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2023 NFL mock draft: Bills strengthen the offensive front

A versatile piece joins the fold in this mock

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 01 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Picking towards the end of the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft presents a huge array of possible outcomes for the Buffalo Bills due to the unpredictability of the teams that are selecting ahead of them. The franchise will have 26 picks to watch before the Bills arrive at their designated pick to make (barring a trade). That being said, there will be a large pool of options for the Bills to pick from. In February, there are a multitude of positions of need that would make sense for the Bills to add to.

The struggles of Buffalo’s offensive line are very well known to most fans of the team at this stage — a frustrating constant has been the inability to improve the unit over the past few seasons. Part of that is a lack of resources dedicated to the offensive line in the draft itself. The team has only selected two offensive linemen within the first three rounds since 2018, with none in the first round.

We used the 2023 NFL Mock Draft Simulator from Pro Football Focus to complete a realistic first-round mock draft. The Bills are selecting 27th overall in 2023.

With the 27th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select...

Cody Mauch, OG, North Dakota State

He’s missing his front teeth, and he’s really damn good at football. Mauch showed up to North Dakota State as a tight end who quickly converted himself into an offensive tackle with the program. He essentially took two redshirt seasons to reshape his body and learn a brand new position. Now, in the NFL, Mauch is looking to make another move — to the interior of the offensive line as a guard or center, due to his lack of overall arm length.

Mauch wasn’t perfect at the Senior Bowl learning his new positions. He was cross-trained at guard and center during the showcase week, but was able to hold his own as an athlete. Mauch has now played every single hand-in-dirt position on offense at some point in his career, which will surely excite NFL personnel.

There’s a lot to like about Mauch, but a position switch along with playing FCS football and being an older prospect are all things working against him. He’s not a first-round lock by any means, but he’s certainly somewhere in the mix. If the Bills are looking for an athlete to man the left guard position or be Mitch Morse’s eventual successor, Mauch is surely an option for the team.

You won’t find a better climber to the second level from the interior than Mauch in this draft class. He’s intriguing in so many ways — from his looks to the traits and positional versatility. That kind of profile is exactly what the Bills want from their interior linemen to maximize value. The team hasn’t typically gravitated toward players who are boxed in to one specific position in the league.

General manager Brandon Beane and the Bills haven’t drafted an offensive lineman in the first round in his tenure. This year seems as likely as any since he arrived.