The Buffalo Bills were rumored to be interested in trading up in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Some reports indicated that the team was interested in trading as high as the third overall pick, and while general manager Brandon Beane shot down those rumors after the draft, it’s clear that Buffalo had some targets in mind they were intent on selecting.
That they were able to stand pat at nine overall and still draft defensive tackle Ed Oliver, a freakishly good athlete who is a perfect fit as a three-tech in the defensive scheme employed by head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was a minor miracle. According to ESPN’s Todd McShay, that choice was also the best one in Buffalo’s draft weekend this year.
While McShay notes that Buffalo merely did what it should have done—or, as he wrote, “I’m rewarding the Bills for simply taking the best player on the board while also addressing a big need”—he felt that the Bills’ best selection was the first, and most obvious, choice of the bunch. He gave credit to the Bills for some other good selections, specifically noting offensive tackle Cody Ford (38 overall), running back Devin Singletary (71 overall), and tight end Dawson Knox (96 overall), Oliver’s status as a “plug-and-play difference-maker for the Bills right out of the gate” is what made the defensive tackle the team’s best choice.
Some may be tempted to go with Ford as Buffalo’s best pick, especially given the fact that most outlets had the Oklahoma offensive lineman as a clear first-round draft choice. Some even had him going within the first 15 or 20 picks, so for Buffalo to acquire him roughly 20 picks later would make that choice a steal. However, the Bills had to give up another draft choice to move up two spots to select Ford, sending a fifth-round pick to the Oakland Raiders to move from 40 to 38. In order to select Oliver, all Buffalo had to do was wait.
While Tom Petty always told us that the waiting is the hardest part, the Bills showed that patience can still allow for one to make the best of it when the time comes.