OPINION: Bills' draft didn't go as hoped

While the Bills didn't get the wide receiver everyone wanted at the top of the draft, the offense can still be better as a result of their pick

Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) - I went into the NFL Draft this past week desperately hoping the Buffalo Bills would use their first round pick on a wide receiver. To many, the top priority for the offseason was to help the Bills passing offense, which took a step back in 2022.

General Manager Brandon Beane and company did just that during Round 1 on Thursday night, but they attacked it with a different position.

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I'm still concerned about the depth chart at wide receiver once you get past Stefon Diggs, but they did add a weapon that should help the Bills offense. That is what I'm holding on to regarding the selection of tight end Dalton Kincaid.

I started to come to grips with the idea the Bills would not be adding a receiver when a run on that position began at the 20th pick and the Seattle Seahawks taking Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

I was actually thinking the Bills might pivot and go for defense, and use that first pick on a linebacker or defensive tackle. I will give Beane credit for admitting the offense needed help and for sticking with that plan.

As far as Kincaid goes, the bottom line is Josh Allen has another weapon in the passing game. It became too easy for opponents to keep the Bills in check if they took Diggs out of the game.

An impact rookie receiver would have had a better chance to change that, but at least Kincaid gives Allen a big target who should help production from the slot and allow the Bills to make more plays in the middle of the field.

Kincaid has also been referred to as a "zone buster", according to some reports. That is something the Bills haven't consistently had since Cole Beasley's first two seasons in Buffalo.

The 23-year-old should also allow offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey to utilize more two tight end sets, which was something he wanted to do last season but just didn't have good enough pass catching options behind Dawson Knox on the tight end depth chart.

When the Bills named Dorsey as Brian Daboll's replacement a year ago, there was also talk about improving yards-after-catch for the 2022 season. That never happened either. Kincaid should be able to help in that area since making guys miss is, said to be, one of his attributes.

However, we still have the issue regarding the Bills’ receiving corps.

Gabe Davis needs to be more consistent as he goes into the final year of his rookie contract. That was another reason why I wanted the Bills to prioritize drafting a receiver.

What will the market be for Davis in unrestricted free agency? How much would the Bills want to spend to keep Davis on a second contract?

We might, once again, be talking about desperately needing the Bills to select a wide receiver with their first pick of the 2024 NFL Draft.

After Davis, there are plenty of unknowns on the depth chart.

I'm not sure that Khalil Shakir, Deonte Harty or Trent Sherfield will be able to provide a consistent threat as the third receiver.

It would be a stretch to expect the receiver the Bills drafted in the fifth round this past weekend, Justin Shorter, to significantly contribute as a rookie. Who knows if he even makes the roster coming out of the preseason.

I'll be honest with you, there isn't much else to get excited about from the Bills’ draft.

Their second-round pick, O'Cyrus Torrence, will have a shot to beat out Ryan Bates for a starting guard spot, but I'd bet most Bills fans were more worried about Spencer Brown at right tackle than Bates inside.

The possible upside of this pick is, assuming Torrence wins a starting job, he gives the Bills more strength and power inside to hold off defensive tackles and, perhaps, improve the Bills’ run blocking. Although that was not his strength, according to scouting reports.

You can forget about third-round pick Dorian Williams coming in to help replace departed middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. Beane says the plan is to work Williams at outside linebacker for now.

Beane also said they believe they have the MLB spot covered with the group that includes Terrel Bernard, Tyrel Dodson, A.J. Klein and Baylon Spector. I am far from convinced about that.

For now, it all comes back to Kincaid. Hopefully he will add some juice to a Bills passing game that needs it.

Photo credit Losi and Gangi
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