Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential draft-day solutions.
For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.
Bills Team Need No. 1: Quarterback
The Bills appear committed to finding a traditional pocket passer in year two of the Brandon Beane-Sean McDermott regime, jettisoning dual-threat Tyrod Taylor, settling for widely unwanted ex-Bengals backup A.J. McCarron in free agency and stockpiling two first-round picks (numbers 12 and 22), two second-rounders (53, 56) and two third-rounders (65, 96) as ammunition for a trade up.
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Bills Team Need No. 2: Wide Receiver
According to Next Gen Stats, last year’s Bills wide receiver corps finished dead last in the NFL in cumulative yards of separation at target. Contract-year WR Kelvin Benjamin is coming off another knee surgery, and 2017 second-round pick Zay Jones struggled mightily as a rookie, then was arrested following a troubling incident earlier this month. Buffalo’s wideout depth consists of journeymen Rod Streater and Andre Holmes. To give their presumed rookie quarterback his best chance to succeed, the Bills must upgrade their pass-catcher corps. Unfortunately, this is a weak wide receiver class.
Bills Team Need No. 3: Cornerback
Inside linebacker and depth on the defensive line also warrant mentions here; Buffalo’s roster is long on holes. After finishing 30th in sacks (27), the Bills are counting heavily on Trent Murphy to spark their pass rush. Murphy missed all of 2017 with a torn ACL and MCL and served a four-game PEDs ban. Every-down MLB Preston Brown left for the Bengals in free agency. Cornerback arguably remains most pressing with injury-plagued Vontae Davis on a one-year, prove-it deal and nothing of note at slot corner, where free agent Leonard Johnson has not been retained.
Norris’ Mock Draft
Round 1 (12): QB Josh Rosen, UCLA - I’m cheating here, as it seems almost a certainty that the Bills trade up for a quarterback. So rather than outline a scenario that will not happen, let’s project a trade. In this deal the Bills trade picks 12, 22 and 53 (it might be more, it might be less) to the Browns for number 4. If we look at the passers the Bills recently moved on from (Tyrod Taylor) and acquired (Nathan Peterman and A.J. McCarron), it appears the Bills want a prototypical pocket passer. Rosen is easily the best quarterback that fits that label. Josh Allen might as well. The Bills seemed to be interested in last year’s quarterback class (maybe Mitchell Trubisky specifically) and likely plan to not be near the top of the draft for years. Shoot your quarterback shot now.
Round 1 (22): Refer to Pick “12”
Round 2 (53): Refer to Pick “12”
Round 2 (56): LB Malik Jefferson, Texas - The Bills added a talented defensive tackle in Star Lotulelei who will help keep linebackers clean. Now the team needs to inject athleticism at the position, as Sean McDermott featured multiple athletic linebackers while in Carolina. Jefferson might be a bit of an overcorrection there as he’s more athlete than composed linebacker, but let’s bank on NFL coaches earning their paychecks.
Round 3 (65): WR DJ Chark, LSU - Kelvin Benjamin is a non-separation receiver who theoretically wins big. Zay Jones is best in the short and intermediate areas of the field, perhaps even in the slot. Chark offers a different skill set as he’s one of the best vertical threats in this class.
Round 3 (96): CB Avonte Maddox, Pitt - Maddox’s game is very similar to Captain Munnerlyn and he’s an even better athlete (90th percentile). McDermott coached Munnerlyn during his best years in the NFL and slot corner is a need. I absolutely love Maddox’s game.
Round 4 (121): CB Brandon Facyson, Virginia Tech - Facyson is getting lost in the shuffle, but he’s a talented outside corner with great length.
Round 5 (166): LB Matthew Thomas, FSU - More athleticism at linebacker (95th percentile). Thomas is a run and chase linebacker who could make a name in the league with space to run. At the very least he should be a solid special teamer.
Round 6 (187): WR Jake Wieneke, South Dakota State - Kelvin Benjamin has dealt with injuries, so if a team wants to take a dart throw on a similar skill set, Wieneke’s game is predicated on winning in contested situations.