The 2019 NFL Draft is nearly upon us. Every football site worth their salt is making predictions on who will draft whom. Well we’re worth plenty of salt, so in Buffalo Rumblings tradition, we’re bringing you lots of predictions. Come comment and (respectfully) argue with the Rumblings staff as we go on record with our draft predictions.
What I want to happen: If the Bills can find a way to come through with Ed Oliver at the ninth overall pick, that would be awesome. Barring that, I’m sold on T.J. Hockenson. My favorite choices for the second pick are Hakeem Butler, Marquise Brown, Dalton Risner, and Jerry Tillery. I want the team to add some major difference-makers—players who could have an impact from day one.
What I think will happen: This outcome depends on how much sway Sean McDermott has in the draft room. All offseason we’ve been hearing him talk about how valuable a great tight end can be. If his voice is heard, and the option’s there, the Bills will take T.J. Hockenson. If he’s not the selection, I think Ed Oliver, Jonah Williams, Christian Wilkins, or Andre Dillard are the choice.
I also expect the Bills to trade up at least once in this draft. They have too many picks right now. My guess is they want either two round-one picks or three picks in the first two rounds, and they’ll use their ammunition to reach that goal.
What I want to happen: Quarterback-needy teams to trade up for one and teams to overthink Ed Oliver. Oliver’s stock fell just enough during January and February to think that Buffalo could end up with him at pick number nine, and landing Oliver would ensure the Bills defense continues to be elite for years.
What I think will happen: Teams trading up for QBs doesn’t push enough players down the board, and Oliver is gone by the sixth pick. Quinnen Williams will be long gone, as will the elite pass rushers, leaving Buffalo to choose between T.J. Hockenson, Jawaan Taylor, and Jonah Williams. There’s also a possibility Rashan Gary or even Jeffery Simmons sneaks in there. Probably Hockenson.
What I want to happen: I want the Bills to do something to try to get a top-2 player on their board. That is code for Ed Oliver and Quinnen Williams. If that means trading up to 5, 6, or 7, I am down for that. It’s going to cost their second-round pick, which is less than ideal, but boy those two are elite players and could make the defense elite. If they stay at nine, I’d prefer to see T.J. Hockenson over an offensive tackle and then I’d start working the phone to get up from 40 to get another player I coveted in the bottom of the first round. Could be a DT or WR, maybe even a falling OT prospect.
What I think will happen: Buffalo is going to miss out on all the players I covet because other teams will covet them. Oliver, QWilliams, and Hock could all be gone by number nine by teams with no interest in trading down. Buffalo at nine then takes Jonah Williams, the Alabama tackle, or trades down.
What I want to happen: Just don’t screw it up. Brandon Beane afforded us some flexibility by plugging several holes in free agency, and sitting at nine, we’re in a prime position to let the draft come to us. There are a lot of scenarios that I’d be perfectly happy with. Replacing Kyle Williams with Ed Oliver? Sign me up. Completing our O-line overhaul with Jonah Williams, Jawaan Taylor, or Andre Dillard? Love it. Adding one of the most complete tight-end prospects to come out in years in T.J. Hockensen? Yes please. Trading down and taking any of these guys (or someone like Brian Burns) and adding another pick that we could potentially use to move back up into the late first? I’m in. I’d even be fine with trading up if a guy slipped far enough and we didn’t have to give up too much. There are only a few things I don’t want us to do: reach on a receiver, take a cornerback, take a linebacker, or trade up for anyone not named Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams, or Ed Oliver. The best-case scenario would obviously be to trade down and still get one of the guys I listed above. Assuming that may not be possible, I want Oliver/any OT/Hock, in that order.
