Written by Bobby Greco
The Buffalo Bills are coming off their most successful season since 1994 and have the most complete roster since those days too, but the process never stops. Just because they went to the AFC Championship, doesn’t mean the work is done. As I have said many times already, thank God for the McDermott and Beane duo. They understand what it takes to be a consistent contender and they’re already back to work, figuring out how they can improve to get to the next step. It’s evident that Buffalo is close to being the best team in the NFL, but there are a few things that need to be addressed. I’m going to take a look at what I think are the team’s biggest needs and some options on who will be available in the draft. I truly believe that if Buffalo continues the success they have had drafting, with another good one this year, I think they will be in a great position to take the top spot. So let’s take a dive and see what we got:
Team Needs: DE, TE, WR, CB, LB
Tight End: Though the Bills did have one of the best offenses in the league, they also were missing the presence of a consistent pass-catching TE. I like Dawson Knox as a threat in the passing game, but I think he would excel as the number two guy if they had another TE to loosen the coverage.
Kyle Pitts, Florida: This would be the absolute dream scenario. Pitts is a huge athletic TE, who can every play as a receiver and would be for Buffalo exactly what Darren Waller is for the Raiders. I don’t think there is any chance he will be there around the Bills pick, however, this is an unprecedented offseason and Pitts had some injury issues this year, so really it’s not impossible.
Pat Freiermuth, Penn St: He is probably the more realistic option here because I know he will still be there at pick 30. However, you might also take a different position here and try getting Freiermuth in the second round. I think he would be a good addition to the Buffalo offense because he is a very talented pass catcher and a well-rounded blocker too. I think he will be very comparable to Jack Doyle, a big-bodied TE with a lot of pass-catching abilities.
Hunter Long, Boston College: Long wouldn’t be a first-round pick, but if he is still around at the end of the second or maybe even third would be a great pick. BC is a run-heavy team that features their TEs a lot in the passing game, so overall he is a well-rounded football player.
Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame: If the Bills want to wait for a TE, Tremble is a mid-rounder that has a lot of potential. He was sort of a Swiss Army Knife for ND and filled many roles for them. He is a good receiver and has a lot of play-making ability. He can line up at fullback, or TE and be your team's lead blocker. He is definitely someone to keep an eye on when the time comes because he has a bit of a “steal of the draft” look to him.
Defensive End: Though Buffalo has a good defensive line, they didn’t have the best pass rush and the DE position is getting old. I think this is the perfect time to address the need because they will have the veteran presence that will help the rookie flourish. With that being said, If the Bills sign JJ Watt this position won’t be addressed early in the draft.
Carlos Basham Jr, Wake Forest: This would be a great pick for Buffalo, Basham is a real physical technically sound DE. His production dipped some this season, but I don’t really look much into it as nothing was normal this year. He dominated at the Senior Bowl and I think he is going to be a force in the NFL too.
Gregory Rousseau, Miami: Rousseau opted out of the 2020 season and hasn’t played in over a year now, but what we know about him already is that there is a lot of potential here. He is DE who can do it all, he is very effective in run and pass situations. He is a tall and big-bodied player, who knows how to use his length to make plays at, or behind the line of scrimmage. I think he can be a force on the line, a lot like Arik Armstead who can play inside and on the edge.
Dayo Odeyingbo, Vanderbilt: Dayo has the ability to be great, he just needs to learn how to be consistent. I don’t think he is someone you take in the first round, but he can definitely become the guy you watch and think how was he still around when he was selected. I do think though if Dayo gets around the right guys he can develop into a real problem for offensive lines.
Linebackers: Buffalo has two of the best young linebackers in the league with Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano, but needs one more player who can make this group elite. A.J. Klein played well last season, but he is strictly a run stopper and he would be great as a rotational LB.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame: To me, JOK is a can't miss prospect, but has fallen on people’s draft boards and I don’t understand why. I know he is a little undersized, but he can do everything that you need from a linebacker. He is an elite cover LB and is hard-hitting in the run game. My confidence is so high in him, I would even trade up a few spots to get him if he does drop.
