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2020 NFL Mock Draft: Mel Kiper’s latest has Buffalo Bills taking DE Julian Okwara

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With the trade for Stefon Diggs eliminating the team’s biggest need, ESPN turns to the defense.

The Buffalo Bills’ trade for former Minnesota Vikings star receiver Stefon Diggs eliminated what was probably the team’s biggest need heading into the 2020 NFL Draft. With wide receiver taken care of, draft analysts have been predicting the team could draft cornerbacks, running backs, or even more wide receivers with their second-round selection. In his latest 4.0 mock draft, ESPN’s Mel Kiper has the team moving to the defensive side of the ball by picking for them former Notre Dame defensive end Julian Okwara. Here’s what Kiper had to say regarding the choice:

54. Buffalo Bills

Julian Okwara, DE/OLB, Notre Dame | Highlights

Okwara, who broke his leg in November and didn’t work out at the combine, has some versatility as a defensive end in a 4-3 defense or an outside linebacker in a 3-4. He’d be an end in Buffalo. The Bills added veteran Mario Addison to take over for Shaq Lawson, who left in free agency, but there are plenty of reps in the rotation for Okwara.

Grif’s Take

As a prospect, Okwara is a player with a decently high ceiling but who needs to work on several areas of his game. The good parts of his game are certainly intriguing, for example, his ability to pivot and ‘bend the edge’ might be among the best in the class. However, he really doesn’t have a pass-rush plan and he doesn’t know how to use his hands effectively when facing offensive tackles. Questions have also been raised about his senior year, where his stats took a tumble and the plays that he did have were a result of his hustle. Despite those and other blemishes, there is enough good in his game to consider Okwara to be a reasonable pick in the second round.

Other prospects available at pick 54 included cornerback Trevon Diggs or wide receiver Michael Pittman, both decent choices in that range, but Okwara is a solid selection.