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2022 NFL Draft: Two post-free agency mocks

Mel Kiper for ESPN and Daniel Jeremiah from NFL Network reveal new mock drafts, this time incorporating free-agency changes.

Now that we’re through the first week of the NFL free agency period, the Buffalo Bills have successfully added several key veteran pieces during the offseason to help address several of their positional needs. So far, this has included the likes of Von Miller, Rodger Saffold, Tim Settle and DaQuan Jones.

With the offseason needs of both the Bills and other teams much more clearly delineated, ESPN’s Mel Kiper released another mock draft of the offseason (subscription required) similar to Daniel Jeremiah for NFL Network, who also did the same with his Mock Draft 3.0.

With the Bills choosing to address their defensive line through free agency and releasing Cole Beasley, Kiper sees Buffalo targeting a wide receiver at the bottom of the first round with former Penn State player Jahan Dotson. Meanwhile, Jeremiah decided to project the Bills taking the only running back in the first round in former Iowa State Cyclone Breece Hall. Here’s what both draft evaluators had to say regarding their choices:

25. Buffalo Bills

Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State

Buffalo released Cole Beasley and brought in Jamison Crowder as an option out of the slot, but Crowder isn’t likely to be part of the Bills’ long-term plans. Dotson would be. Where would he help most? The Bills ranked last in the league in average yards after the catch (4.3) last season. Dotson is an explosive playmaker who is a threat to score on every touch. He had 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2021.

The Bills have had a great offseason so far, so this is a luxury pick. Dotson, though, could help as a rookie.

Pick 25

Breece Hall, Iowa State, RB, Junior

Buffalo Bills

The Bills are poised to make a Super Bowl run, and Hall could be the finishing touch on offense.

Grif’s Take

Both of these selections demonstrate the Bills solidifying their offensive firepower, but both carry some risk. Dotson is a smaller receiver at only 5’10” and 178 lbs, requiring shielding from physical press-coverage. Hall, of course, is a running back—a position that the team has not highlighted in recent iterations in their offense (although perhaps admittedly out of necessity).

On the other hand, Dotson plays bigger than his size—at least at the catch point—while Hall’s stock has been on the rise since crushing his athletic testing at the Combine; during college, he also had experience with his passing game.

The need for both positions is high, but the drop off at wide receiver is much higher towards the second day of the draft, making Dotson the preferred choice here. It’s also mildly surprising that neither commentator went with cornerback: Andrew Booth, for example, was available in both scenarios.