Conventional wisdom says the Bills would upgrade their offensive line after trading up for a quarterback, but they may believe that solid interior blockers could be obtained on Day 2. Buffalo has to bolster its weak linebacking corps, and it'll be much tougher to snag a talented three-down linebacker in the second or third rounds.
*** OTHER 2018 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. James Daniels/Billy Price, C - If the Bills keep this pick, and use their other first-rounder to move up for a quarterback, they'll have to select some sort of offensive lineman at this spot.
2. Isaiah Wynn, G - Another possible blocker, though the Bills might just wait on those.
Rd. 2, Pk. 21
James Daniels, C, Iowa
The Bills lost starting center Eric Wood to retirement, so they'll be looking to find his replacement.
Rd. 2, Pk. 24
D.J. Chark, WR, LSU
There was a disturbing video of Zay Jones released this offseason, so it's unclear if Buffalo can count on him going forward. If not, that just leaves Kelvin Benjamin, so a new No. 2 receiver will be needed.
Rd. 3, Pk. 1
Trenton Thompson, DT, Georgia
The Bills overpaid for Star Lotulelei this offseason, so that means they now have two run-stuffing defensive tackles. What they lack is someone who can create a pass rush in the interior.
Buffalo needs to strengthen its defensive backfield, and luckily for the organization, in this mock, Lattimore is available. The Bills need a replacement for Stephon Gilmore.
Lattimore played really well in 2016, recording 41 tackles, four interceptions and nine passes broken up. Scouting sources raved about how Lattimore looked in fall camp before the 2016 season, and during the year, some team sources said they graded him as a top-16 pick. The 6-foot, 192-pounder has good size to go with athletic ability. As a backup in 2015 during his redshirt freshman season, Lattimore recorded three passes broken up and five tackles.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
Buffalo needs a No. 2 wide receiver to pair with Sammy Watkins. This would be a perfect complement.
In 2016, Smith-Schuster totaled 90 receptions for 914 yards and 10 scores. He was completely shut down in the 2016 season opener by Marlon Humphrey and Minkah Fitzpatrick, two future NFL cornerbacks. In 2015, Smith-Schuster took over as the No. 1 receiver with Nelson Agholor in the NFL and was excellent with 89 receptions for 1,454 yards and 10 touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder had an impressive freshman season in 2014, totaling 54 catches for 724 yards and five touchdowns.
For the NFL, Smith-Schuster is more of a possession receiver, but he runs good routes and has size, generally quality hands, yards-after-the-catch skills, and enough quickness to produce in the short to intermediate part of the field. He is good at winning 50-50 passes and should be valuable in the red zone. Smith-Schuster could be a quality starter quickly in his NFL career, but may never become an elite No. 1 receiver as a pro.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Dion Dawkins, G/OT, Temple
Buffalo could use more competition at right tackle.
The 6-foot-3, 317 pound Dawkins has some fans in the NFL scouting community. They feel that Dawkins has some athleticism and could turn into a good functional blocker. The sources that really like Dawkins have him graded in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft and think he has tackle potential for the NFL. Some other teams have him graded a round or two later and think he would be a better fit at guard in the NFL. Still, Dawkins had a fine senior season to put himself in position to get drafted come April.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Tedric Thompson, SS, Colorado
The Bills grab a safety competitor.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Josh Malone, WR, Tennessee
The Bills add more wide receiver depth.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Nate Hairston, CB, Temple
The Bills could target a couple of corners given the strength at the position.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech
The Bills could use multiple wide receivers around Sammy Watkins.
