Well, the draft is over and now football fans all over the country are counting down the days till NFL training camps commence while trying to enjoy other things like baseball or boasting about their team’s new draftees, and that is exactly what I am about to do.
Going in to the draft, the Buffalo Bills held the ninth overall pick and there were a lot of discussions surrounding the pick. Would they move up? Move down? Would they stay at nine? Not only were there questions on where the Bills would draft, but there were also questions regarding who the Bills would draft. Mock drafts all over the country had been made and remade and re-remade for months and the Bills were projected to take anyone from offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor, all the way to wide receiver DK Metcalf. Now that all the dust from the draft has settled, we can analyze the moves general manger Brandon Beane made over the past few days.
After all the speculation, the Bills opted to stay at nine, where they were able to draft the guy they have had their eyes on all offseason long, Houston defensive tackle, Ed Oliver. As the weeks till the draft dwindled down, Oliver looked like the most optimal pick for the Bills in most mock drafts and was the most desired pick by most fans. Oliver will fill a glaring hole in the defensive line left by Kyle Williams, who retired in January.
Oliver plays three-technique just like Williams and is already looking like he will be a day one starter. The explosive Oliver brings and exuberant attitude and an aggressive pass rush that will fit the city of Buffalo just fine. Oliver has the potential to be a great leader on this defense and make a long career for himself in the NFL. The Bills have received a lot of national recognition for their pick, calling Oliver a “draft steal”. Oliver will certainly be a fan favorite soon.
On the 2nd Day
As night two of the draft began as the NFL prepared for rounds two and three, the Bills held a pick in each of the two rounds, a change from last year, as the Bills only had a late third round selection in 2018 after trading up in the first round twice. Bills fans only had to wait a few picks in before they got to hear who their second-round selection would be, but they ended up hearing their selection earlier than expected. Two picks before Buffalo was on the clock, Bean swapped picks with the Oakland Raiders in order to land Oklahoma offensive tackle Cody Ford, a first round talent, and a player Bean later stated he had interest in trading into the first round for.
Ford spent his college years blocking for two eventual first overall picks in Baker Mayfield (2018) and Kyler Murray (2019). An aggressive player all around and will make a huge difference in an already bolstered offensive line. Ford said in his first interview that he hoped he would land in Buffalo after hitting it off with several Bills coaches. He also provides flexibility, as he can play both the tackle and the guard spot, although, head coach Sean McDermott has already expressed interests in playing him at tackle.
Once the third round began, the Bills made an investment for the future, drafting FAU running back Devin Singletary. With easily the oldest running back room in the league with LeSean McCoy (31) and Frank Gore (turns 36 on May 14) on their roster, Buffalo needed an infusion of youth and that is exactly what they are getting with Singletary who is an explosive back who had 66 career touchdowns at his alma matter. The Singletary pick started a debate within Bills Mafia, some loving the selection and some deeming it a “waste of a pick”. With two running backs well in to their thirties, the Bills needed to start looking for their heir to the run game. Shady is going to last forever and premier backs do not often hit the open market. Singletary was a great pick.
Just when we thought the Bills were done for night two of the NFL draft, Bean utilized his plethora of late-round picks to trade into the back of the third round to take Ole Miss tight end Dawson Knox. This move adds one more body to the already decent tight end room and provides Tyler Kroft and Jason Croom with a little bit of friendly competition. Knox often got overshadowed at Ole Miss, playing alongside two second-round selections in AJ Brown and DK Metcalf, but he was productive, nonetheless. Knox is a versatile tight end who can block well and run routes efficiently. He will be a great fit in this new Buffalo offense.
Since the Bills made two trades the following day, Buffalo did not have a draft pick until the fifth round on day three of the draft. McDermott could not help himself in the fifth, jumping on Florida linebacker Vosean Joseph. The Florida linebacker played alongside Jets’ third-round pick Jachai Polite, but was still a big contributor, recording 14 tackles (including 3.5 tackles for a loss) in a game against LSU in 2018. Joseph likely fell to the Bills due to his inability to run the 40-yard dash at the combine in February, but his fifth-round label won’t stop him from producing on one of the league’s most prolific defenses. Joseph will provide great depth at outside linebacker and will likely move into the starting role after Lorenzo Alexander retires after the 2019 season.
In the sixth round, the Bills added an athletic player in their secondary, drafting Miami safety Jaquan Johnson who will add depth at safety. Johnson is a solid late round pick that will give second year safety Siran Neal a run for his money.
The Bills had two seventh round picks and took Darrly Johnson, a defensive end out of North Carolina A&T and Tommy Sweeney, a tight end out of Boston College. Johnson will likely fight for a practice squad position but may compete with Eddie Yarbrough to backup Jerry Hughes. Sweeney, the second tight end selected by the Bills in this draft, adds to the competition at tight end. Sweeney may be a great practice squad player but could sneak onto the roster come September.
As a whole, Buffalo had a fantastic draft. They did not draft a bunch of huge name players, but they filled a lot of their remaining needs. The Bills now head into training camp with one of the most complete rosters they have had in a while. To say the very least, this Bills squad will be fun to watch in 2019.