The Buffalo Bills will have the 19th overall selection in the 2016 NFL draft. In terms of needs, the Bills could address right tackle, second wide receiver, defensive line, linebacker or safety. That said, Buffalo could opt to take the best player available (BPA).
If the Bills opt to go with the BPA, who could be sitting at 19 for Buffalo? Here’s a look at the top players that could be sitting at 19 when Buffalo is on the clock.
Quarterback – Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
By the time the Bills are on the clock, it’s likely that Jared Goff and Paxton Lynch are both off the board. The next best option is debatable. Some people may list Connor Cook as the third best quarterback in this class, but I personally believe Wentz should be the third quarterback taken off the board.
Wentz may have played against lesser competition at North Dakota State but he has the skill-set of an NFL quarterback, as well as good size (6’5”, 231 lbs.).
The Bills will probably draft a quarterback to groom but it’s unlikely that the Bills go this route in Round 1. Tyrod Taylor has looked as though he can be a franchise quarterback and if he has a strong second season with the Bills, Buffalo will shell out a large contract to T-2.
Running back – Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
Buffalo will not draft a running back in round one. It’d be an awful pick considering the Bills had three running backs play well for them in 2015. That said, the point of this article is to look at who could be available at each position when the Bills are on the clock.
Although backs aren’t valued as much as they once were in the draft, Elliott is certainly a first round talent. He’s powerful and has excellent vision on the field as a rusher. The only area he may need to improve upon is his ability to catch the ball. In 40 games, Elliott had 58 receptions.
Elliott will be a terrific addition to a team looking for a young back but he’d be an awful selection for the Bills.
Wide receiver-Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss/Corey Coleman, Baylor/Michael Thomas, Ohio State
Offense wasn’t the issue for the Bills in 2015 but they might opt to add a complement for Sammy Watkins in Round 1. If this is the route they take, they could have three enticing players to choose from when they’re on the clock.
Treadwell had an unbelievable career at Ole Miss catching 202 passes for 2,393 yards and 21 touchdowns. He is decent speed but terrific strength and long arms. Treadwell could be the first wide receiver off the board in this year’s class.
Coleman is an offensive playmaker and make be exactly what they want as a complement to Watkins. He can stretch the field and is an explosive with the ball in his hands. His size (5’10”, 190 lbs.) is the only knock on Coleman but he’s the type of player that Greg Roman would love to utilize. On the field, Coleman would keep safeties honest with his ability to get down the field which would give Watkins more one-on-one matchups.
Thomas is another first round option at wide receiver, although I’m not as high on Thomas. He’s a big receiver (6’3”, 210 lbs.) but I question if he can create separation in the NFL. If Buffalo drafts an Ohio State WR, I’d prefer them taking Braxton Miller in the third or fourth round.
Tight end – None
Offensive tackle – Taylor Decker, Ohio State/Jack Conklin, Michigan State
This could be pushed up to the top of Buffalo’s needs list if the team doesn’t re-sign Cordy Glenn. If Glenn doesn’t return, which would be a surprise, Decker would be the best choice, if available.
Decker has starting experience as a left and right tackle. He had an outstanding season in 2015 and certainly looks like part at 6’7” and 315 lbs.
Conklin has been mocked to the Bills by a few sites already this offseason, but I’m just not impressed with him. His footwork is awkward at times and a lot of his hype is based upon potential. I’m adding him to the list as this is the general area where mock drafts are having Conklin fall, but this pick wouldn’t thrill me at all.
Offensive guard/center - None
Defensive end – DeForest Buckner, Oregon
Some Bills fans are holding out hope that Shaq Lawson will be on the board when Buffalo is on the clock, but I’d be stunned. Buckner is more realistic, although as we get closer to the draft this may be a long shot as well.
Buckner is a perfect fit as a 3-4 defensive end and seems like the type of player who would thrive in Rex Ryan’s defense. The Oregon Duck is a massive man at 6’7” and 290 lbs. but he’s also very athletic and agile. If he’s on the board at pick 19, the Ryan brothers may sprint the card to the podium themselves.
Defensive tackle – A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama/Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss/Andrew Billings, Baylor
There’s no shortage of talent at defensive tackle in this year’s draft class. Robinson is my top choice but, like Buckner, he’s someone I see flying up the draft board as we get closer to the actual draft. Robinson could play at end in a 3-4 defense. He’s terrific in the run game and is a hard man to move. He’s another player the Ryan brothers would love.
Robert Nkemdiche is a first round talent but has some question marks about work ethic and an off the field incident that reportedly involved synthetic marijuana. I’d pass on Nkemdiche in the first round, but if he fell to the second round, he’d be worth the risk.
Billings is a nose tackle that I could see the Bills falling in love with in this draft class. He’s an athletic player who is also very powerful.
Outside linebacker – Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
Buffalo will try to add an instant starter in the first round which makes Smith a tricky choice. Smith suffered a serious left knee injury against Ohio State early in the Fiesta Bowl. There’s no timetable on how long he’ll be out but missing at least half of the season is a possibility.
Before the injury, Smith was looked at as a player that would be long gone before Buffalo drafted. Now, the team realistically has a chance to draft him. They may have to wait a season to see any returns but it’d be worth it. Smith is a three down linebacker who can attack quarterbacks or drop into coverage successfully.
Inside linebacker – Reggie Ragland, Alabama
This year’s draft has no shortage of first round defensive talent. That should be music to Buffalo’s ears. No positional unit struggled more in 2015 than the linebacker corps and Ragland would be a superb fit. He’s a sure tackler and a very physical linebacker. Ragland’s greatest strength is in run defense.
Cornerback – Vernon Hargreaves, Florida
There is no need for the Bills to draft a cornerback in round one, unless they feel they can’t reach an extension with Stephon Gilmore. Drafting a cornerback wouldn’t go over well at all, but Hargreaves has everything you look for in a cornerback. He’s strong in coverage and good in run support. The only knock against him is his height (5’11”).
Safety – None
Safety is certainly a need but it’d feel like a reach if the Bills drafted one at pick 19. If Buffalo doesn’t add a safety in free agency, look for them to explore options on day two or three of the draft.
Looking at all of the options, the Bills will have quite a few options at pick 19 to upgrade their front seven. Unless they fall in love with an offensive prospect, defense is probably the best route to go for Buffalo.null