The Buffalo Bills are getting ready to put their free-agency plan into action. A couple of moves have already been made — a small restructure of 2022 free agent addition Tim Settle’s contract and a two-year extension for All-Pro linebacker Matt Milano into 2026 that saves the Bills $6 million on the cap. There is plenty more to come with the team still above the salary cap limit. What the franchise decides to do in the coming days will certainly dictate (to an extent) the draft plan for all teams. The Bills are included in that bunch with a lot of questions remaining to be answered on both sides of the football.
Our mock this time next week could look a whole lot different, but let’s conduct one that helps the offense in a big way in a similar fashion to last week’s edition.
For this exercise, we’ll put a realistic scenario in place using a recent big board put together by The Athletic’s NFL Draft Writer Dane Brugler. Brugler is very plugged in to the league — with an enormous understanding of who the league’s personnel likes along with his own thoughts and opinions on prospects.
With the 27th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select...
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
Smith-Njgba makes so much sense for the Bills if he actually lasts until Buffalo’s current pick at 27. It would be a long wait for the Bills, but perhaps some teams will be scared off by Smith-Njigba playing a very small amount of snaps in 2022. He has one-year wonder on his profile along with a physical profile that won’t stack up to players like TCU’s Quentin Johnston. However, don’t underestimate Smith-Njigba as an athlete. He was unbelievable in the agility drills at the Combine— a 3.93 20-yard shuttle (97th percentile) and a 6.57 three-cone (96th percentile).
Those times are reflective of his ability on tape to separate in the short areas in a hurry. If Smith-Njigba proves available at this selection. the Bills will have a security slot with play-making upside for years to come. He epitomizes the phrase, “a quarterback’s best friend.” That sounds good for any team, but no player needs a safety net quite like a trigger-happy Josh Allen does.
With the 59th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select...
Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State
What’s better than one Ohio State Buckeye? Well, two of them in this mock. Jones was one of the more-discussed names in the pre-draft cycle due to his pure size (6’8”, 374 pounds). Jones is a complete wall at right tackle with 36 3/8” arms. Unsurprisingly, Jones has struggles with movement due to his mass — he has some issues keeping his lower body in sync with his upper half. But players of his size don’t come through the draft every day, and his pure size is going to play a huge factor in establishing push in any team’s run game. The Bills’ development of Spencer Brown hasn’t gone according to plan. Going a different direction with a more physically imposing archetype like Jones makes a degree of sense — especially when you’d be able to expend the selection in the second round.
Adding Smith-Njigba and Jones gets the Bills younger and more imposing on offense from the moment both are drafted. Buffalo’s divisional opponents aren’t slowing down their attack; instead fortifying their rosters in an effort to slow down a Josh Allen-led Bills offense. One Bills Drive need to keep adding to its already high-powered offense to keep the advantages they appear to have at this point. Making a strength stronger is always a great idea in the NFL.