clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Buffalo Bills 2023 NFL Draft: Analysts grade team’s six picks

Offense, defense, trades! All of it!

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2023 NFL Draft all wrapped up, the Buffalo Bills will head into training camp with some new faces on both sides of the ball. Bills fans witnessed quarterback Josh Allen running for his life in the playoffs last year versus the Cincinnati Bengals as well as inconsistencies in the play calling and overall scheme. So general manager Brandon Beane did something he’s never done before: used the team’s first two picks on offensive players tight end Dalton Kincaid and guard O’Cyrus Torrence. With the exit of linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, the middle linebacker position remained the biggest hole on Buffalo’s roster but it was addressed in the third round by selecting Dorian Williams.

Day 3 was interesting. Beane traded back twice, adding two additional 2024 sixth-round picks in the process and drafted depth pieces with the final three picks — wide receiver Justin Shorter, guard Nick Broeker and defensive back Alex Austin.

Of course, with the draft now accounted for, it’s time for post-draft grades on each pick made by Buffalo. Contained here are round-by-round grades from numerous sports news outlets such as Pro Football Network,, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, and Pro Football Focus (PFF).

Buffalo Bills 2023 Draft round-by-round grades

Round 1, No. 25: TE Dalton Kincaid

Pro Football Network: A+

“Wide receiver was considered a need for the Bills, and in taking Kincaid, they land a player who arguably possesses better route-running ability and hands than a large percentage of this WR class.” — Oliver Hodgkinson B+

“The addition of Kincaid to the Bills offense is intriguing. There is a long history of first-round tight ends not proving to be worth the investments teams make in them, but it’s important to consider the situation the rookie enters in Buffalo. He’ll be the third or fourth option in a passing game that ranked 7th in the NFL last season.

The only reason this pick doesn’t receive an A is because Beane had to give up a fourth-rounder. The Bills needed another weapon in the pass game and they got arguably the best one in the draft - receivers included.” — Matt Parrino

Bleacher Report: A

“Kincaid is an instant upgrade in both instances. Technically, he’s a tight end. But he’s at his best when working as a detached option. His catch radius and toughness over the middle of the field cannot be questioned. Josh Allen should be one of the happiest guys in the league right now based on what the Bills accomplished in the first round.” — Brent Sobleski

CBS Sports: C

“This is a strange pick when you consider they have Dawson Knox and have a few more pressing needs. Kincaid is a good player, but the position doesn’t make sense and they traded up to get him.” — Pete Prisco

PFF: Elite

“The Bills make a small jump to land the premier pass-catching tight end in the draft in Kincaid. This is a huge value pick for the 10th overall player on the PFF big board. Kincaid was the focal point of the Utah offense and led all players at the position with a 91.8 PFF receiving grade in 2022.”

Round 2, No. 59: OG O’Cyrus Torrence

Pro Football Network: A-

“A mammoth of a man, Torrence boasts incredible power to act as a roadblock in the ground game, something that the Bills have been crying out for. Despite being the size of a house, Torrence can get out to the second level well, while he’s showcased technical nuance as a pass protector.” — Oliver Hodgkinson A+

This pick would have been in the A range if it happened in the first round, so Beane landing arguably the draft’s second-best interior offensive lineman with the fifth-last pick of the second round was a home run. Torrence is a powerful mauler type that can handle some of the more imposing defensive tackles in the league.” — Matt Parrino

Bleacher Report: A

“An argument can be made in Torrence’s favor as the class’ best pure guard prospect. His size and power immediately bring a different dynamic to the Buffalo Bills offense. The team needs to make sure Josh Allen is properly protected, and Torrence immediately solidifies the interior.” — Brent Sobleski

CBS Sports: A

“Enormous human being who actually plays with more foot quickness than his size would indicate. Masher in one-on-one scenarios. Must utilize his length better at next level but already very good anchoring skill. More help for Josh Allen is smart for Buffalo.” — Chris Trapasso

PFF: Elite

“Like the Giants just a few picks before, this could have easily been the Bills’ first-round selection. A mountain of a man at the position, he can still move better than his size would suggest. After starting his career at Louisiana, he made the move to the SEC with ease, finishing 2022 with an 89.9 PFF run-blocking grade, which was the best in the Power Five last season.”

Round 3, No. 91: LB Dorian Williams

Pro Football Network: A

“The 6’2″, 225-pound linebacker showcases impressive closing speed and isn’t short on sideline-to-sideline speed either. Displaying violence in his hands, he hits with ferocity. More than just a heavy hitter, however, Williams demonstrates impressive instincts and play recognition. He’s also a highly experienced special-teams weapon.” — Oliver Hodgkinson C

“Beane said Williams played in the simpler defensive scheme at Tulane and now needs to download a more complicated system in the pros. He can fly and wants to play sideline-to-sideline in the NFL. Beane thinks his fit is on the outside (behind Matt Milano) but could factor into things at middle linebacker. The player has a good chance to develop into a great piece, but it’s hard to see him having any significant role in 2023.” — Matt Parrino

