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SB Nation Writers’ Mock Draft 2018: Buffalo Bills take LB Leighton Vander Esch at 22

The Bills have a quarterback of the offense and defense now.

NCAA Football: Las Vegas Bowl-Boise State vs Oregon Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The 2018 NFL Writers Mock Draft at SB Nation has been going full steam for three picks every weekday and the time has finally come for the Buffalo Bills’ second pick. After selecting Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen at number 12, the Buffalo Rumblings Inner Circle was hoping to land a quarterback of the defense with the second pick and we did just that as Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is the pick at 22.

We didn’t consider any other position groups besides quarterback at pick 12 but Vander Esch was high on our list then, garnering 4% of the fan vote for that pick. We were happy to get him ten picks later.

Buffalo wasn’t happy with middle linebacker Preston Brown last year and let him leave in free agency on a low one-year deal. Brown played nearly 100% of the snaps at middle linebacker over the last three seasons. With this pick, the Bills add a player that can do the same. He’ll likely slot in as their middle linebacker but can play all three spots in Sean McDermott’s 4-3. Vander Esch is an athletic every-down linebacker who can fill the role that Luke Kuechly played for McDermott in Carolina. The Bills are planning on bringing in Vander Esch for a pre-draft visit so clearly there is interest there.

If Buffalo trades up into the top 10, it’s likely they won’t be able to secure their quarterback prospect and a top linebacker, but this mock allowed us to do both.


Do you approve of the selection of LB Leighton Vander Esch at 22?

This poll is closed

  • 88%
    (1298 votes)
  • 4%
    (61 votes)
  • 6%
    Not sure
    (101 votes)
1460 votes total Vote Now