It’s a rainy morning following a Bills’ defeat at the hands of Gimpy Rodgers and the Packers. Perfect time to flush it and look ahead to the 2019 NFL Draft. I bought FanSpeak’s On The Clock Premium
three years ago, and have maintained my annual subscription ($9.95 for one year). Nothing is more soothing after a Bills’ loss. Even beats alcohol. FanSpeak Premium allows you to make sensible trades. And no, I don’t work for them.
My intent is to do a monthly Bills mock draft, explaining my choices.
I’d love it if you replied with your own FanSpeak draft, either on Twitter
or in the comments below. Saying that “such-and-such a player won’t be there at that pick” isn’t worth my argument; they clearly were
available at that pick, and that’s why I picked them!
RD1#2 – OT JONAH WILLIAMS, ALABAMA
6-5, 301 5.02
In the Packer game, it was clear that Josh Allen won’t develop properly without a solid offensive line in front of him. A good line facilitates a QB’s time to work on multiple progressions, looking off a safety, and setting feet properly. From the Bills’ past front-office tendencies, they’re more likely to draft OTs and slide them inside than to draft a Guard. I took the draft’s top OT here. Jonah Williams, #73 in this video, is the fastest tackle (40 time: 5.02), and he’s a relentless film rat. Williams keeps a notebook where he jots down 3 emphases for the day, and is laser-focused on working on those in practice and game prep. Sounds like a McBeane Process guy. He says, “I don’t play because of anger against other teams; I play because I want to be the best I can be.” Remember that Williams played for Daboll last year.
RD2#34 – C DALTON RISNER, KANSAS STATE
6-4, 300 5.08
Some will argue that two linemen is overkill. I will reply, we lost two excellent O-linemen before the year started, I haven’t been impressed with Ducasse, Bodine, or Groy at Center this year, and current RT Dalton Risner will make the draft’s best NFL Center. Risner adds to RD1’s speed narrative, as he’s the draft’s fastest true Center (40 time: 5.08), which gives him speed enough to pull, something Daboll has in his bag of tricks. He’s also versatile. If you fill Center through Free Agency, Risner (#71) can play RT better than Mills on Day One. Beane will like that he is a three-year starter entering senior year, he’s a captain, he puts in service hours when he’s off-field, and that he’s allowed 1 sack over the last 3 seasons.
RD3#66 – WR ANTHONY JOHNSON, BUFFALO
I don’t think Anthony Johnson
will last until #66, but it’s not easy to predict how far some players will fall (who had Harrison Phillips lasting until RD3#96? I didn’t). A drop to RD3#66 could happen because of several reasons: (1) it’s a deep WR class
; (2) Johnson isn’t the NFL-prototype WR like N’Keal Harry, Michael Pittman, Sills, Metcalf, Arcega-Whiteside, Lil’ Jordan Humphrey, or
Collin Johnson; (3) Anthony Johnson was in 2 junior colleges and a redshirt year, so he has only one season of big stats (76 catches for 1,356 yards, 14 TD in 2017, 124.2 QBR when targeted) prior to 2018. Why did I draft the local favorite? Besides being the best player available at #66, he’s the draft’s best at corner routes (146.6) and hitches (136.1) –something I saw a lot of at training camp. Johnson’s 17.8 ypc is missing in our current WR room. Johnson has three cousins in the NFL, including Jadeveon Clowney.
TRADE: CLEVELAND BROWNS
SENT: RD4#2, RECEIVED: RD4#113, RD5#151
RD4#113 – CB MARK GILBERT, DUKE
6-1, 175, 4.5
Gilbert rocked during his soph season in which he made 13 appearances. He played up enough to get 3 TFLs along with his 35 tackles, along with 6 INT and 15 PBU; Most convinceing stat: QBs completed only 38.3% of 60 passes thrown his way, which led to Gilbert making First Team All-ACC selection. I’m happy with the potential shown by Taron Johnson and Ryan Lewis, enough so that waiting for a zone corner until RD4 is warranted. That said, I wouldn’t be upset if McBeane got an early bookend for Tre White, in free agency, in RD1 (Greedy Williams, Michael Jackson, Trayvon Mullen, or DeAndre Baker) or in RD2 (Montre Hartage, Derrick Baity, Iman Marshall, Jordan Wyatt, or Julian Blackmon).
