It’s time for the final day of the 2021 NFL Draft! So far the Buffalo Bills have focused on the trenches, adding defensive ends Gregory Rousseau and Carlos Basham Jr. along with offensive tackle Spencer Brown. What will day three bring?
If you were wondering which players to care about, never fear: we have a list of 25 of the best players remaining in the draft. Who do you hope the Bills pick this afternoon?
RB Michael Carter, North Carolina
Carter can be an excellent change-of-pace running back in the NFL. With a blazing 3.98 short shuttle and 4.54 40-yard dash speed, he’s quicker than he is fast, uses fancy footwork to step into the open field, and has good instincts for where and when a crease will open. Has four years of production in a running back timeshare, with nine career games that hit 100 yards of offense. Also has upside as a kick returner.
RB Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis
5’8” and 195 lbs, Gainwell seems like an all-purpose running back weapon with 1459 rushing yards, 13 rushing TDs, 610 receiving yards, and three receiving TDs in his only year as a starter. He has a lean frame that, if bulked up, could allow him to add a physical dimension he currently lacks. If he adds muscle mass and improves his conceptual understanding of run schemes, he could become a team’s lead back.
WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, USC
St. Brown is more explosive than straight-line fast. He looks to be a potential slot in the league with an excellent route-running and ball-skills repertoire. He’s not going to blow anyone away with amazing after-the-catch ability or as a blazer. But St. Brown is as solid as it gets for a slot receiver prospect.
WR Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
Wallace was one of the top receivers in college football in the 2019 season, averaging 6.6 catches, 113 yards, and a touchdown per game, until he tore his ACL. He returned in 2020 but hasn’t recovered his top gear. A tenacious receiver, if he recovers his speed he could be a steal—or he might just be a depth player. At 5’11” and 194 lbs, he’ll succeed as long as he can separate.
TE Brevin Jordan, Miami
The 6’3” 247-lb Jordan will be an all-purpose “move” tight end in the NFL, similar to Charles Clay. He’s dangerous after the catch, and has good body control to make difficult receptions. Undersized for the position, he has good effort in his blocking but won’t be reliable as an in-line blocker.
OT Stone Forsythe, Florida
Forsythe began his Florida career as a reserve guard and right tackle, before settling as the starting left tackle for the past two seasons. Standing 6’8” and 307 lbs, Forsysthe has tons of length but will obviously struggle with pad level in his career. A smooth mover in pass protection, Forsythe doesn’t play with much power in his game and will struggle to drive-block for running plays until he gains more experience.
OT James Hudson, Cincinnati
Hudson, a 6’5” 313 lb lineman who played left and right tackle in his college career, might have some teams interested in moving him to guard or even center. He’s an easy mover, a natural on blocks in space, but only has 11 career starts and his technique is all over the map. He’ll need to be built up from scratch, but the potential for a dominant zone-blocking lineman will interest some team.
OG Trey Smith, Tennessee
A former five-star recruit, Smith is a 6’6” 321-lb mountain of an offensive guard. He’s a tremendous athlete, especially considering his size. Capable of dominating defenders in the trenches, his blocking technique is sometimes a little out-of-control. A history of blood clotting in his lungs raises concerns for Smith’s long-term health.
OG Deonte Brown, Alabama
Brown could be the third Alabama offensive lineman drafted this weekend. A 6’3” 350-lb guard, he has mauling power and solid technique at guard. However, as you might expect, he struggles against speed rushers and is better blocking in a phone booth than pulling out in space.
OG David Moore, Grambling
Listed at 6’1” and 350 lbs at the Senior Bowl but weighed 330 lbs at his pro day. The HBCU guard was one of the top linemen at the showcase event, even practicing at center to show his versatility. He has tremendous power and a mean streak in his blocks, but sometimes lunges too much and has trouble anchoring in pass protection.
DT Tommy Togiai, Ohio State
Togiai is a stubby 1-technique in a 4-3 defense, but he certainly has the chops to be a high-upside one at that. He’s not one-dimensional as a space eater. He has some wiggle to work with and his competitiveness is sure to win coaches over sooner rather than later in the NFL. There’s a ton to like about Togiai’s game and he should be a supplement to a team in the league for a long time.
