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Buffalo Bills have been NFL’s best drafters over last five years

The Buffalo Bills have been really good at drafting since head coach Sean McDermott arrived in Buffalo and he got better when general manager Brandon Beane joined the team.

Looking back on 2017, the Bills have been questioned for passing on Patrick Mahomes, but since that move they’ve put together the best group of draft picks in the NFL, according to data from Pro Football Reference compiled by Jim Cobern.

Let’s take a look at the biggest hits. Here is every player over a 10 in weighted approximate value at PFR:

QB Josh Allen (wAV 51)
2018 - First Round

An MVP candidate for each of the last two seasons, Allen signed the richest contract in team history last offseason and still played his butt off. He’s well on his way to breaking every record the Bills have.

CB Tre’Davious White (wAV 45)
2017 - First Round

The guy they picked in the first round after trading down with the Kansas City Chiefs, White has turned into an All-Pro cornerback and multi-time Pro Bowler. He’s one of the best in the biz.

LB Tremaine Edmunds (wAV 39)
2018 - First Round

Buffalo was able to move back into the first round to grab Edmunds after picking Allen and he’s become a perennial Pro Bowler. Despite what Bills fans might think of his lack of impact plays, he’s incredibly reliable and calls the plays for the defense.

LT Dion Dawkins (wAV 35)
2017 - Second Round

Another Pro Bowler, Dawkins has become a stalwart at left tackle for the Bills. When he’s not recovering from COVID-19, he’s been stellar.

LB Matt Milano (wAV 33)
2017 - Fifth Round

It’s a crime he hasn’t made a Pro Bowl, but he can sit on his stacks of money and dry his tears after signing a contract extension last offseason. He’s been terrific in the middle of Buffalo’s defense as one of the league’s best coverage linebackers.

DT Ed Oliver (wAV 23)
2019 - First Round

Oliver took a big step in 2021 and if his trajectory continues, could be in line for a huge career in the middle of Buffalo’s defensive line for years to come.

OG Wyatt Teller (wAV 23)
2018 - Fifth Round

He played just one mediocre season for the Bills as a rookie, then was traded to the Cleveland Browns where he’s blossomed into an All-Pro. Good for him, and one of the few misses for Brandon Beane. In the draft, though, he was a hit.

RB Devin Singletary (wAV 20)
2019 - Third Round

He finished 2021 as the team’s lead running back, but the Bills have continually tried to bring in other running backs since drafting Singletary. We will see if he can take the next step in 2022.

WR Zay Jones (wAV 16)
2017 - Second Round

The second player on our list to do damage for another jersey, Jones earned 9 wAV with the Bills and 7 wAV with the Raiders. It wasn’t the best pick for Sean McDermott and former general manager Doug Whaley, but they got OT Tommy Doyle out of the move, at least.

CB Taron Johnson (wAV 14)
2018 - Fourth Round

We weren’t sure he would stay healthy enough, but he has in recent seasons and signed an extension last year. He plays nearly 100% of the team’s defensive snaps as their starting slot cornerback.

OL Cody Ford (wAV 13)
2019 - Second Round

A name I didn’t really expect to see, Ford’s playing time has come mostly via injury replacement in his three years in the league.

TE Dawson Knox (wAV 12)
2019 - Third Round

He took over as the leading tight end in 2021 and had one of the most successful years in team history at the position. That’s four players from 2019 alone on the list.

WR Gabriel Davis (wAV 10)
2020 - Fourth Round

He’ll have ample opportunity to shoot up in his valuation by taking over as a starter in his third season. His playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2021 was magical and he’s developed a penchant for scoring touchdowns and toe-tapping on the sideline.

DE Gregory Rousseau (wAV 10)
2021 - First Round

While many expected him to need seasoning after a year off for COVID-19 and just one successful college season, he immediately played his way into the lineup as a rookie. We’re expecting big things from him in Year 2.

DT Harrison Phillips (wAV 10)
2018 - Third Round

Without injuries, his number could be so much higher. He also plays a position that is hard to quantify. Still, he’s the fifth player from 2018 on the list and the top six picks are all still in the league (Sorry, Austin Proehl).


The Bills didn’t have a first-round pick in 2020 after trading it for wide receiver Stefon Diggs. If they included his contribution in the ledger, Buffalo would be kicking even more butt.

Only a few of the Bills’ picks haven’t contributed anything, so they’ve hit big on a few players and received contributions from multiples, as well.

According to Cobern, the Chiefs were second (Mahomes helps), followed by the Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, and Baltimore Ravens. The worst pickers were the Houston Texans, Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, and New England Patriots.