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Realistic Round 1 options for Bills in 2023 NFL Draft

Three names to keep an eye on during night one of the draft

NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

General manager Brandon Beane and the Buffalo Bills enter the 2023 offseason with a strong roster but holes to fill at critical positions. It’s draft season here at Buffalo Rumblings, and I wanted to take some time to get you acquainted with some realistic options in the first round in the upcoming NFL Draft. With players like linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, safety Jordan Poyer, and running back Devin Singletary (among other key contributors) set to hit free agency, this may be the most crucial offseason since the team drafted Josh Allen in 2018. Before we get into the players who might land in Buffalo, here’s a list of players I think will be drafted before the Bills pick at 27 (with the list based on team need or BPA).

Players likely to be drafted before Buffalo’s turn at the podium

  • Broderick Jones, OT (Georgia)
  • Jaxson Smith-Njigba, WR (Ohio State)
  • Jordan Addison, WR (USC)
  • Bijan Robinson, RB (Texas)
  • Quentin Johnson, WR (TCU)
  • Brian Branch, S (Alabama)
  • Calijah Kancey, DL (Pitt)
  • Bryan Breese, DL (Clemson)
  • Michael Mayer, TE (Notre Dame)
  • O’Cyrus Torrence, T/G (Florida)

Now with that out of the way, I’ll say that it’s still pretty early and anything can happen — but not very probable these players listed above fall to pick 27. So who could fall to the Bills near the end of the first round?

Zay Flowers, WR (Boston College)

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Boston College Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Flowers enters the conversation here as a four-year contributor for an Eagles offense where he was relied upon to make plays even as a freshman. What Flowers lacks in size and elite athleticism, he counters with a dog mentality like Stefon Diggs or Josh Allen. He’s a very smooth route-runner who can win at every level of the field, and be a slot option and an outside receiver. Flowers offers many tools to be effective at RAC and contested catches. Brandon Beane stated that those were qualities he’s looking for in a playmaker. Flowers could go as high as 20 or as low as an early-round two option.

Trenton Simpson, LB (Clemson)

Syndication: The Greenville News Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK

There’s a real possibility that Simpson could be the LB starting next to Matt Milano when the Bills open the 2023 regular season — if Tremaine Edmunds signs elsewhere. During his presser this week at the combine, Simpson mentioned that he met with the Bills and that they “love his versatility.” I mean, they’re not wrong. His athletic traits and character are through the roof. Simpson offers excellent range and coverage ability, especially in zone coverage. He posted a 4.43 40-yard dash and a 1.55 10-yard spit, which is very impressive. He doesn’t have the length and full range like Edmunds, but he offers a skill set that would be hard to pass up. The question is, can he play Mike linebacker at the next level? I think so, but getting up to speed may take him a while. He also played some safety in different packages and can rush the passer. Keep an eye out for Trenton Simpson.

Dawan Jones, OT (Ohio State)

Dawan Jones is a 6’8”, 360-pound behemoth of a man. He’s a mauler in the run game who uses power and leverage to win. Jones uses powerful hands and lower body strength to drive blocks while maintaining control. Now, he’s not the best athlete and doesn’t wow you with foot speed, but Jones makes up for it by displaying great technique. This is a player who understands his on-field limitations, and is similar to former Buffalo Bills lineman Darryl Williams. I believe that he could kick inside to right guard, but others say his height might be too much to overcome. Either way, you’re getting a starter who can challenge Spencer Brown at right tackle and has an intriguing skill set.