The Buffalo Bills earned praise for their 2019 NFL Draft selections from multiple media pundits, including the godfather of NFL Draft commentary himself, Mel Kiper Jr. The ESPN draft guru liked Buffalo’s draft as a whole, as he felt the team did well to support its up-and-coming young quarterback, second-year man Josh Allen.
In his annual draft grades (subscription to ESPN+ required), Kiper gave the Bills a B+ for their efforts last weekend, citing their success in providing Allen with even more help. After adding plenty of help in free agency, including wide receivers John Brown and Cole Beasley, tight end Tyler Kroft, and multiple offensive linemen, Kiper was happy to see the Bills continue improving the offense.
- “I liked what Buffalo did with its first four picks, using three on players who will directly make Allen’s life easier,” Kiper wrote. “They reportedly liked Cody Ford enough to try to trade into the first round, but they ended up getting the guard/tackle at No. 38. He’s a mauler in the run game, and I thought he could go in the top 20 picks. That’s a steal. The 5-foot-7 Devin Singletary (No. 74) won’t be a LeSean McCoy replacement, but he has some burst as a complementary player. Tight end Dawson Knox (No. 96) is all about projection—he only had 15 catches last season. But his measurables (6-4, 254) and testing numbers pop.”
Kiper led off by discussing those three picks, noting that it “says a lot” about how strong Buffalo’s choices were that he didn’t even mention their first overall pick, defensive tackle Ed Oliver, until the third paragraph of his write-up. By strengthening the team’s pass rush, Kiper wrote that Oliver will make Allen’s life easier by proxy, giving the young signal caller more opportunities with the ball in his hands.
Kiper was not sold on late-round choices Tommy Sweeney (228 overall) and Jaquan Johnson (181 overall) based on their limited athleticism. He noted Sweeney’s strength lies in his blocking ability, however, and gave Johnson credit for making a ton of tackles while with the Miami Hurricanes. However, if the harshest criticism about a draft comes with respect to two late-round picks, which essentially amount to lottery tickets in the NFL, then it’s clear that the draft was a good one.