There is no doubt that through the NFL Draft the Buffalo Bills have become stronger, faster, and younger. Youth is something you need in order to stay relevant in pro sports. The final say whether Buffalo won or lost the draft will be a topic that will be debated, but with all these assets becoming a large piece of the Buffalo puzzle, there are 10 players under 25 that stick out as the most noteworthy.
Shaq Lawson (24 on 05/17/18)
After being drafted with the 19th overall pick by Buffalo Bills, defensive end Shaq Lawson has racked up quite the accolades in just two season. In his rookie season of 2016, Lawson found himself playing in 10 games. With 2016 being Lawson’s rookie year as well, he made the best of the situations he was placed in and not only succeeded, but thrived. In those 10 games, Lawson tallied up 13 tackles and 2 sacks. Coming into the 2017 campaign, Lawson was named a starter on the defensive line and starred in 10 games for the Buffalo Bills. Doubling his 2016 season numbers with 33 total tackles and 4 sacks, Lawson has shown he can play the part of a starting defensive end in the NFL.
Zay Jones (24 on 03/30/18)
With 317 yards last season, Buffalo Bills receiver Zay Jones is poised for a breakout year this season. They say you can only catch lightning once but, with the drafting of strong arm quarterback Josh Allen, the possibilities for the Allen-Jones connection to flourish in Buffalo.
Matt Milano (24 on 07/28/18)
The linebacker position in Buffalo has been a carousel of sorts. With many names coming in, only to make a small impact and be lost in the wind, Milano has broken that previous ideology. With 49 tackles and 2 interceptions on the year and a touchdown in Week 8 against the Raiders, he has certainly shown he was a steal in the 5th round.
Tre’Davious White (23 on 01/16/18)
Capping off his rookie season with four interceptions, White has all the characteristics to become a lockdown cornerback in the NFL. White’s 5’11” frame makes him the perfect size for a corner. His elusiveness and aggression in the backfield led to 79 tackles in 2017. With interceptions in back-to-back weeks, taking one for a 63-yard run, it shows that 2017 was just the tip of the iceberg for the 23-year old.
Dion Dawkins (25 on 04/26/18)
The 6’4” tackle from Temple University made quite the impact during his 2017 season with the Buffalo Bills. After being thrust into the starting position out of the draft, Dawkins showed he has a surplus of power to move defenders off the line of scrimmage and pick up blocks as well. His athletic ability and high football IQ has made him a trophy of sorts on the Bills offensive line.
Adolphus Washington (24 on 11/24/18)
Now starting his third season in Buffalo, the Ohio State University defensive tackle has started in 21 games of his 30 game career. In those 30 games, Washington has 54 tackles with a game-high of 5 tackles against the New York Jets in 2017. With Year 3 now just months away for Washington, numbers are expected to climb for the defensive tackle if he can navigate the crowded defensive tackle room.
Harrison Phillips (22 on 01/25/18)
In the third round of the 2018 NFL draft, the Buffalo Bills got a steal in Harrison Phillips. 2017 was a high for Phillips at Stanford as he was named FWAA All-American second team and Associated Press All-American third team. Those nominations come as no surprise with Phillips as the 2017 team captain led the Cardinals with 103 tackles with 13 of them coming in the PAC-12 championship game against USC. Phillips is everything you want in a defensive tackle as the 6’3” 307 rookie from Omaha will wreck havoc over the AFC East and the NFL in due time.
Siran Neal (24 on 08/04/18)
Back to back All-Ohio Valley selections define just what kind of player the Buffalo Bills got in Siran Neal. Neal comes out of Jacksonville State University after being only the 13th player in program history to be selected by an NFL club. At Jacksonville St., Neal started in all 24 games. The linebacker-turned-safety has hitting power and positional IQ he learned from being behind the line, and now in the secondary. His ability to play multiple positions along with break up passes at either level of the secondary. Versatility and poise are two words that Neal comes into camp with and hope to be defined by.
Tremaine Edmunds (20 on 05/02/18)
The Virginia Tech product was named AP Third Team All-American (Virginia’s first since 2014). While at VT, Edmunds was named ACC-Player of the week as well as totalling 226 career tackles in his three years there. Edmunds comes from a Football family not new to the NFL as his father played and stared in two pro bowls. That guidance and athleticism Edmunds has, makes him a sure fit in Buffalo. His numbers and accolades predict that he will be a franchise player on the defensive side of the ball for many years to come for the Bills.
Josh Allen (22 on 05/21/18)
Former Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen has yet to play a regular season snap in the NFL but that has not shushed the expectations for the rookie. Known for his strong arm, Allen has made his name part of household conversation. After leading the Cowboys to a Mountain West Conference Championship in his sophomore season he was noted as an honorable mention for an All-Conference selection as a junior. This list is about potential, and Allen has a ton of it.
Youth will no doubt be the strength of this Buffalo Bills team in the coming years. With the core of every winning team being a winning tradition, the 2018 Bills draft picks along with the current roster players are in the midst of engineering a new winning way in Buffalo. Coach Sean McDermott improved the record of the Bills last season, clinching a playoff appearance, but GM Brandon Beane’s draft selections and signings will shatter the previous mould of Buffalo Bills Football.