The Buffalo Bills made their first splash of the 2023 NFL Draft on Day 1 when they traded up to pick No. 25 overall to select Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid. They traded away a fourth-round pick this year in doing so, leaving the team with just four remaining picks in the draft. Two of those selections are scheduled to come off the board on Day 2 when things kick off at 7 p.m. EDT time Friday night. Picks 59 and 91 are going to make or break this draft for the Bills with the now-minuscule amount of picks the franchise has remaining.
It’s safe to rule out tight end from consideration for a Day 2 selection and a quarterback would be surprising as well due to the needs at hand. Every other position should be well in line as a potential selection on Day 2 if value and need align. As is always the case after 31 selections, there’s still plenty of useful talent available for the Bills to make a move. The strategy tonight will be a fascinating talking point. Let’s dig into the names still remaining heading into Friday.
Zach Charbonnet, RB (UCLA)
Charbonnet has some of the best contact balance in this year’s draft class in addition to how he sees everything coming together in front of him. He’s a bit robotic as an athlete, but he has two elite traits to hang his hat on. A team that drafts Charbonnet knows what they’re getting. He’s one of the “safe” backs in the class.
Devon Achane, RB (Texas A&M)
The Achane profile is a fascinating one — he’s 5’8” and 190 pounds, which would usually immediately turn teams off from an early Day 2 selection. But Achane is a different cat with legitimate track speed and rare burst. A team that can put him in a 1-2 rotation will get the most out of Achane while reaping the rewards of a player who brings much more than just scat back ability at the NFL level. Achane has proven he can tote the rock between the tackles and shouldn’t be limited to one scheme.
Tank Bigsby, RB (Auburn)
Bigsby’s profile is one of a more traditional back in the NFL. His speed is fine, but you start to really like this player when you see him cut and run through arm tackles getting through the line of scrimmage. Bigsby looks like a dude on the hoof, which could give him a leg up over other backs on Day 2. His fatal flaw could be his vision in the NFL where he struggles to see things opening up in front of him. What there is for Bigsby is pass catching ability along with contact balance and explosiveness to fall in love with in his game.
Matthew Bergeron, OT (Syracuse)
Bergeron is a local tackle/guard prospect who originally hails from up north in Canada. There are questions about where Bergeron best fits in at the NFL level, but he’s an NFL-ready run blocker with his ability to work angles when tasked to do so. Bergeron isn’t a great athlete for the position — he profiles similarly to Dion Dawkins when he was coming out of Temple where there were some questions about if he was a tackle or a guard. Bergeron is likely the most intriguing offensive lineman still on the board entering Day 2.
Dawand Jones, OT (Ohio State)
Jones is a right tackle all the way in the NFL. He’s a complete monster at 6’8” and 375 pounds with over 36” arms. He hasn’t been the archetype that the Bills like, as he’s a huge mauling run blocker with plenty of athletic and footwork limitations because of his sheer size. Jones is capable of dominating wins in the run game and when rushers try to attack him down the middle. The questions will pop up when his feet get out of sorts on counters and rushers who can quickly change direction with deceptiveness. Jones is one of the most fascinating case studies in this draft.
O’Cyrus Torrence, OG (Florida)
It was a small surprise that Torrence wasn’t selected in Round 1, but it’s easy to imagine that some teams aren’t impressed with his movement skills and the “guard only” label that will be placed on him due to limitations on the move. What Torrence does have is fantastic grip strength to end his battles early. He’s a massive man who plays massive inside, but he does struggle on the move — which could cause teams who like to pull their guards to ask some questions about where he fits.
Steve Avila, OG/C (TCU)
Avila, much like Torrence, is a player who wins with his power where he displays heavy hands on run and pass blocking reps. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see a bigger pool of teams like Avila more than Torrence because of his ability to successfully pull off blocks on the move. Avila can play anywhere on the interior of the line. The questions come from how active his feet can be to deal with explosive interior rushers.
