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Mocking the Bills: Going best player available in the first round

Bills go with the best available player

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Baylor v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Let’s start with a bit of a disclaimer here before we get into this week’s version of a Buffalo Bills-centric 2023 NFL mock draft. Some will be upset with the selection this week (or any, for that matter). But these are all thought exercises to consider with over three months to go until the 2023 NFL Draft. A common theme has been the Bills looking to run the ball even more effectively moving forward. In recent weeks, they’ve done just that behind rookie running back James Cook’s contributions.

Just for fun, let’s consider another weapon for the Bills on offense. This isn’t a particularly strong wide receiver class. That position has a premium placed on it in the draft — with it being very likely the Bills will select late in the first round, the receiver talent is likely to be largely picked over. That’s no guarantee, but it’s likely. We’ve already talked about a couple of candidates to be drafted for the offensive line in recent versions of our mock drafts. Let’s consider the Bills going with a best-available-player approach regardless of position.

We used the 2023 NFL Mock Draft Simulator from Pro Football Focus to complete a realistic first-round mock draft (as the order stands) until the Bills were on the clock at pick No. 30.

With the 30th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select...

Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas

Who’s mad right now? I know some of you are. I’m not saying the Bills should do this, but you at least have to consider the possibility if guard O’Cyrus Torrence is off the board at this spot. Very rarely do teams get the opportunity to draft a player as talented as Robinson at pick 30. In my opinion, he is the most talented back to enter the NFL since Saquon Barkley was drafted in 2018. Robinson is wired the right way, and it’s easy to see how Buffalo’s decision-makers could fall in love with two-time 1,000-yard rusher in the pre-draft process. Veteran running back Devin Singletary will be a free agent this offseason; Zack Moss has been traded. The current running back rotation in 2023 consists of rookie James Cook and Nyheim Hines. Neither has the body type of a back who can handle any kind of sizable workload. It’s something to at least think about.

Robinson has everything you could ever dream of from a running back — vision, speed, power, explosion, and the ability to stay on the field on third downs to assist in pass protection or run a route tree. There’s nothing Robinson can’t do on a football field. He’s special in every sense of the word.

Of course, the drawback here is investing in a position that has been rightfully devalued in the NFL in recent years. It’s also a position drafted by the Bills on Day Two in three of the last four drafts. Perhaps a first-round selection at the position is overkill, but we’re just evaluating our options here. The best talent on the board at pick 30 would undoubtedly be Robinson regardless of position.

Robinson doesn’t look or move like any Bills back in recent memory. There’s just one or two in the league you can point to who make a difference the way Robinson’s projected to in the NFL. I don’t think the Bills would do this at this time. But it’s something real to consider, given the team’s running game over the course of the last few years — which usually sees Josh Allen atop Buffalo’s rushing stat sheet. It’s not an impossible outcome, depending on how the board breaks. Receivers and linemen being taken increases the likelihood that this is a possibility.