Bleacher Report: B

“Tremaine Edmunds’ departure in free agency to join the Chicago Bears makes the Williams selection an intriguing addition to the Buffalo Bills lineup. Williams falls on the opposite end of the spectrum regarding his build, but his speed and athleticism make him a fascinating fit for the Bills defense. Buffalo does have a veteran in line with A.J. Klein as a stopgap, but don’t be surprised if Williams finds his way into the lineup sooner rather than later.” — Ben Sobleski

CBS Sports: A

“Shorter, but incredibly long and decently rangy. But quicker than fast in general. Plus ball skills and awareness in coverage. Tireless worker to beat blocks and does it frequently. Sure tackler. Fills a need and keeps Buffalo athletic at LB.” — Chris Trapasso

PFF: Good

“The Bills trade up to secure Williams, a player with legitimate range and a huge wingspan. Those traits helped him morph into one of the most impactful players at the position against the pass throughout his college career. Williams produced a top-10 coverage grade among FBS off-ball linebackers in two of his last three seasons at Tulane.”

Round 5, No. 150: WR Justin Shorter

Pro Football Network: C+

“A big, physical threat on the outside, Justin Shorter has a limited route tree. He’ll factor into the Bills’ lineup as a WR3 or WR4, nothing more.” — Oliver Hodgkinson B+

“Shorter is an elite athlete who can win down the field. He has a chip on his shoulder and said he plans to “tear this league up” when he gets his opportunity to play. The Bills plan to use Shorter as a four-phase special teams player and develop him as a pass catcher.” — Matt Parrino

Bleacher Report: C-

“The Buffalo Bills found their Cole Beasley replacement in first-round tight end Dalton Kincaid. The team’s top draft pick becomes its de facto slot. Instead of trying to further address the position, the Bills took Florida’s Justin Shorter, who provides a different skill set as an outside target with buildup speed. He’s another big-bodied (6’4”, 229 pounds) deep threat for quarterback Josh Allen.” — Brent Sobleski

CBS Sports: C+

“Large, physical specimen who’s a vertical weapon because of his deceptive long speed and contested-catch talent. Strong hands. Rare to see a drop on film. Not a YAC type at all. Sizable niche type. More weapons for Josh Allen.” — Chris Trapasso

PFF: Average

“Shorter is one of the bigger wide receivers in this class, coming in at 6-foot-4 and 234 pounds with nearly 34-inch arms. He was a big-play threat for the Gators and averaged 19.9 yards per reception in 2022 without a dropped pass. He’ll likely fill a similar role for Buffalo and compete to be on the receiving end of Josh Allen bombs.”

Round 7, No. 230: OG Nick Broeker

Pro Football Network: C+

“Broeker is strong and refined with his hands, which helps make up for a lack of athleticism. He’s better in pass protection and will need to improve his ability on the move in the run game to be a contributor at this stage.” — Oliver Hodgkinson A-

“Beane said he wasn’t planning to take a second offensive lineman, especially an interior lineman - Broeker played mostly at guard - but he was the best player on the board at this spot. The Bills needed to find another wave of competition on their line and they accomplished that two fold on the interior with Torrence and Broeker.” — Matt Parrino

Bleacher Report: B

Ole Miss’ Nick Broeker can be a nice complement to fellow rookie O’Cyrus Torrence. Torrence should immediately step in as the Buffalo Bills’ starting right guard. Broeker can compete at left guard and back up multiple spots.” — Brent Sobleski

CBS Sports: B

“King of winning ugly up front. Played OT and OG at Ole Miss. Good power to his game and will work tirelessly to recover. Anchor is quality. Short-area quickness is impressive” — Chris Trapasso

PFF: Above average

“Most of Broeker’s 3,323 offensive snaps at Ole Miss came at left tackle, but he kicked inside to left guard in 2022. He was a reliable pass protector for the Rebels with 70.0-plus PFF pass-blocking grades in each of the past two seasons.”

Round 7, No. 252: DB Alex Austin

Pro Football Network: A

“A knockout at this stage, Alex Austin has high-end potential in his game. Austin has great instincts and a terrific athletic profile that follows him to Buffalo. He’s sticky in coverage and stays in phase well. Austin also has special-teams ability and a feisty attitude all over the field.” — Oliver Hodgkinson B

“Beane said that the decision to pick Austin came down to at least two players and the deciding factor was who had a better path to impact the team. Austin is likely a priority practice squad developmental piece.” — Matt Parrino

Bleacher Report: C

“The Buffalo Bills rounded out their draft class with Oregon State defensive back Alex Austin. Interestingly, the team didn’t address safety despite its two standouts–Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer–both being 32. Austin is an outside corner, but he may get a look at safety.” — Brent Sobleski

CBS Sports: C

“Good size at CB but not lengthy. Tackling issues appear often on film. Not a burner down the field or high-caliber athlete overall. Found the football often on the perimeter. Natural in that regard.” — Chris Trapasso

PFF: Average

“Austin produced 70.0-plus PFF coverage and run defense grades in his final season in college. On the field for 476 coverage snaps, he allowed 42 receptions for 529 yards in 2022.”