Joe Tippmann, C (Wisconsin)
Tippmann is the rarity of an insanely tall center (6’6”) who has drawn comparisons to Bills center Mitch Morse from a multitude of angles due to his unique physique for the position. The awkwardness of his size can present issues, but Tippmann is very athletic and strong for the position.
John Michael Schmitz, C (Minnesota)
The differences between Schmitz and Tippmann are stark beginning with the size. Schmitz is more of a traditional center who wins with strength and attitude up front. The limitations lie in his athleticism, where a team will hope to mask the deficiency by placing him in the middle of the offensive line. His anchor and pure power are the standouts in his game.
Jalin Hyatt, WR (Tennessee)
Need speed? Hyatt brings that to the table. Right now, it’s his calling card and there will be questions around him because of his size and the wide-open Josh Heupel offense he played in throughout college. He was a one-year boom player who absolutely torched everyone in the SEC routinely throughout the year. The route tree just wasn’t there for Hyatt, who became a vertical specialist. A team will have to feel comfortable with him because of the scheme he played in and hope they can develop a route tree to make him more than just a useful role player in the NFL.
Josh Downs, WR (North Carolina)
Downs is a slot-only player who lacks the overall size to be a factor on the outside. Downs will have to learn to deal with bumps and bruises close to the line of scrimmage in the NFL. What he does bring is a dynamic skill set in short areas. It’s easy to see Downs being a choice route specialist in the NFL who quickly becomes a quarterback’s best friend. A team will have to get comfortable with Downs’ size to draft him, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him become an instant starter from the slot in the NFL.
Tyler Scott, WR (Cincinnati)
Scott has similar size issues as Downs with his 5’10”, 175-pound frame. Winning at the catch point will be important for him at the next level. Scott wins with excellent athleticism and the ability to get vertical. Stop-start ability plays into Scott’s favor as well.
Cedric Tillman, WR (Tennessee)
Another Tennessee wide receiver who is quite different from his teammate Hyatt. Tillman is a true X-receiver in a receiver class that’s heavily lacking them. He has some wiggle for a big man and will be a ball-winner with strong hands in the NFL. There’s a lot to still uncover with Tillman because of the limited route tree he ran in college. The Tennessee system leaves teams to imagine with what they can be.
Gervon Dexter Sr., DT (Florida)
Dexter is a former highly rated recruit who has flashed potential, but he hasn’t put it all together to this point in his career. Dexter is a huge athlete who will need to develop in the NFL with consistency and making splash plays regularly. Dexter will need to improve his anchor at the next level, but he’s a bet on talent on Day 2 as a huge 3-technique with the ability to play the “1” with improved technique.
Keeanu Benton, DT (Wisconsin)
Benton may project as a super 1-technique because of his ability to hold up at the point of attack and eat blocks. Benton could use more work to develop what he can be as a pass rusher, but Benton projects as more of a super one-tech with some ability to slide over to 3-technique in run situations. Benton has good athleticism for his size and is an improving player.
Ade Adebawore, DT (Northwestern)
Adebawore is one of the most unique players in this class at 6’1” and 280 pounds. He has rare athleticism running a 4.49-second 40-yard dash and notching 37.5” on the vertical jump at the NFL Scouting Combine. This is a project play with a bet on someone who has already flashed the ability to put a pass-rush plan together. Adebawore’s struggles in the run game will worry some teams. Despite being a Day 2 pick, he’s a draft-and-stash player to an extent while playing specifically in sub packages as an interior rusher while he improves his ability against the run.
B.J. Ojulari, DE (LSU)
Ojulari is a 6’2”, 250-pound edge rusher with explosive ability coming off the edge. He’s flexible and interesting, but it’s hard to project him as much more than a pass-rushing role player at the next level. He’s not a strong run defender and it’s easy to understand why with how undersized he is. Ojulari will look to develop his pass-rush plan to consistently get around NFL offensive tackles, but he needs to be able to improve how he plays through physicality to be fully effective.
