Buffalo Bills fans are still buzzing over Buffalo's 2016 NFL draft class. Although you truly need about three seasons to give a true assessment of a draft, Buffalo Football Report is looking at the value of each pick, whether or not the pick fills a need, and how each player potentially fits with the Bills. Here's a look at Buffalo's draft class and grades for each pick, as well as an overall grade.
Round 1: Shaquille Lawson (19)
Scout Draft Rank: 14
PFF Big Board: 11
Buffalo Football Report did not mock Lawson to Buffalo once, but it wasn’t due to a lack of talent or being a poor fit. We simply didn’t see a scenario in which Lawson fell to pick 19.
The addition of Lawson not only fills a need, but the Bills probably added the best player available at the time. Lawson will line up across from Jerry Hughes in Buffalo’s defense and give the Bills a boost in the pass rushing department and in run defense.
Round 2: Reggie Ragland (41)
Scout Draft Rank: 16
PFF Big Board: 26
From February to April, there were many mock drafts that had the Bills landing Ragland at pick 19. The fact that Buffalo was able to add the inside linebacker at pick 41 was an absolute steal. The worst-case scenario is that Ragland becomes a two-down run stopper in Buffalo, but he has the ability to do so much more in the NFL. Ragland is a big hitter who flashed pass rush ability at Alabama. There’s no denying that Ragland is a liability in coverage, but on third down plays you could keep the linebacker on the field as a pass rusher.
Don’t be surprised if Ragland supplants Preston Brown as the starter at the MIKE LB position in 2016.
Round 3: Adolphus Washington (80)
Scout Draft Rank: 53
PFF Big Board: 43
Washington was another strong value pick for the Bills. He’s a versatile player who can be moved all over the defensive line. His addition bolsters Buffalo’s defensive line, but his effort at Ohio State was questioned at times. If Rex Ryan can motivate him, this could be quite the steal for the Bills.
Round 4: Cardale Jones (139)
Scout Draft Rank: 165
PFF Big Board: 222
Jones was over-drafted when looking at Scout’s draft rankings and PFF’s big board. That said, a run on QBs had begun and the Bills needed to make sure they added “their guy.” Jones brings one of the biggest arms in the draft to Buffalo. In addition to his big arm, he’s shown accuracy in the short passing game. Jones forced 37 missed tackles on 127 carries each of the last two years according to Pro Football Focus.
Jones’ biggest issue is his accuracy. He’ll need time to develop in the NFL, but it seems that he’ll be able to do that with Buffalo. The 2016 season will most likely be EJ Manuel’s last in Buffalo, so Jones’ development as a rookie is key.
Round 5: Jonathan Williams (156)
Scout Draft Rank: 90
PFF Big Board: 137
Running back wasn’t viewed as a need, but in Round 5 you have to take a guy that has a second round grade regardless of position.
Williams has the potential to be a three-down back in the NFL and only fell to the fifth round due to missing the 2015 season with a foot injury. Mark Dulgerian of NFL.com said it best after Williams was drafted:
The draft slot does not match the talent here, but with his injury history, it makes sense. With exceptional feet, balance, power, and quickness Williams was among the best RBs in the SEC before sitting out 2015 with a foot injury. This could be a long-term steal if he stays healthy.
Round 6: Kolby Listenbee (192)
Scout Draft Rank: 200
PFF Big Board: 181
Listenbee can absolutely fly down the field. He posted a 4.39 40-yard dash at the combine and is just as fast on the field. In addition to his speed, Listenbee also has good size (6’0”) and has been praised for his ability to track the ball. Listenbee is known for having good hands and the receiver could emerge as another deep threat for Tyrod Taylor. In 2014, PFF’s draft guide noted that Listenbee had 526 deep receiving yards. It was good for 10th in the nation that season.
Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods will be Buffalo’s 1-2 punch in 2015, but Listenbee could be used to keep safeties honest as a rookie. By 2017, the receiver could compete for the team’s No. 2 WR spot.
Round 6: Kevon Seymour (218)
Scout Draft Rank: 255
PFF Big Board: Not listed in PFF Top 250
Seymour is another player with blazing speed. He registered a 4.39 40-yard dash time at the combine. The cornerback from USC also has good size (6’0”). Seymour had injury issues in his career but there’s no denying his talent. At pick 218, there’s little to no risk in adding him to the roster. As a rookie, Seymour may not see the field much on defense but he has a chance to play a role on special teams.
Overall draft class: A