DT Daviyon Nixon, Iowa
Nixon stands 6’3” and 313 lbs, and has a massive 84” wingspan. He has excellent burst and good flexibility, making him a dangerous pass rusher. His “paw power” is also excellent, allowing him to control blocks in the running game. However, he’s inconsistent snap-to-snap, and The Athletic’s Bob McGinn reported that three teams removed him from their boards for off-field concerns.
DT Tyler Shelvin, LSU
What you see is what you get with Shelvin. A massive space-eater (6’2”, 350 lbs)—If the Bills are looking for a player to eat blocks and anchor, Shelvin is the man for the job. He won’t offer much in terms of pass rush in large part due to his massive size.
DT Jay Tufele, USC
Tufele is a 6’2” 305-lb defensive tackle who primarily lines up at three technique, but is versatile enough to flex inside as well. He has starter-caliber athleticism, especially his jump off the snap, and plays with tremendous effort. A strong player with high potential in his handfighting, the biggest weakness to his game is his inconsistent ability to read blocking schemes and follow where the ball carrier is going, leading to whiffs.
LB Cameron McGrone, Michigan
McGrone is a K-9 attack dog with noteworthy speed, acceleration, and change of direction. His effort is always maxed out, leading to big plays. Young and inexperienced with only 19 career games played, and rarely dropped into coverage at Michigan. Tore his ACL in 2020, the second torn ACL in his injury history.
LB Jabril Cox, LSU
Cox is a former FCS star who got the opportunity to play SEC football in 2020. Cox slates to be a coverage specialist who needs to hone in on his skills to process as a linebacker. This is a player many teams should want starring on obvious passing situations as he possesses elite coverage ability.
LB Dylan Moses, Alabama
Moses is a former five-star recruit for the Crimson Tide who looked primed to be a lock first-round pick during his 2018 sophomore season. He tore his ACL just prior to the 2019 season and looked like a shell of his former self in 2020. If he ever regains his pre-injury form, a team will be getting a steal on day three.
LB Isaiah McDuffie, Boston College
McDuffie would be a solid day-three selection for a lot more reasons than Buffalo being his hometown (Bennett High School). He is a safety convert who has a similar portfolio to current Bills starter Matt Milano, who also attended Boston College. Adding good athletes who love to tackle for key depth at the position is never a bad thing.
CB Trill Williams, Syracuse
Williams checks in on the “All-Name Team” in this year’s draft class and he offers good athleticism while being a bit of a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. Williams has played outside corner, slot corner, and safety in his time at Syracuse. There are tools to like here.
CB Shaun Wade, Ohio State
Standing 6’1” and 196 lbs with 33.5” arms, Wade definitely looks like an NFL cornerback. A five-star recruit at Ohio State, he fared well playing in the slot for the Buckeyes in 2018 and 2019, with four interceptions, 15 passes broken up, two sacks, and two forced fumbles. He moved outside in 2020 and looked a lot worse. His fundamentals were lacking and he was flat-out beaten time and time again. The team that drafts Wade hopes he becomes a success story as a developmental project.
CB Kary Vincent Jr., LSU
Vincent is an elite athlete who likely projects to a slot-nickel position in the NFL. His ball skills give you something to be excited about at the position, but he has work to do in order to refine his technique. He was a 2020 opt-out.
CB Thomas Graham Jr., Oregon
Graham is just an average athlete for the position, but he plays with desirable technique and ball skills. He is also a very willing tackler. The Bills liked this mold of player in the past with Dane Jackson in 2019. Graham was a 2020 opt-out.
S Hamsah Nairildeen, Florida State
Nasirildeen is a fascinating study. He suffered a season ending knee injury in 2019 and only played a couple of games in 2020. He may be best playing in the box where he thrives as a tackler, but he has some fascinating ability to be a chess piece for a team looking for a potential tight end/big slot eliminator.
S James Wiggins, Cincinnati
A first-off-the-bus kind of player, Wiggins has the physical makeup and traits of a cyborg. He’s a terrific athlete who would be a remarkably good third safety for any team early in his career. He has battled some college injuries including a torn ACL, but he has a lot of desirable traits and football skill.
S Tyree Gillespie, Missouri
Gillespie has the ability to be a special teams ace with a ferocious tackling mindset and great straight-line speed (4.43 40-yard dash). While undersized, he brings an edge to the table that teams should covet on day three.