It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The 2018 NFL Draft is finally upon us. For the Buffalo Bills, it is, unequivocally, their most important draft of the century. It also marks the first draft for general manager, Brandon Beane.
No pressure at all, Brandon.
The team has been busy with assessing players at the combine, attending pro days and scheduling in private visits in order to leave no stone unturned. With that in mind, now is an ideal time to conjure up what an ideal draft would look like once the dust settles on April 28.
Conjuring Up the Ideal Buffalo Bills Draft
Although the Bills have an insatiable need to fill a 20 plus year vacancy at the quarterback position, they do have several other pressing needs to address. With this in mind, the pragmatic approach for Beane is to get one of the best signal-callers for the right price, while augmenting other key roster spots accordingly.
Round 1: Pick 5*
*(Buffalo trades picks 12, 22, 53, 166 and 2019 third round pick to Denver for picks five and 40)
The Pick: Josh Rosen, Quarterback, UCLA (LWOS Profile)
The Rationale: Yes, I am an admitted proponent of the Bills drafting Baker Mayfield. However, it appears that the Heisman winner is destined to be taken in the top-three of the draft. The price to get into that range would undoubtedly be three first round picks, which to me is far too steep of a price. With that in mind, the Bills present an attractive package to the Denver Broncos to move into the number five slot to get their hands on the UCLA gunslinger. Rosen is the draft’s most cerebral quarterback and best pure passer and possesses ideal size and measurables to excel in unfavorable Western New York conditions.
Round 2: Pick 40
The Pick: Anthony Miller, Wide Reciever, Memphis (LWOS Profile)
The Rationale: Although there is no clear cut number one overall receiver in the draft, there are a material amount of pass catchers available in rounds two and three that could immediately help out the Bills. Miller was a highly productive receiver at Memphis and possesses an uncanny ability to win 50-50 balls, despite being a shade under 6’0″. Kelvin Benjamin is in the last year of his contract, Zay Jones is a bad decision from no longer being an NFLer, and the remainder of the team’s receiving corps is uninspiring.
Round 2: Pick 56
The Pick: Frank Ragnow, Center/Guard, Arkansas (LWOS Profile)
The Rationale: With the unexpected retirements of incumbent interior linemen, Eric Wood and Richie Incognito, two major holes have presented themselves to the team. Ragnow shows a rare mixture of nastiness and discipline that the team could very much use. He would slot in as a day one starter at either of the guard positions.
As confirmed by Two Bills Drive, the Bills hosted Ragnow for a pre-draft visit in early April:
Report: More centers needed? Buffalo Bills to host prospect Frank Ragnow on pre-draft visit https://t.co/xHOUKEyEDi
— Two Bills Drive 🏈 (@twobillsdrive) April 7, 2018
Round 3: Pick 65
The Pick: Martinas Rankin, Offensive Tackle, Mississippi State (LWOS Profile)
The Rationale: With Cordy Glenn being dealt to the Cincinnati Bengals, the team is left with Dion Dawkins and Jordan Mills as their viable starting book-end options. In order to keep Rosen well protected, the Bills select the 6’5″ 305-pound tackle from Mississippi State to help solidify the position(s). Rankin is both physical and nimble, and has the ability to play on either the right or left side.
Round 3: Pick 96
The Pick: Duke Dawson, Cornerback, Florida (LWOS Profile)
The Rationale: This might be one of the best fits in the NFL Draft. The Bills are desperately in need of a slot corner and Dawson might be the draft’s best. He is athletic, adept to playing in zone coverage and, perhaps most importantly, is a very capable tackler. All three traits that align with coach Sean McDermott‘s vision of what a cornerback should be. He immediately slots in as the team’s third corner and becomes a regular on special teams.
Cover 1’s Eric Turner concurs with the Bills-Dawson fit:
Florida CB Duke Dawson is damn near a lock to be drafted by the #Bills
48 games played, 6 INTs, 23 PDs, 3 pick sixes
Senior, Senior Bowl participant, Official Visit, Slot CB ability with a shot for starting in the future, tackling ability, competitive, all around physical player. pic.twitter.com/gg1gWPuPUX
— Cover 1 (@Cover_1_) April 22, 2018
Round 4: Pick 121
The Pick: Josey Jewell, Inside Lineback, Iowa (LWOS Profile)
The Rationale: As it stands now, Tanner Vallejo and Julian Stanford would be battling it out for the team’s starting middle linebacker position. Scary. Nobody would ever confuse Jewell with the likes of Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds, but he is no slouch either. Jewell was a very productive college player that exhibits a high football IQ. He is capable of diagnosing plays and being a defensive maestro on the next level. The Bills will likely make another signing at the position to help insulate Jewell’s development.
Round 6: Pick 197
The Pick: Ian Thomas, Tight End, Indiana (LWOS Profile)
The Rationale: The trio of Charles Clay, Nick O’Leary and Logan Thomas was an adequate one for the Bills last season. With newly appointed offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll being an advocate for a two pass catching tight end system, the team adds another Thomas to the mix.
As confirmed by New York Upstate’s Ryan Talbot, the Bills did recently bring in Thomas for a pre-draft visit:
— Ryan Talbot (@RyanTalbotBills) April 19, 2018
Main Photo:Embed from Getty Images