What I think will happen: This is a lot tougher than predicting last year, isn’t it? I could see us going a lot of ways. Given where we’re sitting, we can safely assume one of the top tier OTs will be there, so that’s obviously a strong possibility. On the other hand, considering all the pass rushers we were connected to in free agency including Frank Clark, Ziggy Ansah, and even Jadaveon Clowney, I wouldn’t be surprised if Montez Sweat or Brian Burns was the pick. And then there’s the possibility that two or three QBs get picked before nine, which could send elite talent falling right into our lap, or cause other QB-needy teams to look for a trade up (which I have to think we would oblige). With all of that being said, I have to make my prediction based on who I can reasonably assume will be available, as well as who I see as a fit with OBD. I don’t think Oliver makes it to us, and first round TEs are historically too shaky a proposition to be worth the risk of blowing a top-10 pick. TL; DR: I see us standing pat and taking the squeaky clean, fundamentally sound, Daboll-coached and process-approved Jonah Williams.
What I want to happen: Quinnen Williams falls right into our laps through whatever means makes it so—quarterbacks being drafted in a frenzy, a video of Williams smoking weed with the aid of a gas mask—whatever it takes (within reason, of course). Williams is exactly what this team needs, and if they can somehow draft him without leveraging other assets to move up, I’d be absolutely thrilled. If Williams is gone, then I’d also be quite happy with Ed Oliver falling to No. 9; however, I’m not sold that either of those players will be available when it comes time for Buffalo to hand in a draft card.
What I think will happen: The Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, and New York Jets all draft defensive linemen, taking Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams, and Ed Oliver. When Buffalo’s turn comes, they’re left to select from a talented pool of players that includes Jonah Williams, Brian Burns, and T.J. Hockenson. They take Williams, Jonah ninth overall, adding another talented, versatile offensive lineman to the group.
What I want to happen: In a perfect scenario, both T.J. Hockenson and Ed Oliver will be available when the Bills are on the clock. I have spent the last month flip-flopping between the two, with the slight edge going to Oliver. Adding a disruptive interior lineman to the defense gives the Bills an incredible boost, and I would love to see Oliver join that group.
What I think will happen: Both Montez Sweat and Rashan Gary are going to slide down draft boards, with Hockenson and Oliver long gone before the Bills pick. While this may seem like a doomsday scenario for fans, general manager Brandon Beane will trade down with the Carolina Panthers and select Christian Wilkins, the talented defensive tackle from Clemson.
What I want to happen: The football gods are on Buffalo’s side and somehow, quarterback-hungry teams trade up to take Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock, leaving the Bills to pick from a trio of talented players in Quinnen Williams, Ed Oliver, and T.J. Hockenson. In reality, I don’t think there’s any way Buffalo lands Williams without trading up to select him. I’ve been on the Ed Oliver train for the last two months, and adding a talented, explosive, and disruptive edge rusher like Oliver would certainly bolster a pass rush that ranked 26th in sacks in 2018. Oliver’s stock took a hit over the past few months despite him not playing in a game, so I hold out hope that Oliver can be the pick as a stalwart who further solidifies a sneaky-good Bills defense. However, if Oliver is gone by the time No. 9 rolls around, I would be more than happy to see Hockenson, arguably the best and most complete tight end prospect in years, wind up in Buffalo. Hockenson is athletic and an accomplished pass-catcher, a skilled route-runner, and a talented blocker. Sign me up for Hockenson if Oliver is off the board.
What I think will happen: Williams and Oliver hear their names called long before Buffalo’s turn to pick at No. 9. While I could see a trade down scenario playing out for Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott, I am going to be optimistic with my pick. The Bills’ brass continues to add weapons for Josh Allen by selecting Hockenson, giving the Bills their first real tight end threat since the days of Jay Riemersma. Hard to believe, but it’s been 18 years since this franchise had a tight end who ranked in the top ten in catches at his position in the NFL. Hockenson should easily surpass the 53 catches Riemersma had for Buffalo in 2001, and would make up for the Bills missing out on the premier pass rushers in the draft. Side note: I wouldn’t be shocked if LB Devin White falls in Buffalo’s lap, giving the Bills a legit shot at their best linebacking corps since the days of Cornelius Bennett, Darryl Talley, and Shane Conlan (1987-1992).
