While the Buffalo Bills are still in the thick of the playoffs, and looking to face down the Kansas City Chiefs, it’s understandably difficult for fans to turn their attention to the upcoming NFL Draft. Having said that, ESPN’s Mel Kiper just released one of his first mock drafts of the season (subscription required) and Dane Brugler for The Athletic dropped a two-round mock draft as well. Our cup runneth over.
With the Bills projected to have the 27th pick in both exercises, Kiper saw the cornerback depth on the team and selected Washington’s Trent McDuffie. Meanwhile, Brugler decided to go with Alabama receiver Jameson Williams, fresh off an ACL tear in the College Football Championship and followed it up with Sean Rhyan, an offensive lineman. Here’s what both draft evaluators had to say regarding their choices:
27. Buffalo Bills
Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
Buffalo doesn’t have many holes on its roster, but Tre’Davious White’s season-ending knee injury in November put the focus on its cornerback depth. This late in the first round, teams are hoping for rookie starters, but they’ll also take high-upside prospects who could grow into starters in time. McDuffie can cover wideouts outside or from in the slot, so the versatility is a plus. He was very good in man coverage for the Huskies. I also thought about a guard here, and the Bills’ running backs were disappointing again in 2021, even though Devin Singletary had a couple of good games to end the season. This is a little too high for a back on my board, but we could see risers after the combine, so keep an eye out.
27. Buffalo Bills — Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Giving a weapon like Williams to Josh Allen and the Bills’ offense hardly seems fair. Wide receiver isn’t at the top of the Bills’ needs, but it would be tough to pass on Williams’ talent if he were to fall this far due to his recent torn ACL. Teams will have more information about his knee and surgery at the scouting combine.
59. Buffalo Bills — Sean Rhyan, OG, UCLA
Bills fans should prepare to see both of these names regularly as first-round selections for the team this mock-draft season. Kiper’s depth concerns at cornerback for the team are well-founded, and McDuffie is a strong scheme fit for the team as a player who can play man- and zone-coverage at an elite level. However, Dane Jackson has handled the starting role well, and general manager Brandon Beane hasn’t exactly been known to select corners high in the draft. (Of this weekend’s starting cornerbacks, Levi Wallace was undrafted and Jackson was a seventh-rounder. Slot CB Taron Johnson was a fourth-round pick.)
Williams has Henry Ruggs, Tyreek Hill-type speed but offers more than that at the catch point as well. As Brugler points out though, his ACL injury presents a risk. A risk that other prospects, such as fellow speedster Jahan Dotson—who was available—doesn’t have. The Sean Rhyan pick in the second round would be a slam dunk. The former offensive tackle has oodles of athleticism, quick hands, and nasty demeanor. All he doesn’t have is long arms and length, which is what would force him into a position at guard or center. There’s reason to think he could play almost any role along the offensive line, and could be considered for a Ryan Bates-ish role.