The 2023 NFL Draft will kick off Round 1 at 8 p.m. tonight. If the Buffalo Bills elect to stay put at pick number 27 we can expect them to be on the clock somewhere in the ballpark of 11:30 p.m. If we have learned anything about Round 1 of the draft, we know that nothing is for certain. Buffalo will have to wait to see how the board falls before making any potential moves. Whether general manager Brandon Beane stays put, or trades out of the team’s scheduled pick — there will be plenty of players with potential to help the Bills.
With that in mind, let’s review a group of prospects for the Buffalo Bills to consider in Round 1. It’s finally draft day people! Let’s get to it!
Players for the Bills to consider in the Round 1
These players aren’t necessarily who I think the Bills will take — they are players who I think they should be interested in selecting in Round 1 that Buffalo has a realistic shot at drafting given their draft position at pick 27. In no particular order here is a list of potential first-round selections in the 2023 NFL Draft for the Bills.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR (Ohio State)
This is probably the most unrealistic option out of the group. I’ve been on the JSN train since day one. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — if JSN falls into the late teens, I would be calling teams about a trade up. If he falls into the 20s, I would be jumping at the first opportunity I get to trade up. JSN would seamlessly fill the Bills' slot receiver position and can make an instant impact on Buffalo's offense. His rookie contract will allow him to acclimate for five seasons as he gets ready to take over the “alpha” WR1 role when Diggs’ contract is up.
Darnell Wright, OT (Tennessee)
Wright will likely be gone before pick 27, but there is a possibility of him falling. He would slot in to compete for the right tackle position that Spencer Brown currently holds. The 6’5” 333-pound lineman possesses the size and power to be a road grader in the run game and has the potential to be the Bills’ right tackle of the future. He doesn’t possess the athleticism the team usually covets in their offensive lineman, but he offers an upgrade in run blocking.
Dalton Kincaid, TE (Utah)
I think the tight end position is an underrated option for the Bills this draft cycle. They currently only have two expected contributors on the game-day roster — Dawson Knox and Quitin Morris. They need to add another body to the position and, at this point, I would expect it to come via the draft. The tight end class is a deep one, so if it doesn’t happen on Day 1 it’s still likely they look to draft one on Day 2 or 3. Kincaid is the cream of the crop in this year's class and is a dynamic receiving threat who would produce a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses.
Bryan Bresee, DT (Clemson)
The Bills currently have zero defensive tackles signed past 2023. I wouldn’t be surprised if they looked to add some youth at the position during the draft. Bresee offers the versatility to be able to take on double teams and hold his post but also offers some potential to rush the passer from the interior. Beane loves to invest in the trenches and Bresee would be able to develop in a rotational role in his first season in Buffalo.
Zay Flowers, WR (Boston College)
If JSN is off the board, the next receiver on my board would be Flowers. He offers a bit more juice and big-play ability than does JSN, but he still figures to slide into the slot receiver role. Flowers is explosive (4.42-second 40-yard dash) and can take it to the house anytime he touches the football. He would be exciting to watch in a Bills uniform.
Jordan Addison, WR (USC)
The 2021 Biletnikoff Award winner probably is the most likely receiver out of this group to be there at pick 27 for Buffalo. Addison also figures to work out of the slot but he is slender at only 173 pounds. Addison is a savvy route runner who understands how to get open versus man and zone. He may not be as explosive as JSN or Flowers, but he offers quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills’ offense another elite route runner.
Drew Sanders, LB (Arkansas)
I don’t think Buffalo should draft a linebacker in the first round, but if the board falls poorly and there are no viable trade-back options, Sanders would be a significant upgrade to the MLB position. Sanders is an athletic freak with big-time upside. Some analysts question his ability to be a traditional MLB because he is so good at rushing the passer, but I only see his pass-rushing capabilities as a plus. He is certainly big enough and athletic enough to be able to perform MLB duties. He would give the Bills a plethora of new pass-rush possibilities that weren’t so relevant with Tremaine Edmunds in the lineup.
Josh Downs, WR (UNC)
Downs will likely be there at pick 27 for the Bills. Downs is projected to be a second-round pick, but that shouldn’t discourage Buffalo from picking him if he is the best player left on their board at pick 27. Downs is a true slot receiver who’s a natural at getting open. He has a supreme understanding of how to use route stems, stop & start sequences, and timing to attack the defender's leverage to get open.
The 1st-round of the NFL Draft is always unpredictable, especially towards the end of the round. It remains to be seen how the board will fall, but it will be fun to watch regardless. The players above can offer Day 1 contributions, which would be ideal for a first-round pick. For better or worse, Bills Mafia puts their trust in Brandon Beane.