The 2023 NFL Draft closes out today with the final four rounds with over 150 selections still to be made. The Buffalo Bills are only scheduled for two of those selections at picks 137 (fifth round) and 205 (sixth round) overall. It’s not likely the Bills are finding any starters or even instant contributors at this point in the draft with just two picks, but what they can find is value propositions or players who offer depth or down-the-road starting potential.
Going into the final day, all positions should be considered on the table as value and fit will be the only important components of the day. The goal should be to find players who you hope can stick on your roster, and the Bills will have to be savvy with their final two selections to maximize the lack of capital they have. Still, talent remains and there are some high-quality depth options still lurking.
Jake Haener (Fresno State)
He’s a natural play extender who has a very modest physical profile and traits. Haener is an ideal NFL backup who will be able to come in and compete in a pinch with accuracy and wits to see the field.
Aidan O’Connell (Purdue)
Gutsy passer with fine size and below-average athleticism. O’Connell doesn’t have the traits of a starter, but he will stand in and make throws under pressure. O’Connell isn’t afraid to trust himself and fit the ball in tight windows. He’s a backup capable of making a play or two in a pinch with his arm to get a team out of a stadium with a win.
Tanner McKee (Stanford)
A bit of the prototypical “statue” quarterback who has good arm strength and accuracy, but is very limited by his athleticism. McKee is far from a creator and will need to go to a team with a strong offensive line unit in front of him to maximize the potential as a good backup.
Roschon Johnson (Texas)
Johnson is the perfect “do everything” back in this draft class while missing out on one single high-end trait or characteristic. Johnson is a powerful presence with good contact balance and enough elusiveness to make defenders miss. He’s also got the goods as a pass protector where he competes at a high level. Johnson fits into an NFL rotation while also being a special teams warrior.
Israel Abanikanda (Pittsburgh)
A true home-run hitter with a ton of juice and athleticism at the position. Abanikanda figures to work into a committee where he can hit explosive plays. He’s not a player known for earning the tough yards, but he does have requisite size to handle a large workload if need be in the league. Abanikanda is easy to love, but he doesn’t excel in the physical aspects of the game.
Zach Evans (Ole Miss)
Evans is one of the top-five most-talented backs in this class — routinely showing off his explosiveness as a rusher with one-cut ability and taking it deep to distance is well within his range of outcomes. Evans has requisite size and athleticism, but there are some off-field questions as well as vision problems behind the line and at the second level. A team who believes in him as a future starter in the backfield will swing on him, but the character questions and a limited special teams history may limit his fits.
Tyler Scott (Cincinnati)
It’s surprising that Scott remains available into Day 3 and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him off the board early. But Scott has some size issues with his 5’10”, 175-pound frame. Winning at the catch point will not be where he wins at the next level. Scott wins with excellent athleticism and the ability to get vertical to leverage separation. Stop-start ability plays into Scott’s favor as well.
Trey Palmer (Nebraska)
A speed specialist with success in his history as a return man. Palmer was torching defenses in the SEC at LSU before being a featured player at Nebraska this past year. Palmer ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. There are some raw aspects to his game and drops will be a concern for teams, but you can’t teach his speed profile.
A.T. Perry (Wake Forest)
Perry is one of the few receivers in this class with true size to play x-receiver in the NFL. He’s a quality route runner for a big man, but he also struggles with physicality at times due to a lack of weight on his frame (less than 200 pounds at 6’3”), but he offers unique ability as a smooth route runner at his size.
Davis Allen (Clemson)
There’s a lot to like with Allen who has gotten swallowed up in a deep and talented tight end class. Allen profiles as a useful in-line tight end at the NFL level who can become a red zone threat early in his career due to his high-quality ball skills. Allen will make the tough catch, but his 4.84-second 40-yard dash backs up his inability to separate from coverage at a consistent level.
Zack Kuntz (Old Dominion)
If you’re looking for an athletic freak on Day 3, Kuntz is going to be your guy. He’s a transfer from Penn State standing at 6’7” and 255 pounds who ran a 4.55-second 40-yard dash at the combine and jumped out of the gym with 40” on the vertical. Kuntz remains a complete project due to his lackluster blocking and inconsistencies as a pass catcher. He’s a true draft-and-stash prospect on Day 3.
Josh Whyle (Cincinnati)
Whyle still needs a lot of work as a pass-catching option, but he is a 6’6” 250-pound tight end who ran sub-4.7-second in the 40-yard dash at the combine while offering competitiveness and ability as an in-line blocker at the next level. Again, there’s a need to develop what he is as a pass catcher, but there are useful tools there to integrate as a number-two tight end early in his career as he works his craft.
Dawand Jones (Ohio State)
Jones remains available into Day 3, making him one of the bigger surprises to not go on Day 2. 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 isn’t the archetype that the Bills tend to prefer, 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.
Chandler Zavala (NC State)
Zavala projects as one of the highest selections in this year’s draft that was not invited to the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. He’s a 24-year old prospect who still has developing to do, but he is a good athlete and a natural guard prospect in the NFL with some scheme versatility due to his mix of strength and athleticism on the move.