Derick Hall, DE (Auburn)
Hall has the goods in every way except for his bend and flexibility. While Hall tested well at the NFL Combine he’s not a rusher who routinely gets to the corner on offensive tackles, and that won’t happen in the NFL, either. At 6’3” and 255 pounds, Hall punches above his weight as an NFL-ready run defender and a player who can threaten as an athlete converting speed-to-power. Hall projects as a useful rusher in the NFL with plenty of floor as a run defender.
Keon White, DE (Georgia Tech)
White is a jumbo athlete who hasn’t yet developed a pass-rush plan. At 24 years old, teams may have some questions on why it hasn’t come together for him yet. White transitioned to defensive line from tight end in 2019 at Old Dominion and ultimately transferred during the 2020 “Covid season.” White is a fascinating prospect with terrific power due to his size, and an athletic profile that could lead to a big boom if it all comes together for him.
Drew Sanders, LB (Arkansas)
Sanders is a former high-pedigree recruit who started his career at Alabama and worked his way into Nick Saban’s edge rotation as a sophomore in 2021. Sanders transferred to SEC foe Arkansas for more opportunity as he was stuck behind a loaded front. The Razorbacks worked him in as an edge rusher and off-ball linebacker. Sanders flashed the athletic ability to play in space and projects well “off the ball” because of his lack of consistent physicality at the point of attack. Sanders is a player who naturally understands zone spacing and has the athleticism to turn and run with backs and tight ends. Improvements from Sanders will need to come as he develops more as a consistent tackler and force player.
Trenton Simpson, LB (Clemson)
Simpson is the athletic space player who projects as a weakside linebacker or overhang player in the NFL. He was a true utility player at Clemson who had a knack for blitzing from all areas of the field. Simpson still has room to grow as he diagnoses plays and works on not over-pursuing and missing out on even more potential plays made. Simpson is an athletic freak who will need to be fit into the right role in the NFL where he can be a heat seeker and space player.
Daiyan Henley, LB (Washington State)
Henley has below-average size for a linebacker and likely projects as a weakside linebacker because of his size concerns. He diagnoses well with good athleticism and stopping power at the point of attack. Henley began playing linebacker in 2020 after playing safety and receiver prior. Henley has a quick trigger for such a new player at the position and will be a splashy NFL player with limitations.
Joey Porter Jr., CB (Penn State)
One of the biggest surprises not to go in Round 1 was Porter Jr. — the son of former NFL star edge rusher Joey Porter. Porter Jr. is a long physical press-man corner with good linear athleticism at the position. Porter Jr. is scheme specific for a system where he can be aggressive and knock receivers off their route. It should be expected that he goes early on Day 2 despite his concerns with changing direction and staying sticky when shifty receivers cross his face.
Kelee Ringo, CB (Georgia)
Ringo has struggled to figure out the nuances of the corner position despite being a physical freak and gifted with fluid athleticism throughout his frame. The processing just isn’t there for Ringo and he doesn’t consistently compete at the catch point for the football. Ringo needs a lot of work, but the sky remains the limit for him with the frame and athleticism to be an elite No. 1 corner if puts it all together.
DJ Turner, CB (Michigan)
One of the fastest players you will ever see on tape in 2022 and he backed that up with a 4.26 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Some teams will look at him as a nickel-only defensive back in the NFL due to size and length limitations, but he shows off his ability to break on the football and consistently chase down plays. Turner will need to show he can hold up physically at the NFL level if he’s going to live on the outside, but he does project as a high-level slot option early in his career at minimum.
Brian Branch, S (Alabama)
Branch is going to go real early on Day 2 and he may be the best pure player remaining on the board after Round 1. Branch’s tape is much better than his pre-draft process went, as he tested below-average for a player who will make most of his money in the NFL as a nickel (4.58 40-yard dash). Branch has very clean tape and displays one of the highest floors in this class with his technique in both man and zone. Branch has shown he can handle a huge workload rotating up to safety from the slot in Saban’s system. Pittsburgh Steelers star free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick was given similar responsibility in his time at Alabama.