The Buffalo Bills made sure to address needs along the interior of their offensive line during the initial wave of free agency. While general manager Brandon Beane has added competition, it may prove beneficial for the team to add more talent via the 2023 NFL Draft at month’s end. That’s especially true at center, considering Mitch Morse’s age and history of concussions.
Enter offensive lineman Steve Avila from TCU. who has extensive met with the Bills heading into the NFL Scouting Combine. Per Ryan Fowler, Avila “has had extensive meetings with the Bills,” among others ahead of this month’s draft. Fowler said earlier this offseason that “Buffalo has been doing extensive research on TCU product, Steve Avila.”
One of the premier guards in the class, TCU IOL Steve Avila has had extensive meetings with the Bills, Cowboys, Bears, and Titans during the pre-draft process, per source.— Ryan Fowler (@_RyanFowler_) February 16, 2023
Steve Avila brings a versatile skill set as an interior offensive line prospect, starting a full season each at center and left guard.
In 2020, Avila earned All-Big 12 accolades as a sophomore when he made nine starts across three different positions on the o-line. Avila started 11 games at center during the 2021 season, earning second-team all-conference honors. The 2022 season saw Avila earn second-team Associated Press All-American and first-team all-Big 12 honors as a 15-game starter at left guard. During his final season, Avila didn’t allow a single sack in 515 pass-blocking snaps.
Avila measured in at 6’ 3 1/2’’ and 332 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine. A truly versatile lineman, Avila is a powerful and athletic prospect who displays high football intelligence. should likely put together a long career as either a guard or center in the NFL. Nearly everything that Avila does, he does well — and he’s unlikely to be outsmarted or overpowered often as a pro.
Avila lacks the desired lateral movement skills, which could lead to blocking inefficiency and negative plays if placed in the wrong scheme fit. For him to reach his ceiling, Steve Avila is probably best served playing in a gap scheme where he can use his power and leverage to make defenders submit to his will. As an interior offensive lineman in gap, Avila would bring powerful run-blocking ability and dominant strength to hold off defenders in pursuit of the quarterback.
Does Steve Avila fit the Bills? It might not be the perfect fit at the outset, due to the type of schemes that offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey and offensive line coach Aaron Kromer utilize. But that shouldn’t preclude One Bills Drive from pursuing Avila if they find his talent and potential too good to pass up. Given the similar profiles of other offensive line prospects the team has shown interest in this offseason, it’s worth wondering if the coaching staff will try to incorporate more gap fits.
Steve Avila would be a solid pick for the Buffalo Bills, with the potential to have an enduring and successful career along the team’s offensive line. Adding Avila would represent a commitment to improving the offensive line for the long haul. While he could go as high as late in Round 1, if Avila is available to the Bills on Day 2 of the draft, don’t be surprised if his name is on the card turned in by Buffalo’s decision makers.