Down at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane took the time to talk about the draft philosophy he and head coach Sean McDermott employ—specifically, their preference for experienced college players. In an interview transcribed by newyorkupstate.com, Buffalo’s general manager talked about drafting six seniors last season, all Senior Bowl participants.
“I do think you find guys that have been through their senior year and weren’t always touted as the five-star recruit (or) the blue chip player,” Beane said. “A guy that’s more mature than sometimes underclassmen may be. I do think there’s something to that. Sean and I are very thorough on (players) being smart, mature, culture, all those things. And I think you find that some guys find out who they are later in their career than maybe they were when they first got to whatever school they were at.”
When you look at the team’s draft record the past two years since Sean McDermott joined the team, you do start to see a pattern. The Buffalo Bills famously drafted nothing but seniors in 2017, including class standouts Tre’Davious White and Matt Milano. Then last year, they selected five seniors: Harrison Phillips, Taron Johnson, Siran Neal, Wyatt Teller and Austin Proehl. Seventh-overall selection Josh Allen was not a senior of course but, as he was an early graduate of Wyoming, he was able to participate in the 2018 Senior Bowl.
We’ll see if this trend continues in the 2019 Draft, but the early returns on this strategy have been largely encouraging. One thing is for sure, Beane is happy to no longer be in the quarterback market.