The 2018 NFL Draft is just under a month away, which means that Draftmas is back. Draftmas will take a look at each NFL team heading into this year’s draft, what their needs are and who they could be targeting. Draftmas continues today with the Buffalo Bills 2018 NFL Draft profile.
The Buffalo Bills 2017 season culminated in a Wild-Card playoff berth, snapping a 17-year drought for the franchise. After some interesting preseason trades, the Bills started off 5-2. However, they dropped five of their last nine games to finish 9-7.
Offensively, the Bills ranked 29th in yards and 22nd in points. They were led by the lethal combination of LeSean McCoy and Tyrod Taylor on the ground.
The offense finished in the top six in rushing attempts and rushing yards. It also finished with the sixth fewest turnovers. However, they struggled to consistently throw the football to keep opposing defenses honest. As a result, five of the Bills nine wins were by six points or less.
The defensive side of the ball was below average in terms of allowing yards on the ground and through the air. They were 20th and 29th in yards allowed in passing and rushing respectively, but the Bills were 18th in points allowed.
One thing this unit excelled at was creating turnovers. The Bills were ninth in turnovers and had seven games in which they created two or more turnovers.
Sean McDermott and company made waves this offseason by trading Tyrod Taylor to the Browns and signing AJ McCarron in free agency. Many perceived this as a head-scratching move. Why would the Bills trade their quarterback who led them to the playoffs?
Well, they clearly believed that Taylor was not capable of taking them deep into the playoffs, and that this team needed to move on. If the Bills want to get their quarterback of the future in this draft, they certainly have the assets to do so.
Picks and Needs
The Buffalo Bills are in a unique position. They are a playoff team with nine total picks, including multiple first round picks and one pick inside the top 15.
First round (2 picks): 12, 22
Second round (2): 53, 56
Third round (2): 65, 96
Fourth round (1): 121
Fifth round (1): 166
Sixth round (1): 187
Seventh round (0):
Quarterback – AJ McCarron’s contract is two years in length, meaning the Bills have the 2018 and 2019 draft to find their future franchise player. The only question is will they move up and take one of the top prospects, or a more developmental player to learn behind McCarron?
Tackle – Cordy Glenn’s departure is significant because it puts a strain on the Bills’ depth at this position. It is likely that Dion Dawkins will play at left tackle after a promising rookie year, which will thrust Jordan Mills into a starting position at right tackle. He has experience playing, but the Bills should bolster this position if they decide an upgrade is not needed.
Wide receiver – The Bills will need to add a more dynamic player on the perimeter. Specifically, they need to add a player who will make plays downfield.
Linebacker – In a 4-3 defense, the Mike linebacker is incredibly important when it comes to communication and stopping inside runs. According to Pro Football Focus, Ramon Humber is slated to start at this position. Humber has been incredibly inconsistent during his nine-year tenure in the league and should not start for the Bills Week 1.
Defensive tackle – Star Lotulelei’s play has declined steadily since his rookie season in 2013. It is possible he will rebound for the Bills in 2018, but Buffalo should look to shore up this position even further.
Cornerback – Tre’Davious White was incredible in his rookie year for this secondary. Consequently, that meant teams would continually target the player opposite White. Hopefully Vontae Davis will have a resurgence in 2018, but the Bills could have an incredible secondary if they can find a talented starter to compliment White, Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde.
Pick No. 12: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
The Bills completely fill out their secondary. Jackson, who intercepted eight passes last season, would be perfect for this playmaking defense. Pairing him with the newly acquired Vontae Davis would give them talent and depth in their secondary. He is a bit inexperienced, but talented nonetheless.
Pick No. 22: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
The Bills would acquire a huge talent in Jackson. His upside is incredible, but he would benefit from not starting in his rookie year. While Jackson and Taylor are similar, they are not identical. Jackson is not as thick as Taylor. However, Jackson is vastly superior to Taylor in terms of throwing the ball downfield.
Pick No. 53: Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
The Bills could add an incredibly talented player at the wide receiver position with Brown. He is an incredible specimen. The 6-foot-5, 214-pound receiver ran a 4.48 at the combine. His production and draft stock are a reflection of poor quarterback play, not his ability.
Pick No. 56: RJ McIntosh, DT, Miami
McIntosh would provide additional depth for the Bills and could potentially be an insurance policy should the signing of Star Lotulelei not work out. Also, he is a good fit for the Bills’ 4-3 scheme.
Pick No. 65: Luke Falk, QB, Washington State
Faulk completed over 65 percent of his passes in college and is a similar, more slight of frame version of AJ McCarron. He would be a developmental pick in case McCarron and Jackson do not work out.
Pick No. 96: Geron Christian, OT, Louisville
Geron Christian will add depth at one of the most important positions on the field. If given time and proper coaching on his technique, Christian can start at left tackle.
The Bills are in a great spot. With their run-first offensive identity and playmaking defense, this team is poised to make another run at a Wild Card berth in 2018.
Make sure to tune in tomorrow for the Washington Redskins 2018 NFL Draft profile.