The Buffalo Bills covered plenty of holes with their eight selections in the 2019 NFL Draft. The team was able to fortify the roster without giving up future assets, a feat they accomplished for the second consecutive year.
While some players were probably happy that the team chose not to address certain positions, others might have been left wondering about their roster spot after watching the Bills make their selections. Here are a few winners and losers on Buffalo’s roster based on the team’s draft haul.
Winner: Wide Receivers
Yes, all of them. Buffalo’s receivers can breathe easy after the draft, as Buffalo chose not to address the position throughout any of the seven rounds of the main event. They have reportedly added two talented players in Iowa’s Nick Easley and West Virginia’s David Sills V, but the sign of faith in the current crop of wideouts that the team showed by not committing draft resources to the position is evident.
Loser: Jason Croom
Not only did Buffalo sign free agent Tyler Kroft to a deal in the offseason, but the Bills also traded back into round three to draft Ole Miss tight end Dawson Knox. Then, the team added Boston College tight end Tommy Sweeney with their second of two seventh-round selections. While these additions won’t necessarily push Croom off the roster (that distinction will probably go to Jake Fisher, it shows that the team was unhappy with the performance from that position in 2018. Croom was the de facto starter coming into the 2019 season, but the team has added ample competition since the end of last year.
Winner: Josh Allen
Buffalo had one job this offseason regarding its offense: provide the quarterback with a better supporting cast. After free agency, the team had achieved that goal, but they continued to improve the supporting cast even more during the draft. Aside from selecting the aforementioned tight ends to shore up one of the weaker positions on the roster, Buffalo also gave Allen a young running back, Devin Singletary, in round three. They selected a massive offensive lineman, Cody Ford, in round two, completing an offensive line overhaul that was incredibly necessary. Allen has far better weapons in his second season than he did in his first, and those added via the draft should provide him some help for many years to come.
Loser: LeSean McCoy
As Shady enters the twilight of his career and the final year of his contract in Buffalo, the team will have two options: they either need to ride out the end of his deal or move on from the veteran. By adding Devin Singletary to a backfield that already saw Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon added, among others, there is an obvious opportunity for shake-ups in the offensive backfield. It may not be McCoy, but a down year in 2018 plus a massive cap savings ($6.4 million) if he were to be cut or traded makes the possibility of the Bills making a “business decision” that much greater.
Without a shiny new draft choice to force any of Buffalo’s corners off the roster, it appears that the Bills are content to roll with Tre’Davious White, Levi Wallace, Taron Johnson, E.J. Gaines, and Kevin Johnson as the top end of the depth chart. Depth players like Ryan Lewis, Lafayette Pitts, and Denzel Rice still have an uphill battle for playing time, but without a draft pick to move them off the roster, they’ll have a greater opportunity to earn that time than they otherwise would have.
Loser: Special-Teams Depth
After the Bills’ special-teams unit performed poorly last season, the team seemed to make it a priority to improve there this year. Linebacker Vosean Joseph and safety Jaquan Johnson figure to be valuable members of the Bills’ special teams this season, leaving veterans like Julian Stanford, Corey Thompson, Rafael Bush, and Siran Neal battling with their new counterparts for roster space. This is a good problem to have for the Bills, as competition should bring out the best in each player, but it’s not necessarily a comfortable feeling for Buffalo’s special-teams holdovers from last year.