By now I’m sure you’ve heard that Mel Kiper gave the Buffalo Bills the worst grade in this year’s draft. They were, of course, going into the draft with a bit of a handicap, as they were without a first round pick after trading it to the Browns last season. While Sammy Watkins looks like a veritable number one receiver, I still don’t like that trade—but that’s neither here nor there. Let’s examine what the Bills were able to come away from Chicago with this past weekend.
Round 2- CB Ronald Darby, Florida State
Some think that the Bills reached with this pick given what other talent was on the board, but I like this pick. Darby was one of the top speedsters in the draft, and he’ll fit nicely into Rex Ryan’s scheme. He’s a talented cover corner, and his combination of speed and size will yield more broken-up passes than interceptions (he doesn’t have the best hands, which was one of the knocks against him). It’s a passing league, and it certainly never hurts to beef up the secondary, so it’s hard to really hate this pick.
Round 3- OG John Miller, Louisville
Perhaps the biggest need headed into the draft was some more talent in the offensive line, as the Bills have made it clear they’re planning on running the ball into the ground. The more protection you can give whichever mediocre quarterback they’ll open the 2015 season with the better, and this beefy guard from Louisville should certainly help. Miller’s skill set is somewhat limited, as he isn’t the best athlete, but he should provide enough push up the middle to give the running game a boost up the middle. He may not start right away, but this is a guy who will add some depth and certainly has the ability to break into the line sooner rather than later.
Round 5- RB Karlos Williams, Florida State
I was not thrilled with this pick, as it seemed like a luxury pick that they didn’t have. Williams dropped on draft boards thanks to an unproductive 2014-15 season and battery charges that called his character into question, but I still think the Bills reached a bit considering their other needs. Williams has a lot of upside talent-wise, but ultimately the Bills are going to be fine at running back for 2015, and I would have liked to see them take a player who could add some depth at several positions where it is sorely needed.
Round 6- LB Tony Steward, Clemson
This was another questionable draft choice, as most experts expected Steward to go undrafted. Steward excelled on special teams at Clemson, and I have to assume this is where he’ll get used if the Bills were willing to use a draft pick on him, although there isn’t a whole lot of depth at the linebacker position in general.
Round 6- TE Nick O’Leary,Florida State
Finally a Seminole pick I can get behind. O’Leary won the Mackey Award (given to the nation’s best tight end) in 2014, but fell on draft boards due to his dependency on high-volume. His physical attributes don’t jump off the page, which also hurt his draft day value, but he could start as soon as 2015 if he can prove to be the underneath complement to Charles Clay’s vertical abilities. I’d feel comfortable calling this a steal in the sixth round.
Round 7- WR Dezmin Lewis, Central Arkansas
This could be the best-value pick of Buffalo’s draft, as Lewis was projected to be a fourth-round talent. However, as he played at the FCS level instead of the FBS level, many were concerned with the level of competition he succeeded against. However, he played well in all of Central Arkansas’ games against FBS teams. Even if those concerns were justified (which I don’t believe they are), I’m quite alright with taking a 6’4”, 215-pound receiver who runs a 4.48 40-yard dash in the seventh round. The epitome of low risk, high reward.
Feel free to tweet me @Roto_Dubs with any and all Bills questions or comments.