The Bills grab their future franchise quarterback. <br> <br>
Thus far this season, Allen has completed 56 percent of his passes for 566 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. He struggled other than against FCS competition.<br> <br>
Allen was running for his life all day against Iowa in Week 1. The Wyoming offensive line was dominated, and Allen got no help from his supporting cast. He also made mistakes of his own, including two ugly interceptions, and there easily could have been at least one more interception that was dropped by Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell. Allen ended up completing 23-of-40 passes for 174 yards with two interceptions and zero touchdowns. Overall, Allen showed his big skill set with size, toughness, athleticism, and a strong arm. There were plays where he looked like a young Ben Roethlisberger. There were other plays where Allen showed bad decision-making and inaccuracy. Allen was also disappointing against Oregon. <br> <br>
Allen will probably be a high pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but his 2017 season opener indicates that he could be a work in progress who will need some developmental time. His completion percentage and interception total from 2016 provide evidence for that assessment. He completed 56 percent of his passes for 3,203 yards with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions last year.<br> <br>
Allen (6-5, 222) became a discussed prospect late in the 2016 season, but he wisely decided to return to Wyoming. He has a special skill set, and some draft analysts were projecting him high in the first round, but one general manager told WalterFootball.com that he had Allen as a third-day prospect and thought Allen should improve before going pro. Other team sources that did advance work for National Scouting for the 2018 prospects really liked Allen and compared him to Ben Roethlisberger, so don't be surprised if he is a polarizing prospect. Still, Allen has a great skill set with tons of upside.
I know you were thinking it, "gosh, I thought this guy said there would be trades in this mock draft". I did, and here is the first! The Bills have to be looking to trade up to obtain a franchise signal caller after trading away their previous starting quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, to the Cleveland Browns this offseason and already trading up once with the Cincinnati Bengals to the number twelve overall pick. Although the Bills had to give up a talented left tackle in Cordy Glenn, he was always injured and hardly was on the field for long duration of time during his time in Buffalo; they were able to move up into position to get a top passer in this draft all while keeping their second first round pick! In this scenario, the Bills are still able to hang onto the 22nd overall pick and move into the top five in order to grab the future passer in Josh Rosen. Denver is willing to move back at this point in the draft after singing Case Keenum and seeing what progression Paxton Lynch is able to display, as they hold out for the passers of the 2019 NFL draft. The Broncos will have to debate about what exactly to do at this pick with possible elite prospects in Quenton Nelson, Bradley Chubb, and Denzel Ward, but with only moving down to the twelfth overall pick and acquiring more draft capital to help rebuild an aging roster with numerous holes, I think John Elway may be just intrigued enough to pull the trigger here. In this trade, the Bills obtain the number five overall pick (1700 pts) and the Broncos receive picks 12 (1200 pts), 53 (370 pts), 96 (116 pts), & 187 (16.2 pts) = 1702.2
I am under the impression that Brandon Beane really knows what he is doing as a extremely raw general manager in the NFL. Who knows, maybe Brandon Beane is the Billy Beane in the NFL, after assembling a roster that took Buffalo to the playoffs for the first time since 1999. This was even after a coaching blunder when head coach Sean McDermott benched starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor for rookie passer Nathan Peterman, who threw 5 interceptions in the first half of his first and only NFL start. Buffalo is looking for a quarterback who can play immediately with the roster that Beane has constructed and then will look to find help for that rookie at pick 22. Fortunately for them, Josh Rosen is a step behind Allen and Darnold on NFL draft boards and the Jets are enamored with Mayfield. Rosen is the most NFL-ready quarterback in this years draft class (and my number one quarterback prospect in the class) and will be ready to enter and start for a team supporting an above average offensive line, LeSean McCoy, a solid receiving trio (Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones, and Andre Holmes), and one of the better defenses in the NFL. Rosen was a freshman All-American with 23 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and 60% completion percentage. He has had his ups and downs throughout his collegiate career with an injury to his throwing shoulder in his second season and numerous concussions. But games like his season opener this pass year against Texas A&M on a team that I would argue is not filled with plentiful NFL talent are proof why Rosen is one of the elite quarterback prospects in this years draft. Rosen's stock has dropped recently as a result of his college injuries and his intelligence and free-thinking mind that scares NFL front offices. Rosen reminds me of a mix of Eli Manning and Aaron Rodgers, which is why I believe he is the top passing prospect in this year's draft class.
