The hay is in the barn for mock drafters everywhere as they pen their final player and team pairings on the morning of the 2022 NFL Draft. ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay has made his pick for the Buffalo Bills. The pick is quite controversial as Bills fans across the social media landscape have expressed their hesitations with a running back in the first round.
Pick 25: Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
McShay’s take: “The Bills need a cornerback, and perhaps they look at Clemson’s Andrew Booth Jr. But they also were No. 25 in the NFL in rushing yards from the running back position — and Hall has breakaway speed, reliable hands and the contact balance to break tackles along the way.”
Max’s take: Hall brings a different flavor to what the Bills are currently offering on their depth chart with a blend of dynamic athleticism (tenth-best relative athletic score all-time for a running back) and pass-catching ability. Drafting a running back in the first round tends to be bad practice. The most recent example of a contender picking a back was the Kansas City Chiefs drafting Clyde Edwards-Helaire in 2020. That has proven to be a mediocre pick. General manager Brandon Beane has selected players like Devin Singletary and Zack Moss who were underwhelming athletes coming out of college. The Bills likely want to take some off the plate of star quarterback Josh Allen. Hall could be the guy for the job.
Other players selected ahead of the Bills
12 - Kyle Hamilton
17 - CB Kaiir Elam
18 - CB Trent McDuffie
23 - WR Jahan Dotson
Brandon Beane is going to have a major decision to make on how he will address the running back position. In recent years, he has come away empty on draft picks Singletary and Moss. There was rumored interest from the Bills in current Jacksonville Jaguars running back and 2021 draft pick Travis Etienne. Beane selecting a back in the first round proves that he does not fall in line with the “no running back in round one” philosophy, which adds a new layer to the accomplished general manager’s resumé. Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. would be available in McShay’s mock, which could give Beane something else to think about. Hall being the pick for Buffalo would drive positive and negative narratives into focus.
Zion Johnson, Andrew Booth Jr., and several other potential picks were still on the board here.