Buffalo Bills fans understand that mock drafts are thought exercises. Very rarely are they intended to be predictive before the week of the actual NFL Draft is upon us, and mock drafts before free agency are especially volatile. They are intended not just to generate clicks, but individual reactions to a multitude of different possibilities.
Mock drafts are also much better after free agency has slowed down. Prior to contracts being signed and trades being made, mock drafts can sometimes be exercises in fans yelling about which needs are more important using only their team’s first-round selection as ammunition. Thought exercises after needs have been partially or fully addressed can be of narrower focus.
Pete Prisco from CBS Sports released a mock draft on Wednesday, March 22 that might raise eyebrows amongst Bills Mafia:
Round 1 - Pick 27
Will McDonald IV EDGE
IOWA STATE • SR • 6’4” / 239 LBS
I know they have drafted a bunch of players at this spot, and they have Von Miller, but Miller isn’t a kid anymore and the pass rush still isn’t good enough. So why not add another young, talented edge player?
This article is titled “mock mocking or mock marveling” for a reason. It’s about the gut and initial reaction that I have to the player being selected for the Bills in the selected mock draft, and in this case, the coin lands on “mocking.”
I don’t have an issue with the Bills drafting an edge rusher at pick 27. I’m actively trying to fight against the sunk cost fallacy by recognizing that while Buffalo has invested significant resources in the position since Brandon Beane became the general manager, the results have been disappointing overall.
I also don’t have an issue with the Bills drafting Will McDonald IV. He’s an explosive and bendy rusher who can learn under Von Miller and potentially serve as a long-term running mate for promising third-year player Gregory Rousseau. He brings an NFL-ready set of pass-rush moves, including a wicked spin move to pair well with the outside-hip attacking speed moves.
But McDonald and pick 27 together might not be the best value. Even CBS’ own rankings have McDonald as the 71st overall prospect in the draft and the 11th-ranked edge rusher. McDonald struggles against the run, with a lean frame and inability to consistently maintain his gap. After being irritated with edge rushers getting too far upfield and losing contain on both the quarterback and potential underneath rushing lanes, Bills Mafia could see more of the same with McDonald unless he’s able to find more discipline in his rush angles. Most outlets have McDonald as a Day 2 pick in the draft, and with the talent left on the board in this particular mock draft, I’d find myself understanding both the position and the player, but wishing the cost was different.
...and that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I’m Bruce Nolan with Buffalo Rumblings. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram @BruceExclusive and look for new episodes of “The Bruce Exclusive” every Thursday on the Buffalo Rumblings podcast network!