Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) - The NFL Draft is next week, and the Buffalo Bills are in their “new normal” position in the back of the field.
The Bills officially reside at Pick No. 28, although it’s the 27th player because the Miami Dolphins forfeited their first-rounder this year.
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As always, preferences for the pick vary in the fanbase.
Tremaine Edmunds’ departure in free agency leaves an important hole at linebacker. Every Bills defensive tackle is under contract for only this upcoming season. The offensive line last year wasn’t great. And, of course, there’s always a "draft a running back" crowd.
To my eyes and ears, the most popular idea for the Bills is wide receiver.
Many of us have been on the “receiver train”, as our Jeremy White has dubbed it, for quite a while. In 2021, I was hoping the Bills would draft Elijah Moore or Rondale Moore, both eventual second-round picks.
Last season’s receiver class was bountiful, but the Bills were beaten to the position, as six receivers went in Round 1. Seven more went off the board in Round 2. In both rounds, all the wide receivers were taken before the Bills’ selection.
Were the Bills hoping to select a receiver early in last year’s draft? I don’t know, but when you see them calling on alumni for reinforcements heading toward the playoffs as we did - John Brown and then Cole Beasley - you might think they came to feel some urgency at the position.
We all know it’s a passing league, and the Bills’ receivers room is in need of a new coat of paint. The offense shorted in the playoffs.
Stefon Diggs doesn’t appear to be in decline yet, but after eight NFL seasons, it’s likely coming soon. Gabe Davis delivered his usual big plays, but wasn’t a consistent No. 2 performer. Isaiah McKenzie wasn’t exactly reliable either and he's gone, as did the injured Jamison Crowder.
So is this the year the Bills grab a receiver in Round 1? I could see it, but I think Rounds 2-3 for this are more likely.
A lot of that has to do with the consensus on the receivers in the draft. Many seem to have mostly the same profile: Fast, but not big. And speculation seems to largely point to only a couple receivers grading well enough to end up landing in Round 1.
NBC Sports NFL Draft analyst Connor Rogers predicted Monday on WGR that 12 or more wide receivers will go on Friday in Rounds 2-3.
The apparent top receiver, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, probably will go too early for the Bills in Round 1. Perhaps Zay Flowers goes next, and it sounds, to me, like he has enough admirers that he too could be drafted before the Bills take their first turn.
After that, I can easily name 15 receivers that all sound about
the same caliber of prospect. If that’s how the Bills feel too, that there’s a sameness at receiver in those next two rounds, the prudent move is to wait it out.
Josh Downs, Marvin Mims, Tyler Scott, Cedric Tillman, Rashee Rice, Keyshon Boutte... these receivers and several others seem to project as Day 2 picks.
That’s where I see the Bills making this move.
It’s also not like the Bills have been sitting still this offseason at receiver. They’ve added Deonte Harty and Trent Sherfield, and they did get some production last year from rookie Khalil Shakir.
A receiver in Round 1 is an exciting idea, but if the Bills did that, I’d
question whether any of these players retains much value for them.
I say Friday night is the better fit.