This is the Chiefs' first-round pick traded to Buffalo when Kansas City moved up to pick No. 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft for Pat Mahomes. For a long time I had written here, "The Bills' actions indicate that they really don't view Tyrod Taylor as the future and their long-term starter. I think the regime in Buffalo will target its own quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft." That was confirmed last Friday night when Taylor was traded to the Browns. With multiple first-round, second-round, and third-round picks, one can be sure that Buffalo loaded up in order to trade up for a quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft. <br> <br>
In speaking to multiple teams, they had second-day grades on Mayfield, but that doesn't mean he won't go in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. In speaking to a a couple of general managers, they thought Mayfield would go behind the top-10 quarterback prospects. Still, Mayfield could cause teams to fall in love with him and crack the top 10. It only takes one team, and Mayfield has some passionate believers. At the combine, team sources told me that Mayfield did well in his interviews and they liked how he threw the ball in his field work. <br> <br>
Mayfield (6-0, 216) is a gritty gunslinger who has an "it factor" to his game. He doesn't have elite arm strength, but his arm is good enough to make the throws required in the NFL. One of Mayfield's most impressive strengths as a passer is being able to locate the ball well and throw receivers open. He is very good with his timing and trajectory on passes to hit receivers on the run and set them up for lots of yards after the catch. Mayfield is very skilled to loft in touch passes downfield and throws a very catchable ball. He has excellent mobility to dodge sacks, escape pressure and extend plays with his feet, plus he throws well on the run.<br> <br>
Sources say Mayfield can have issues reading defenses, and his field vision needs to improve. He can struggle to throw the ball in tight windows when being forced to operate out of the pocket. One big area of focus for Mayfield is his footwork as he gets happy feet in the pocket. One college scouting director told me that Mayfield's feet are terrible and he will need a lot of development there for the NFL. A NFC general manager said they have concerns about how Mayfield will perform when teams force him to stay in the pocket. They also have concerns that Mayfield beat up on a lot of weak Big XII defenses and feel there is the chance that he gets exposed against NFL defenses. Evaluators who had seen Mayfield in person had estimated him to be around 5-foot-11 or 6-foot, but he measured out at the combine as 6-foot-1. While there have been some successful short quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Russell Wilson, they are the exceptions to the norm for quarterbacks who are below 6-foot-2. <br> <br>
Mayfield completed 71 percent of his passes in 2017 for 4,627 yards with 43 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also had five rushing touchdowns and one receiving. In 2016, Mayfield completed 71 percent of his passes for 3,965 yards with 40 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He picked up six rushing touchdowns as well.
This is the Chiefs' first-round pick traded to Buffalo when Kansas City moved up to pick No. 10 of the 2017 NFL Draft for Pat Mahomes. The Bills' actions indicate that they really don't view Tyrod Taylor as the future and their long-term starter. I think the regime in Buffalo will target its own quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft. <br> <br>
In 2017, Jackson completed 59 percent of his passes for 3,660 yards with 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also averaged 6.9 yards per carry on the ground on his way to 1,443 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns. Some team sources think that Jackson is worthy of being a top-10 pick and will rise in the leadup to the 2018 NFL Draft, similar to Pat Mahomes last year. One general manager told me they think Jackson could be deserving of going high in the first round because he's a taller and better version of Michael Vick. In speaking to multiple league sources including a few general managers, they think Jackson is being undervalued right now similar to Deshaun Watson a year ago. <br> <br>
Jackson has a great athletic skill set, including a powerful arm that can make all throws the NFL requires and some rare passes. While his tremendous running ability gets a lot of attention, Jackson is better passing from the pocket than he is given credit for. Jackson will take some shots and deliver good passes in the face of the rush. He also handles Bobby Petrino's scheme well. Jackson can be inconsistent with his accuracy, and he needs to add weight to his frame for the NFL. He also needs to develop maturity in his leadership skills as he can be of one of the guys too much. <br> <br>
Jackson (6-3, 205) set college football on fire in 2016 while winning the Heisman Trophy. He was a massive point-producer for the Cardinals. Jackson completed 56 percent of his passes for 3,543 yards with 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions on the year. He also ran for 21 touchdowns and 1,571 yards while averaging six yards per carry.
