It’s only Week 7 of the NFL season, but some fans and analysts are already looking ahead to the NFL draft. For certain, it’s too early to determine where or whom the Buffalo Bills will select on draft day, there is enough tape to assess what the team most likely needs come draft day. That being said, this article serves as a positional dive into the team’s current needs, and attempts to identify the best player to fill that need. If Bills fans have learned anything from Brandon Beane’s time in Buffalo, it’s that he's not afraid to trade up. Always be prepared to expect anything on draft day. Let’s dive in...
Andrew Thomas (Georgia)
While Brandon Beane managed to revamp the Bills’ offensive line over this past offseason, early indications suggest that Cody Ford may not be suited to take over at right tackle. With Quinton Spain on a one-year deal, and 33-year-old Ty Nsekhe as the best right tackle option, the Bills might be looking for a lineman come draft day. Thomas has started 28 games in college (13 at left tackle, 15 at right tackle), and he is a natural pass blocker with sound footwork. He was named to the Freshman All-American team in 2017, and second team All-American in 2018. He could be a great pick to play opposite Dion Dawkins at left tackle and would provide some much-needed depth to a line that, after this season, may be in limbo.
EDGE Pass Rusher
Chase Young (Ohio State)
Young would likely be one of those picks where Beane would have to work his draft-day magic. Jerry Hughes isn't getting any younger, although he’s still playing at a high level. Couple that with Trent Murphy and Shaq Lawson both not being alpha defensive ends, and the Bills might be poised to make a move for a young rush specialist on Day 1 of the draft. Young is projected to be a top-five pick and for good reason. He’s a can't-miss prospect, in the mold of Myles Garrett. He recorded 10.5 sacks in 2018, and is on pace to blow that number out of the water with 8.5 already after six games this season. Young’s size and freakish athleticism will see him make an immediate impact at the NFL level regardless of where he goes. His initial get-off and ability to bend the corner against opposing linemen has NFL scouts drooling. While it’s a long shot that the Bills actually make a move for Young, in a perfect world, he’d be playing in blue and white on Sundays.
Tee Higgins (Clemson)
While John Brown and Cole Beasley have proven to be very good receivers for the Bills, there have been talks all season of Buffalo making trades for an elite No. 1 receiver. While a lot of that talk is nothing more than comments on Twitter, there is some truth to the idea that depth at wide receiver seems to be lacking. Yes, the jury’s still out on Duke Williams—who put together a very promising preseason and showed those same attributes in his first start against Tennessee. But Higgins could provide the Bills with more of what they hope to see in Williams. In his first season as a starter, Higgins caught 12 touchdowns in 2018. Higgins’s 6’3” frame would add size to a wide-receiver room with only two of its six players coming in over 6 feet. Obviously height isn't everything in the NFL, but Higgins’s ability to separate at the line of scrimmage coupled with his catch radius could create a match-up nightmare for teams at the next level. In a very deep wide-receiver class, don't be surprised if the Bills manage to land Higgins somewhere in the mid to late first round.
Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin)
Frank Gore can't play forever, and there isn't enough tape on Devin Singletary to say he's for sure the guy at running back. That being said, Jonathan Taylor might be the guy for Brian Daboll’s offense come draft day. He ran for 2,194 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2018 and is on pace to duplicate those numbers this season. Taylor has great vision and is an aggressive runner who plays best running between the tackles. Much like the thunder and lightning combination we saw the first two weeks of the season with Gore and Singletary, Taylor seems like he would be more than ready to step in should Frank Gore not re-sign next season. If the Bills decide to go running back on Day 1, look for Taylor to be the guy.