Zaven Collins, Tulsa: Collins might be the most intriguing prospect in this draft. He has the size and skillset like Isaiah Simmons did for Clemson. He just didn’t get the national attention a Clemson player would get, but every time you turned on a Tulsa game Collins jumped off the screen and is the type of player who fills up the stat sheet. I honestly think he could be a steal pick 30 and would be a great addition to the Buffalo linebacker group.
Micah Parsons, Penn St: Parsons is the top-ranked LB in this class and deserves to be included here. However I don’t think he will be around still and he is mainly a middle linebacker, so I know how much he fits Buffalo’s needs. He just has such a strong foundation of skills, that he needs to be at least mentioned.
Chaz Surratt, North Carolina: Surratt is a mid-round player who can make some noise at the level. He has only played the position for two seasons, after changing from quarterback his sophomore year. Athletically he is near the top of the class, he just needs to learn the little things about being a linebacker. I think with just a little polishing he will be a good NFL player because starting as a QB has helped him understand opposing offenses and has made him very good at diagnosing plays.
Wide Receiver: Though Buffalo already has one of the best receiving corps in the NFL, we found out during the AFC Championship that they could use another real speed threat. This isn’t a position I think you take early, but it is something that should be addressed.
Amari Rodgers, Clemson: Rodgers was never the top threat at Clemson, so he didn’t get the attention that a lot of his teams did. That being said, he is every bit as dangerous as any other Clemson and has a good chance to be the next Tyreek Hill. He would instantly be a threat for Buffalo because he would still be the fourth option on the field and so he would get a lot of room to work. He could also help in the return game and would probably be a starter on all special teams.
Cornell Powell, Clemson: Powell and Rodgers are very similar players and would bring a lot of the same attributes to the table. The main difference between them is, Powell is a more powerful player. He is very comparable to Deebo Samuel and I believe he would be able to play that exact same role for Buffalo.
Marquez Stevenson, Houston: Stevenson is a very quick and athletic receiver, who possesses the second gear that can pull away from any defender. He isn’t the greatest route runner, but what he lacks in technical skills he more than makes up for in big play ability. He will not only be an instant deep threat, but he can also make his presence felt in the return game.
D’Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan: This might be the most underrated WR in the entire draft. He put his talents on display at the Senior Bowl and really dominated the week. He is an explosive and athletic receiver, with the ability to turn any catch into a big play. I think you might be able to get him in the late third to the early fourth round and that will be a massive steal because he has the talent to become a dangerous playmaker in the league.
Cornerbacks: Though cornerback isn’t a big need for the Bills, when you are competing to stop the Chiefs having more capable CBs is always a good choice. I think there has to be a certain criteria for Buffalo when drafting corners this year because it is a strong position for the team, so you need a player different from what you have. I would be looking for more speed and physicality at the position.
Patrick Surtain II, Alabama: Surtain is the top of this, no doubt about it. He is a lockdown corner with great instincts and the speed to cover any player on the field. He is also fantastic vs the run, he is very physical and one of the best tackling CBs you will see. Surtain is a second-generation player, his father Patrick was also a CB and I think that is a huge advantage for the son to come into the league having a better understanding of pro offenses. If he is still there at pick 30, I think it is an easy choice for Buffalo to make.
Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech: Though Farley opted out of the 2020 season, he is still one of the top corners in this class. He is big, physical, and surprisingly fast for his size. Like Surtain I think he should fit in any scheme, he will just need to prove that he took advantage of the off-time.
Asante Samuel Jr, Florida St: Samuel is another legacy NFL corner and it showed because the moment he stepped onto the field at FSU he started making plays. Honestly, he was one of the only bright spots on the Seminole defense the past couple of years. He is another all-around good cornerback and should see playing time early.
Richie Grant, UCF: Grant is primarily a safety, he has played CB and is just a fantastic football player. He is one of the hardest-hitting players in this draft and has the speed and athleticism to cover the entire field. I think he is one of the most underrated players in this draft and is still probably a mid-round pick, who will make an instant impact for your football team. I think if Buffalo were to draft him he would fill the role of backup safety, as well as a nickel cornerback.
As a whole, there aren’t many major holes on the Bills roster, so this draft should be used to strengthen some positions and just add depth. For the first time in my lifetime the Buffalo Bills are set up for success for the foreseeable future and as long as they continue to draft well, will only get stronger.