Buffalo Bills

The Bills are pick-rich heading into draft season – but who will they select?

Texas A&M Christian Kirk

We may have only just passed the half-way point of the season, but after a couple of recent woeful performances against the Jets and Saints, something has become very clear: The Buffalo Bills have a number of needs heading into the 2018 Draft.

Starting with RB, LeSean McCoy is showing his age, at last. To be fair, he hasn’t received much help from the offensive line, which has struggled in creating space for the running game; as well as giving QB Tyrod Taylor time to pass, for that matter. The receiving group is among the worst in the league and there are on-going concerns over the health of TE Charles Clay’s knee.  And that’s just the offensive side of the ball (I’ll get to the QB situation shortly). Defensively, they traded their best player in DT Marcel Dareus, and fellow interior lineman Kyle Williams can only defy his advancing years for so long. The defensive backfield started strong but has declined of late, and depth at linebacker is a concern.

The new pairing of Head Coach Sean McDermott and General Manager Brandon Beane hasn’t been shy about overhauling this roster, but so far, more talent has left than has arrived. The one thing the Bills are not lacking in, of course, are draft picks. They have two in the first round and two in the second round, so unless they trade any, they are in prime position to draft some top-notch talent on both sides of the ball. They’ve already traded one of their two third-round picks for former Panthers WR, Kelvin Benjamin.

Many believe the Bills will trade some of their picks to move up in the draft to select a QB. Tyrod Taylor has given the Bills their best play under center since Drew Bledsoe, but the feeling is that One Bills Drive don’t believe he’s their franchise QB and are gearing up to draft their signal caller of the future.

Tyrod Taylor

Nov 12, 2017; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) sets to throw the ball during the third quarter a game against the New Orleans Saints at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The team’s strong start saw them with the longest playoff drought in American sports, dreaming of the postseason. Recent performances, however, have left fans feeling deflated. Many are looking for other ways to spice things up, such as Fantasy Football or by using NFL online betting bonuses. Whether Bills fans are quite ready to bet on their team winning the next game or not is another matter, of course. Other ways to bet, such as successful two-point conversions and minimum passing yards, maybe a more interesting prospect for them, however.

For those fans who simply love watching their team play and can’t wait to see some much-needed talent added to the roster, here’s a look at who the Bills could be targeting in the 2018 Draft.

DL Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State

If the Bills remain in their two first-round positions, including the pick that they acquired which saw Patrick Mahomes go to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Bills could opt to replace Marcel Dareus with Dre’Mont James out of Ohio State. The Bills regime likes character players and that can certainly be said of Jones. The 6’3, 295 lb junior is an ideal fit for Sean McDermott’s 4-3 defence.

WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M

The Bills overhauled their receiving corps in the offseason and during the trade window, with Sammy Watkins, Robert Wood, and Marquise Goodwin all gone. The three departing receivers were replaced by Kelvin Benjamin, Josh Matthews, and rookie Zay Jones. Still, WR remains a position of need. Benjamin can make the jump ball and Matthews and Jones are fine in the slot, but the team lacks the kind of speed that Christian Kirk can provide. A dangerous player with the ball in his hands down the field, Kirk would enable the strong-armed Taylor to throw deep (something he used to do often, with Watkins and Goodwin on the team).

QB Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

MASON RUDOLPH, by Ray Carlin/USA Today Sports

Whether the Bills see Tyrod Taylor as their franchise QB remains to be seen. If they choose to go in another direction, they could do worse than Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph. Rudolph doesn’t possess the biggest arm in this draft class, but he does have accuracy and poise and can find his way out of the pocket when needed. As the Bills run the West-coast offence, a big arm isn’t likely their main criteria when looking for a QB: see their 2017 5th-round pick, Nathan Peterman.

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