Nick Saldiveri (Old Dominion)
Editor’s note: Selected by New Orleans Saints at pick 103 in Round 4 prior to publication
One of the more versatile players in the draft, Saldiveri has the ability to truly play all five positions in the NFL. There are questions on his upside at any one position as his length and athleticism to play tackle is a concern, but he doesn’t have elite play strength to slot in at guard. He’s a jack of all trades and a master of none on the offensive line. But NFL teams love versatility up front to combat injury.
Isaiah McGuire (Missouri)
McGuire is a true power rusher and stout run defender who fits in perfectly as a useful day three edge. McGuire wants to run through the chest of his opponent to cave in the pocket. He’s a powerful rusher who carries that tenacity into the run game where he offers plenty of ability to hold his ground and maneuver to the football. He will be useful in a rotation early, but the upside is limited.
Nick Hampton (Appalachian State)
Hampton is a sub-package edge rusher all the way in the NFL with explosive athleticism off the tackle. He has great length for his size and uses it well. Hampton will get washed in the run game if he’s depended on via an every down basis, but he’s a useful chess piece for a team who values speed, agility, and length to reach the quarterback.
Dylan Horton (TCU)
Editor’s note: Selected by Houston Texans at pick 109 in Round 4 prior to publication
Horton was one of the stars of the College Football Playoff Semifinal where the Horned Frogs knocked off Michigan. He wreaked havoc in the backfield with four sacks in that game. Horton will be beloved for his scheme versatility. He needs to fix his pass rush plan, but he’s a high quality athlete for his size and an NFL ready-made run stopper on the defensive line.
Ade Adebawore (Northwestern)
Editor’s note: Selected by Indianapolis Colts at pick 110 in Round 4 prior to publication
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.
Colby Wooden (Auburn)
An athletic tweener between edge and defensive tackle, NFL teams have to figure out how they will deploy Wooden at the next level, but he does offer an explosive first step to give interior offensive linemen issues. The questions will come from his natural strength to play against the run, but he offers inside-out versatility as an edge defender in run sets or a pass rusher on the interior in sub packages.
Cameron Young (Mississippi State)
Young is best fit as a nose tackle in the NFL that can jolt opposing interior linemen to make an impact in the run game. His pass-rushing upside is extremely limited, but he does have the ability to get on the field early as a run defender.
Nick Herbig (Wisconsin)
Herbig is in the tweener category as he was a consistent edge rusher for the Badgers in their system. He’s a good athlete with a lot to like in his rush getting to the edge and clearing hands. Herbig will not be able to hold up as a run defender on the edge in the NFL, which is raising some questions on if moving off the ball will be helpful to him with potential to rush the passer in sub packages.
Henry To’oto’o (Alabama)
To’oto’o is a player who has an elite trait with his ability to read keys and diagnose. He has a strong argument for best diagnosing skills in this draft at linebacker. To’oto’o is a good athlete with size limitations. Size, length, and strength are the questions on where the best spot for him will be in the NFL, but he has the diagnosing skills of an undersized MIKE in the NFL.
Ivan Pace Jr. (Cincinnati)
Pace is tight-hipped and way undersized from a height and length standpoint, which is going to drop him some in this draft. Pace gets fun when you watch him come downhill and get nasty in his run fits as he is a tenacious tackler and relentless in his pursuit to the football. Pace’s fit at the next level remains a question as size will be a major question mark.
Kelee Ringo (Georgia)
Editor’s note: Selected by Philadelphia Eagles at pick 105 in Round 4 prior to publication
Surprisingly, Ringo remains available going into Day 3. 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. It’s been reported that some teams believe he may be a safety.
Clark Phillips III (Utah)
Similar to Alabama nickel Brian Branch, Phillips III has size and speed deficiencies that teams are clearly questioning. But also like Branch, Phillips III is sticky in the short areas in man coverage and a team looking for a slot only is going to be very happy with Phillips III. It shouldn’t be a long wait for a player who was consistently one of the best overall players in college football over multiple seasons.
Darius Rush (South Carolina)
Rush is a “traits-y” corner with height, length, and elite athleticism at the position. A team looking for a potential starter as an outside corner should be thrilled to have rush on Day 3 because of his athletic profile. One of the main questions for Rush has to do with his liability in run support, but that has never been as much of a concern for teams in the past.
Antonio Johnson, S (Texas A&M)
Johnson might have the most versatility of any safety in this draft with potential to play in two-high, in the nickel, and as a dime linebacker. Johnson will need to clean up his technique in addition to improving his discipline at the NFL level to avoid big plays being made against his coverage. If those improvements come to fruition, Johnson will be an impactful safety at the NFL level. Some teams may be viewing him as a player who has no prevailing trait.
JL Skinner (Boise State)
Skinner is best-positioned as a box or big nickel player at the next level where he can play closer to the line of scrimmage. He tore his pectoral in the pre-draft process and did not work out pre-draft, but he does look the part of a good athlete on tape. Skinner is a willing tackler who will need to fine tune his football IQ at the next level, but he’s a big, aggressive tackler with plenty of range to burn with athletic tight ends.
Jammie Robinson (Florida State)
Robinson was a “do everything” player at FSU and a leader on their defense the past couple of seasons after transferring from South Carolina. He is undersized and a modest athlete, but his football IQ is through the roof pre and post-snap while playing with a vicious tenacity. it would not be surprising to see Robinson outperform his athletic testing to become an effective nickel or two-high defender in the NFL.