What I want to happen: Over the last few weeks I’ve gone back and forth on who I’d like the Bills to draft this year. Now, on the eve of the draft, I’ve settled back on my original pick, T.J. Hockenson. There are plenty of players in this draft who I know could help the Bills improve, but I think “Hock” offers the biggest upgrade. Seeing Rob Gronkowski manhandle every defender the Bills sent at him over the last nine seasons has made me dream of having that type of mismatch on our side.
P.S. I wouldn’t mind the Bills drafting Josh Allen, EDGE from Kentucky, just for the schadenfreude. I foresee a ton of announcer issues and maybe even a Mighty Ducks 2-esque jersey swap.
What I think will happen: The free-agency splurge on offense makes me think the Bills will focus on the defense in the first round. With that focus, I see them taking either Ed Oliver, Quinnen Williams, and Montez Sweat. If I have to chose one of those three I think it ends up being Oliver and I think Beane will trade up to get him if he has to.
Matt “TheAfghanTwilight” Byham
What I want to happen: Quinnen Williams becomes a Bill and immediately fills the void left by Kyle Williams. He’s the one player I see in the first round as a can’t-miss talent so—whether they trade up to get him or he somehow slides all the way back to nine—i’d be ecstatic to hear his name called when Buffalo’s on the clock. Should that dream (likely) fall through, my hope is they somehow find a way to trade back and still land either T.J. Hockenson or Noah Fant.
What I think will happen: If we look again at Jeff’s fantastic analytics-based piece, there seems to be a strong pull towards a wide receiver or edge rusher. I see this as a bit of a smoke screen insomuch that I believe the team will pick one of the Iowa tight ends should they stay put at nine. There’s been lots of chatter among draft pundits both early and late that the Bills could go offensive line. I just don’t believe they would have invested so heavily in that group through free agency if their plan was to pick one early in the draft.
I also believe they try to trade up into the early part of the second round or late first, especially if they trade back and land Noah Fant. Why? Hakeem Butler. I think their plan is to come away from the first two rounds with young, premiere receiving talent—and Butler’s measurables and talent are sorely needed at wide receiver.
The wild card is, of course, Ed Oliver.
What I want to happen: I would love it if Ed Oliver can make it down to the Bills at number nine. He would be an impact player who would make the front four of the team better. Based on his quotes, he would love the opportunity to play for the Bills and he would be going to a defense on the rise that fits his play style.
What I think will happen: Unfortunately I do not think that Oliver will make it to nine and that neither will the other top options the team is considering. Enter Carolina. It has been reported that the Panthers want to trade up and what better team to make a trade with than Buffalo given all the connections between the two teams. I feel Buffalo will make the trade back into the first round and then pick the best player available or maybe Fant from Iowa if he makes it down there given that he had a private workout with the team.
Jeff “Skarekrow” Kantrowski
What I want to happen: There’s one guy who could slide just a pinch to make my day. Sound draft strategy be damned, I’m all in on Brandon Beane trading up to draft Josh Allen with pick number seven for the second year in a row.
What I think will happen: The Bills are all in on obtaining weapons for Josh Allen (the QB one). Pick nine should give them plenty of options for a receiver. There might be some smoke around Ole Miss and D.K. Metcalf could be the fire. With most of my draft knowledge being data driven, I’m doubling down on my analytics approach.
What I want to happen: The dream scenario would be that Ed Oliver falls to the Bills at 9 and they don’t have to surrender picks to get him. Oliver appears to be the ideal replacement for Kyle Williams and would instantly improve the team. The rumor mill this week, however, has made it appear like this scenario is more of a pipe dream than a realistic possibility.
What I think will happen: Ed Oliver will be gone by Tampa’s pick at the latest and the pick at 9 will be on the offensive side of the ball. Jawaan Taylor, Andre Dillard or Jonah Williams would be the likely picks if Beane decides to finish off the offensive line makeover. Williams would appear to be a character and scheme fit, especially when you consider his ties to Brian Daboll. If it isn’t going to be an OT, look for T.J. Hockenson, the versatile Iowa tight end.