With the NFL Draft hurdling towards finality later this month, mock drafts have become very repetitive as we trudge forward this offseason. One of the best ways a team can ensure having a successful draft is by identifying the correct talent on Day 2 of the draft. The Buffalo Bills’ current regime hasn’t had a great track record on Day 2 in recent years.
Since 2020, the Bills have made six Day 2 selections. The most prominent of those selections was running back James Cook in 2022. However, I don’t think any fan or media member is prepared to crown Cook after his rookie season. That’s a testament to how unkind Friday night of the draft has been to general manager Brandon Beane and the rest of the draft team. That trend needs to be kicked with the bulky nature of quarterback Josh Allen’s contract and the innate need for “cheap labor” in the organization.
The Bills need a home run draft to keep the Super Bowl window pried wide open. So let’s develop the dream Day 2 scenario to keep things on the rails for years to come.
For this exercise, we’ll put a realistic Day 2 scenario in place using the Mock Draft Machine powered by The Draft Network.
With the 59th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select...
Jack Campbell, LB (Iowa)
Campbell has been a popular name in the first round of some mock drafts in recent weeks for the Bills. I think pick No. 27 is a little too lofty for him, but selecting him at 59 makes so much sense. Campbell tested way better than expected at the NFL Scouting Combine. Analyzing why Campbell doesn’t play like he tests is one of the more fascinating case studies in the pre-draft process. Linebacker is a massive position of need for the Bills. Getting a pure MIKE linebacker in the second round to replace the departed Tremaine Edmunds shows that emphasis was put on the position by waiting just an extra round to do so. Campbell is likely a plug-and-play starter immediately with Buffalo.
Getting cheap on the defensive side of the ball is a sensible strategy for the Bills, who fill a huge hole while getting to attack a different position in the first round. There’s no guarantee that Campbell lasts with a verified testing and size profile like he has, but it’s a grand-slam pick (and realistic) if he does.
With the 91st pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills select...
Byron Young, EDGE (Tennessee)
Getting to the passer with four rushers has become one of the most integral aspects of beating elite quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes in today’s NFL. With the explosive energy to get to the passer, sometimes that comes with sacrificing the ability to be an above-average run defender.
The Bills need some pass-rushing juice to help an aging Von Miller in 2023. That didn’t come by way of free agency this offseason and the draft has been a dud for the Bills in drafting jumbo rushers A.J. Epenesa and Carlos “Boogie” Basham in back-to-back seasons. The Bills have now shown a willingness to go after a smaller rusher in stature with Miller, but they may have to double down on that in the future. The NFL’s best pass-rushing units attack in waves and Tennessee edge rusher Byron Young is a tidal wave from an athletic standpoint and can cause fits for opposing offensive lineman. A spark plug from a rotation is what the Bills need.
Look at the video below to see Young’s ability to turn the corner and flatten. Young isn’t Von Miller, but he has a Von Miller skill set.
SEC leaders in pressures/game in 2022:— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 12, 2022
1. Byron Young, Tennessee (4.80)
2. BJ Ojulari, LSU (4.75)
t3. Will Anderson, Alabama (4.33)
t3. Derick Hall, Auburn (4.33)
With his athletic twitch and motor, Young continues to rise. pic.twitter.com/avPY3np5Ze
The selections of Campbell and Young are additions with hope in mind to add cheap labor to a defense that’s trying to stay relevant as one of the powerful units in the NFL. These selections on Day 2 will allow for the Buffalo Bills to get younger and more explosive on that side of the ball. All of this is to say the Bills can still add a weapon of their choosing at any other position in Round 1 while going for an instant starter with Campbell and a rotational spark plug right away in Young.