After winning the AFC East for the first time since 1995 in 2020, the Buffalo Bills hold the 30th pick in the upcoming NFL Draft by virtue of their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game. One of the most complete young rosters in football, the Bills will look to improve their rushing attack from a year ago as they look to get back to the Super Bowl once again. They finished 24th in the league in yards per game, with just 104 averaged per contest. Holding just seven picks as a result of their trade for star wide receiver Stefon Diggs, the team has needs across the roster at offensive tackle, guard, edge, and cornerback.
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Round 1, pick 30: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson
Dynamic through the air in 2020, Buffalo ranked third in passing yards per game and second in points per game. However, after ranking seventh in the league in rush yards per game in 2019, the team took a major step back this past season, leading to a 24th ranking. In need of a true lead back after both Devin Singletary and Zack Moss struggled mightily during stretches, look for them to target the position at the end of the first round. One of the most productive college rushers in recent memory, Etienne rushed for over 4,900 yards during his four-year career at Clemson, with over seven yards averaged per carry. A potent pass-catching option out of the backfield, he is the perfect weapon for an offense loaded with talent.
Round 2, pick 61: Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB, Syracuse
A target of the Bills during the pre-draft process, Melifonwu reportedly met with the team at the senior bowl in January. Rising quickly on draft boards, he offers the length, range, and athleticism to start outside at cornerback in the NFL. He is a strong run defender and a sure tackler, with over 80 tackles during his three years in college. Offering the most upside in a primary zone scheme, Melifonwu is a strong fit for Sean McDermott and company. In dire need of an upgrade at the number two cornerback spot, both Josh Norman and Levi Wallace failed to produce consistently in 2020. After finishing fourth in pass yards per game in 2019, the group allowed over 230 yards per game last season.
For more on Melifonwu, check out our scouting report on him here
Round 3, pick 93: Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa
A full-time starter for the Panthers in 2019, Brown offers rare length and mobility at the tackle position. Standing at 6’8 and weighing in at over 300 pounds, the redshirt junior can set quickly against speed rushers and redirect them back inside. He also has both the athleticism and power as a run blocker to open up angles and drive his opponent out of the play. Nasty on the field from whistle to whistle, look for him to need time to acclimate to NFL-level competition. With Jon Feliciano, Ike Boettger, and Brian Winters set to hit free agency, expect the Bills to address the offensive line early on in the draft. Furthermore, as current right tackle Daryl Williams remains on an expiring contract, Brown offers a candidate for his eventual replacement.
Round 5, pick 161: Chauncey Golston, Edge, Iowa
Showing flashes of becoming a rotational piece along the defensive line, Gholston offers tremendous quickness and hand technique. Additionally, he can set the edge on early downs and redirect outside runs inside while making plays in pursuit. He was productive over four seasons with the Hawkeyes, racking up 129 tackles, with 27 of them for a loss. However, the redshirt senior will need to improve his strength at the point of attack at the next level. Gholston will also need refinement as a pass rusher to become successful at bringing down quarterbacks at the NFL level. Remaining in need of a younger option at the edge position, both Mario Addison and Jerry Hughes are entering the final year of their deals. A value pick in the middle rounds, Chauncey would provide the group much-needed depth.
Round 5, pick 174: Jack Anderson, IOL, Texas Tech
Durable during his freshman and sophomore seasons at Texas Tech, Anderson made more than 25 consecutive starts at guard for the Red Raiders. However, the senior would ultimately see his 2020 campaign become cut short by a season-ending shoulder injury. Solid in pass protection, he can maintain a steady anchor point with strong hand placement against interior rushers. Along with this, he is also able to pull on power running plays as a lead blocker. Furthermore, he also possesses the versatility and experience to play in multiple blocking schemes. Quickly becoming a need in Western New York with three of the team’s guards from a season ago set to hit free agency, Anderson would provide the Bills with a developmental day-three prospect. He is capable of becoming a starter at either the left or right guard positions.
Round 6, pick 211: Whop Philyor, WR, Indiana
Primarily operating as a slot receiver during his time at Indiana, Philyor is explosive in the open field. Uberly productive during his final two seasons in college, the 22-year-old recorded more than 1,400 yards through the air. Moreover, he averaged more than 11 yards per catch while pitching in eight touchdowns. Able to run away from defenders with a quick burst, Philyor also has strong hands, allowing him to win at the catch point. A perfect fit for Brian Daboll’s vertical passing offense, he would provide another potent deep threat for Allen and company after the release of John Brown. Furthermore, Whop would also allow the team to spell time for Cole Beasley in the slot with the ability to take over for the veteran down the line.
Round 7, pick 234: Aashari Crosswell, S, Arizona State
Appearing in just one game for the Sun Devils in 2020, Crosswell was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. However, the former four-star prospect remained an impact player for the Sun Devils over his three-year tenure. Recording 93 tackles, 19 passes defended, and six interceptions in 26 games, he earned a 76.8 coverage grade according to Pro Football Focus College. With both Kurt Coleman and Dean Marlowe set to hit free agency, starting strong safety, Jordan Poyer is also heading into the final year of his deal. Primarily operating as a deep safety, he also possesses the versatility to match up in the slot. Known for his outstanding ball skills, Aashari would provide the Bills with positional depth at the safety spot.
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