What a difference a few several days can make. Before the start of free agency and the legal tampering period, the Buffalo Bills needed to come away from the 2020 NFL Draft with a number one wide receiver. Maybe take Tee Higgins at 22nd overall? Or NFL Combine standout Denzel Mims. Maybe Michael Pittman Jr., or Chase Claypool in rounds 2 or 3? Now, after a massive trade acquisition, the Bills are no longer missing a top-end wideout. They also no longer have a first-round pick. So how have the Buffalo Bills 2020 NFL Draft plans changed? What positions should be on their radar and why? Let’s circle the wagons and dive in.
2020 NFL Draft Needs For The Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills had a very productive opening week of free agency. They added versatility and depth on the defensive line and special teams, extended Jordan Poyer, and traded for Stefon Diggs. Along with re-signing guard Quinton Spain, the Bills have addressed several areas of need that required attention this offseason. However, the 2020 NFL draft will still be key for the Buffalo Bills in completing their roster. Multiple areas could use some upgrades and value and the Bills will have solid chances at adding quality to the team.
Yes, Levi Wallace is returning for the 2020 season. And yes, the Bills signed Josh Norman. But the cornerback position is still an area of need. Depth and a starting true number two corner opposite All-Pro Tre’Davious White will go a long way in Buffalo.
Wallace was picked on throughout last year and his tackling still remains a concern. Granted the number two corner on the Bills is going to get thrown at more because White is on the other side. But that’s all the more reason to need a legitimate number two corner. Levi has been a solid contributor and a nice story so far, but if the Bills can upgrade here they should.
As of now the only real corner competition for Wallace is Josh Norman who has struggled mightily since his 2015 All-Pro season. A member of the Washington Redskins since 2016, Norman has been playing in a defense that hasn’t suited his strengths. Washington’s aggressive man coverage style was a change for Norman who feasted as a cover 3 zone corner with the Carolina Panthers. Long story short, Norman still should have played better but kind of sort of gets a pass. Maybe. His contract makes his signing a low-risk move but also one that doesn’t garner pure confidence. The highest of hopes lie with Head Coach Sean McDermott getting the best out of him like he did when he was his defensive coordinator in Carolina.
With Wallace and Norman the Bills have two corners with upside and hopes. Add in the often injured nickel corner Taron Johnson and Siran Neal (who’s more safety than nickel corner) and what you have is a grouping that could use some support.
The free agency additions of Mario Addison, Quinton Jefferson, and Vernon Butler made the Bills deeper and more versatile up front. And that’s great. Slight problem is that they could still use another pass rusher.
With 39 sacks in his last four seasons, Addison is now the best pass rusher on the roster. His 9.5 sacks last year would have been tied for most on the Bills. Jefferson while boasting a top five pass rush win rate from the defensive tackle spot last year, and who can function on the edge in a 4-3 defense, doesn’t necessarily fit the edge rusher need. Butler is more internal pressure and chess piece than a guy coming off the edge. All are solid additions that make the defense better. That being said, the Buffalo Bills need another edge rushing presence.
Jerry Hughes is still effective but is getting older and declining. Trent Murphy is better than people think (he was great in the playoffs), but comes with an injury history and could be low hanging fruit to be cut. Darryl Johnson is a second year man who isn’t ready to bear the pass rushing burden. Those three players and Addison round out the edge rushing options in Buffalo right now.
If the Bills were to make a move along the lines of cutting Murphy and signing a more proven pass rusher, like say Everson Griffen, this area becomes less of a need. And even if that were to happen, the Bills would still need to get younger on the edge.
Devin Singletary had a really good rookie year. He comes into the 2020 season as the Bills starting running back. After Singletary, there’s T.J. Yeldon, special teamer Taiwan Jones, and rugby star turned running back Christian Wade. That’s the Buffalo Bills running back grouping as of right now.
Yeldon has had some success in the NFL, but saw only six games for the Bills last year. As far as Jones and Wade go, neither are proven NFL running back commodities. In today’s NFL you need multiple running backs. The Bills need someone to compliment Devin Singletary and give them quality reps from the running back position. If that guy was Yeldon, one may think he would have seen more playing time last year. Especially as Frank Gore wore down towards the end of the season.
With no movement in free agency to address the running back position, it seems as though GM Brandon Beane is aiming to find a running back in the draft. With the recent run of successful NFL running backs coming from anywhere and everywhere, the chances of the Bills finding a complement to Devin Singletary via the draft is high.
What It All Means For The Buffalo Bills 2020 NFL Draft
Obviously what the Buffalo Bills decide to do in the 2020 NFL Draft will be determined by the other picks made by the other teams. Despite not having a first-round pick the Bills have a solid chance to add quality and fill some needs with their picks. Beane and company will still be operating with their best player available, value approach. If you’re a Bills fan, hope there is a run on quarterbacks and wide receivers in the first 53 picks. Each one selected before pick 54 increases the odds of someone the Bills need falling to them. Expect to see a cornerback, edge rusher, and running back in three of the first five Bills picks.
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