TRADE!!! From Ralph Wilson Jr to Sonny Weaver Jr!
BUF: We all know the Bills have an unnecessary ax to grind with Tyrod. I think with his contract, the fact they benched him, and the fact he was Rex's guy combine to lead to an exit stage right. The Bills have the ammo to move up, having the 21st and 26th picks.
Also Teddy Bridgewater on a 1 year deal!
CLE: In this situation, I'm rolling with the fact that Hue goes all in on Kirk Cousins. He is what 1-30ish in 2 years. He doesn't have the luxury to draft a rookie and hopes he's Carson Wentz(oh...the irony) and doesn't need time to develop. Go all in on Kirk a proven guy and then move down and stock up.
Hue Jackson:"And I want DAVID G@*@&* Putney just because I feel like it!
SAY IT WITH YOU GET SAM!!
COME ON YOU PANCAKE EATING M!*@?#^@#&!
While 2017 did not go exactly as planned for Darnold, as his 83.6 grade ranked 30th in the nation, he did rank ninth overall last year with an 87.2 grade, and that came as a redshirt freshman. Even in his worst games, Darnold still showed the anticipation and accuracy that make him such an intriguing prospect. He just needs to prove that his turnover-worthy play percentage of 5.0 percent (105th in the nation) was more anomaly than the norm.
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Sam Darnold Going to Bills
Rd. 1, Pk. 7
Josh Allen, QB
What a great job for the Bills. They wanted to trade up all along, but the problem was surrendering No. 22 or a 2019 first-round pick. They didn't want to give up either, and they didn't. They dealt their two second-rounders instead.
As for the actual player, it's nice to see that Josh Allen's actions from when he was 14 didn't impact his draft standing. Allen is raw, but he has great arm strength and mobility, which will work well in Buffalo. He also works very hard, so I think he'll be able to work on his accuracy woes.
Rd. 1, Pk. 16
Tremaine Edmunds, OLB
It's a bit shocking that Tremaine Edmunds fell this far. He could have gone as high as No. 6, though more realistically No. 8, so credit the Bills for taking advantage of the opportunity and trading up.
Edmunds' athleticism is off the charts, and he has immense potential. He has great versatility as well. The Bills had just one viable player at the position last year (Matt Milano), and Edmunds will certainly change that.
Rd. 3, Pk. 32
Harrison Phillips, DT/3-4DE/NT
I like Harrison Phillips, especially in this range. However, I thought the Bills would select more of a pass-rushing interior presence with this pick. Phillips is a lot like Kyle Williams (now; not earlier in his career) and Star Lotulelei, as he's a powerful run-stuffer who doesn't have great pass-rushing ability. Still, Phillips is a bit of a bargain here, and Buffalo fans will love his motor.
Rd. 4, Pk. 21
Taron Johnson, CB
The Bills needed some cornerback depth, but this is a reach. I had Taron Johnson slotted in the sixth round. There were better cornerbacks available.
Rd. 5, Pk. 17
Siran Neal, S
Siran Neal is someone believed to be a sixth-round prospect at best. He's versatile in that he can play both cornerback and safety, but his instincts and tackling ability are below average. The Bills could've done better.
Rd. 5, Pk. 29
Wyatt Teller, G
Any offensive line pick is a good one right now for the Bills, whose blocking could really struggle next year. The Bills have such holes up front that Wyatt Teller could start as a rookie. This is great value for Teller, who could've gone a round-and-a-half earlier.
Rd. 6, Pk. 13
Ray-Ray McCloud, WR
Ray-Ray McCloud has some potential, but he has no real position. He could be a receiver or a cornerback, but definitely a special-teamer. I didn't think McCloud would be drafted, so I'm not crazy about this pick.
Rd. 7, Pk. 37
Austin Proehl, WR
Austin Proehl, a blue-collar receiver, and son of former NFL wideout Ricky Proehl, can give the Bills some special-teams returning ability. He might also be able to develop into a slot receiver. I wouldn't count out Proehl making an NFL roster and contributing for a team somehow.