I wrote up my first mock draft of the year back in the beginning of February. You can check that out here if you’re interested. In that mock, I took defensive players early and often and settled for a mid round quarterback with a big arm.
A month later, I still don’t hate that mindset. I’m not convinced that Buffalo should just trade all of their assets to go up and get a quarterback from this class. With that being said, it’s still plausible (if not likely) that the Bills do opt to move up and select “their guy” towards the top of the draft. In this scenario, Denver lands their quarterback, Kirk Cousins, in free agency and looks to add more weapons around him.
First Round Trade
Bills receive Broncos 5th overall pick.
Broncos receive #21, #55, and a 2019 1st.
1.05 Bills select QB Josh Rosen
Bills trade up to get their franchise quarterback but they keep pick #22 in this year’s draft. For all the ridiculous talk about character issues, Rosen actually seems like the kind of guy that McDermott would want. Rosen might be the one rookie in this class that would allow the team to move on from Tyrod Taylor to try and acquire another draft pick via trade. I’d love to see how Brian Daboll schemes an offense to support Rosen’s growth and success.
1.22 Bills select OL Connor Williams
If you plan on starting a rookie quarterback, you better help keep him upright. The 320-pounder out of Texas will be hard to pass on if he makes it to Buffalo here. There are rumblings that he may be better suited as a guard or center in the NFL, but that won’t concern Buffalo.
They have holes all over that offensive line and can slide him in wherever they see a fit. People aren’t talking enough about the need at offensive line. Whether it’s through the draft or free agency, Buffalo needs to add a starting caliber player to this group in the offseason.
2.53 Bills select DT Tim Settle
The interior defensive line needs to be completely retooled this offseason. Even if Brandon Beane brings in Dontari Poe or Start Loutelili, they will still need to draft more help. Tim Settle is that big anchor inside that Buffalo was lacking last season. He moves surprisingly well considering how big he is.
The buzz word around the league when McDermott was constructing his defense last season was versatility. Settle was used in a lot of different ways at Virginia Tech and may do more of the same at the next level. He is a day one starter who will only improve with a full year of NFL conditioning.
3.96 Bills select LB Darius Leonard
I was staring down the barrel at Mark Andrews here, but Buffalo‘s roster has too many other holes. Specifically, they need to add speed and athleticism to their linebacker group.
Darius Leonard is the perfect fit for this roster late in the third round. His speed will help fill the void in coverage that most of the current Buffalo linebackers lack. He weighs slightly less than Matt Milano did coming out of college, but he has more length. He will be fine as long as he can continue adding mass when he gets into the league.
4.121 Bills select RB Kalen Ballage
Ballage looks like he has NFL athleticism. The big knock on him has been his indecisiveness when running the football. He should be able to take some pressure off LeSean McCoy and he can contribute in the return game. The Bills need to get a running back around this point in the draft. Beane will give Daboll the back that best fits his offensive scheme moving forward, whatever that may be.
5.158 Bills select LB Jack Cichy
Cichy only falls this far because of injury concerns. It’s been a long time since he’s played meaningful football after missing all of 2017. In the fifth round, this is a risk worth taking. Cichy has the skill set to eventually become Sean McDermott’s middle linebacker.
5.169 Bills select DT Khalil McKenzie
The son of Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie surprised people by entering the draft a year early. He was a solid run defender at Tennessee, an area Buffalo desperately needs help in. He could be an interesting flyer in the fifth for McDermott’s defense. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go in a different direction to acquire someone who could contribute on special teams.
I want to read your opinion. A lot of you ripped my decision to pass on a first round quarterback in my initial mock draft. How do you think this haul compares to that first one? Is it worth giving up some of those other pieces to take a risk on Rosen? Is Rosen even the quarterback you want them to trade up for?
Shout me out in the comment section here, or on Twitter @JoeGeniti.
Editor’s babble: Thanks to Joe for his contributions to our blog. And, as always, opinions shared on the blog are those of the author and not necessarily shared by the owners of BillsMafia.com. Let’s get this mock draft discussion going!