OPINION: Bills make 2021 draft a ‘big one’

The team builds the line on both sides of the ball

Brandon Beane had some really big plans for the Buffalo Bills in this weekend’s NFL Draft. Literally.

When the dust settled and the draft was complete, the Bills general manager added eight new players to his roster, and over half of them instantly became some of the biggest players on the team.

In fact, offensive tackles Spencer Brown and Tommy Doyle, both standing 6-foot-8, and defensive end Greg Rousseau, at 6-foot-7, are now the three tallest players on the roster.

Doyle (320 pounds), offensive guard Jack Anderson (314), Brown (311), and defensive end Carlos “Boogie” Basham Jr. (281) are among the heaviest people on a roster, which now features 19 players weighing over 300 pounds.

While all five of them play either on the offensive or defensive lines, Beane said he and his staff weren’t specifically trying to do that. However, the team stuck to their draft board and took the best players available, and that’s how it turned out.

“It wasn't like a conversation where we said, 'we need ‘X’ number of offensive and defensive linemen,' but we do believe in being stout up front on both sides of the ball,” he told reporters following the Bills’ final selection on Saturday.

The Bills also added safety Damar Hamlin, cornerback Rachad Wildgoose, and wide receiver Marquez Stevenson.  But the addition of the players in the trenches, and how big they are, is what’s most noticeable about this draft class.

Beane elected to pick players who will either be relied on to get to get to opposing quarterbacks, or protect their own franchise quarterback in Josh Allen, as well as aid in the running game.

Many felt they needed to add to the running back group itself, specifically adding a versatile dual-threat with speed. After all, Beane himself said recently that their two main backs, Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, aren’t “home run hitters.”

There was even a report last week stating that the team was looking to trade up in the first round, targeting Clemson running back Travis Etienne.  Beane called that notion “a little overblown,” and when it was all said and done, he didn’t add a single back.

He did, however, add dynamic wide receiver/return man Stevenson, who is appropriately known as “Speedy.”  Stevenson is expected to be immediate competition with Isaiah McKenzie and Brandon Powell as the team’s primary return man.

Stevenson is also notable because he's the only skill position player on offense the Bills drafted, marking the first time that’s happened since 2014.

It was also the first time since 2010 the Bills drafted five total offensive and defensive linemen.

“The game is still won and lost up front,” Beane said.

Follow me on Twitter: @SalSports

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