set at the starters in the linebacker corp but need to find depth players. With young first-year player Tremaine Edmunds in the middle with Matt Milano and grizzly veteran Lorenzo Alexander, there is room on the 53 man roster for players who can contribute on special teams.

The first thing you notice when watching the film on Joseph is the speed that he is able to use in his lateral movements. He has shown good coverage skills while covering tight ends and running backs out of the backfield. He has experience playing on special teams and also spoke on the record saying he loves kick-off coverage when he can get a head of steam and hit people.

Round 6, Selection 184

Jaquan Johnson, Safety, Miami

Grade: B-

The Bills are set at safety with starters Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. Even with the depth at the position they have veteran Rafael Bush who can play both spots. With this pick, I would think that they went with the best player on their board.

Johnson has a non-stop motor that goes whistle to whistle. He plays bigger than his size and is only 190 pounds. With the Hurricanes, he was able to play out of a free-range center field position. Johnson plays special teams and if he is looking to stick to the roster he will have to show his skills there.

Round 7, Selection 225

Darryl Johnson, EDGE, North Carolina A&T

Grade: C+

In the final round of the draft, you tend to try to select players who you may be able to develop. This pick was also a need heading into the draft as the Bills’ top two edge rushers are in the final year of their contract.

Johnson stands at 6-foot-6 and 253 pounds, with great length. It is a trait many teams look for, as it is something you can not teach. Over the past two seasons, he racked up 17 sacks in only 24 games.

Round 7, Selection 228

Tommy Sweeney, Tight End, Boston College

Grade: B

The Bills looked to add depth to their tight end position with their final pick of the NFL Draft. They added Knox in the third round.

Sweeney has had three straight seasons of consistent production. He has shown that he can be a productive receiving tight end; as a junior, he led the team with 512 yards on only 36 catches. Sweeney will have a chance to stick on the roster with the competition at the position, but he will have to show he can contribute on special teams.

Overall, the Bills’ draft grade would be a B+. They started off strong with building up the trenches on both sides of the ball, and then drafted their most needed position by getting Knox and Sweeney at tight end. It will probably take three to four years to know how this class will hold up over the past classes.


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