RD4#133 – DL3t DANIEL WISE, KANSAS
Daniel Wise entered the season with 31 games played over 3 years, a minimum requirement for McBeane’s drafts. I picked Wise here to platoon with Horrible Harry Phillips because he’s an outstanding leader with a tremendous work ethic and an infectious personality, per Wise’s Head Coach. He was productive
, logging 53 tackles (16.0 for loss
) and 7 sacks in 2017. To be sure, Wise was the beneficiary of Dorance Armstrong (2018 Cowboys RD4#116) at DE. Wise is worth a watch this year to see how he does with less of a supporting cast. An All-Big12-First-Team selection, Wise has the “One for One” working over his career: 31 games, 31 TFL.
RD5#142 – RB MYLES GASKIN, WASHINGTON
5-10, 191, 4.50
Gaskin enters 2018 as the active leader among FBS players in career rushing yards (4,055 yards), notching at least 1,000 yards in all 3 seasons on campus and posting a career-high 21 rushing TDs in 2017. The 2018 draft projection he received wasn’t to his liking, and he wants to prove the experts wrong. Gaskin had played in 40 games over 3 years heading into this season. Gaskin is the kind of running back McBeane will look for, one with outstanding work ethic and high character. In fact, Gaskin is the whole package: vision, instincts, and fluid lateral agility. Why is he here in RD5 if he’s so good? Chicken-thin legs and too-few chicken wings on that body. Buffalo can help.
RD5#151 – S LUKAS DENIS, BOSTON COLLEGE
5-11, 188 4.55
Denis has the most passes broken up in my top 12 safeties, at least coming into 2018. He has elite coverage skills (22 passes defended), and his 7 interceptions were tied for the FBS lead. Fun fact: Denis’s alternately-listed position is QB, so at worst he’s your clipboard-holder. Denis would have to change his college number for a new one: his number at BC is #21, and it’s spoken for on the Bills. Denis shows leadership as the senior leader of BC’s secondary unit. 2017 was his first full season as a starter, but he made it count: 83 tackles, good for third on the team. He knew Matt Milano, which is good enough for me.
RD5#160 – TE TOMMY SWEENEY, BOSTON COLLEGE
6-4, 255, 4.71
Another BC product in the next round. I’m sure you’re aware we got rid of Nick O’Leary and kept Charles Clay –at least for now. Sweeney might be the best pure blocking tight end in this class, and he’s the pure-grit-and-perseverence type to whom Beane and McD are magnetically drawn. Sweeney would be an enhancement to the run game, for sure. Sweeney made the Horatio-Alger rise from freshman walk-on to Male Athlete of the Year. He is an under-rated receiver, but he did lead the Eagles in receptions (36), receiving yards (512), and receiving TD (4) last season. The All-ACC First Team player’s best game was the Pinstripe Bowl (7 receptions for 137 yards and a 48-yard TD off a deflection, showing Leary-like hand-eye coordination).
RD6#176 – EDGE JALEN JELKS, OREGON
6-5, 245 4.81
Why NOT a Duck? Often on Pro Football Focus’s Team of the Week, Jalen Jelks is currently their highest-graded Pac-12 Conference defender. His penetrating production is almost one Tackle For Loss (TFL) per game. In fact, this season, Jelks already has four TFL and 2.5 sacks, on pace to beat 2017’s totals of 15.5 TFL and 7 sacks. His 31 games over 4 seasons coming into 2018 will also resonate with McBeane.
RD7#218 – WR HUNTER RENFOW, CLEMSON
With 38 games played over 3 seasons prior to 2018, Renfrow is a more-productive upgrade to Foster/McCloud at slot receiver and punt returner. Renfrow was a walk-on at Clemson who caught the game-winning pass with a second left to give Clemson the 35-31 victory in the Nat Championship. A community guy, he’ll push all the buttons with front office and fans.
RD7#244 – OLB ULYSEES GILBERT III, AKRON
6-0, 225, 4.56
Some sites will have you believe that Gilbert will be an EDGE in the NFL, but I see him competing at OLB. He has one of fastest 40 times among EDGE rushers, and he can bend the arc well, but his diminutive size against NFL tackles will give teams pause… but maybe not McDermott and Company; remember, Bills’ current OLB Matt Milano was previously a safety. And he does say “Trust the Process” at beginning of this video. Gilbert has been productive with 144 tackles in 33 games coming into this year (top 4), and he’s been the Defensive MVP for the Zips every year he’s played.