Astro’s Bills Mock Draft — February Edition

Photo from thegamehaus.com.

I intend to put out a 2019 NFL Bills Mock Draft each month, based on where the Bills have scouted and who they’ve visited throughout draft season. If you bookmark and follow my BillsMafia Draft Board here, you might be able to make your own “All-Visits Mock”.

Not everybody notices the tabs at the bottom“By Round” shows where scouted players are likely to be drafted, per DraftTek’s Big Board“By Game” shows you which games the Bills’ scouts have been to, and an updated look at who I think they were watching. “By Team”shows you the top draft-eligible players on each team, and “By Position” shows you DraftTek’s positional priority for the Bills, which tells the DraftTek computer which positions to “shop for” first. Stop back; I work on it every day.

Here’s February’s best-guess draft.

R1P9–TRADEDOWN – Unless I miss my guess, Pick #9 is going to be very valuable for teams needing a QB. Various mocks you’ll read will have DT Ed Oliver there, the second-ranked QB, the first-ranked CB, and/or the top-ranked offensive lineman at #9, all of which will get Beane’s phone chirping. Beane will opt for a game-changing playmaker or trade down, especially after he addresses OL in Free Agency. We’re following his lead this month. Our DraftTek custom Trade Chart shows the Bills could get 2 RD1 picks for a trade-down, and Beane’s scouts seems to know how to pick players. Our #9 pick is worth 1350 pts. Oakland has two RD1 picks, #24 and #27 (1420 pts.), and is willing to cut a deal. Of the 14 players available at #24, the Bills have scouted all 14. They’re ready for this eventuality.

Photo of RB Josh Jacobs from saturdaydownsouth.com and USATODAY.

RD1#24 – RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama – Beane begins this draft with a “wow” pick. That’ll get the Bills’ FamBase salivating. Daboll concurs, having seen Jacobs in practice for his year at ‘Bama. Jacobs is the top RB on our board, and 2 RBs on the Bills are over 30. Jacobs, who also had kick-return experience (514 yards on 18 attempts), and is bull-strong (bench 405, squats 500). He has pounded the rock 225 times for 1,346 yards (6.0 ypc) and 16 rushing TDs over 38 games. Jacobs is a very good receiver (12.4 ypc, caught 43 passes for 495 yards and 4 additional receiving TDs, top vertical jump on the team). The Bills’ Thunder Back to inherit Chris Ivory’s role is in the building. Ivory will be 31 on March 22.

Photo of OT Dalton Risner from theathletic.com.

RD1#27- OT Dalton Risner, Kansas St – The Bills chatted Risner up at the Senior Bowl. And for good reason. Along with Jonah Williams, Martez Ivey, and Tyree St. Louis, Dalton Risner offers speed along with strength. A high-character offensive lineman with pass-blocking and run-blocking acumen, Risner can play anywhere along the line. Seriously. We have openings. Risner is my “pet cat” this year as much as Harrison Phillips was in 2018, and I’d be okay with taking him as high as the second RD1 pick.

Photo of DL Jerry Tillery from 247sports.com.

RD2#40- iDL Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame – The Bills scouts –as well as Brandon Beane– have been all over Notre Dame this year. ND was tops on “The Beane’s List” with 3 visits. Tillery has played NT in the past, but slid over to 3-tech this year. His impressive career (133 tackles, 23 for loss, 12.5 sacks) is a great argument for getting in on this year’s iDL crop, and his role matches the Bills’ inside guys: keep the speedy LBs clean. He can slip blocks, penetrate, bull-rush, and hold gaps for his LBs. A former OT, Tillery is strong, affable, and football smart, a high-effort player with pass-rush skills that is exactly what McDermott’s looking for. Daniel Jeremiah recently said that the smart, high-effort player’s floor is already known, and that player will hardly ever be a bust barring injury because effort and smarts will maximize his skillset. Tillery can slot into the iDL rotation from Day One.

Photo of WR Riley Ridley from AL.com.

RD3#74–WR Riley Ridley, Georgia 
Looking for a hard-working receiver with NFL bloodlines? Riley’s one year younger than his brother, Calvin, who put up 64 catches, 821 yards, and 10 TD in his first foray with the Falcons. Riley has the NFL-DNA, and I think he’ll show up Calvin at the Combine. This Ridley is the strength-and-length type of receiver that the Bills need, with 4.4 speed, impressive 67.57% catch rate, quickness off the line, long speed to extend downfield, route-running, and a fierce attention to detail. Ridley has already played in a run-heavy offense, and has come up big in big games. If Ridley is gone (and I expect him to vault himself up into the RD1-2 cusp after chewing up the Combine), then WR Parris Campbell, Ohio State, still may be. In mid-November, on OneBillsLive (1:34:20), Brandon Beane said he’d recently paid a visit to Ohio State, among other schools. Campbell’s not the speedy receiver who can’t catch (no, no, we’ve had those before) or can’t do something with the pigskin after he does. Parris Campbell is the only “WR with 4.3 speed and >70% catch rate” not named Marquise Brown, and after Brown’s foot surgery, Parris may be alone in this club. Campbell was the leader among draftables in Yards After Catch in both 2017 and 2018. He’s still on an upward vector, as his catches and yards have doubled every year in college. I can see Allen to Campbell deep, can’t you?

Photo of iDL Daniel Wise from 247sports.com.

RD4#105–iDL Daniel Wise, Kansas– The Bills chatted Daniel Wise up at the Shrine Game, where Wise tore it up at practice and in the game. He’s an ideal fit for the Bills, as he offers game experience (3rd-most games played on my board), intense pressure (1.07 TFL per game played), leadership reminiscent of Kyle,and locker-room affability. He has a “tremendous work ethic and infectious locker-room personality”, per his coaches. Hey, we just lost one of those to retirement.

Photo of TE Zach Gentry from MGoBlue.com.

RD4#124 TE Zach Gentry, Michigan – Is 6’8” Zach Gentry (lined up here in 5-wide like Jay Riemersma, another Michigan TE, used to do at times) a target that Josh Allen can find? Gentry would dwarf 6’6″ Keith McKellar and 6’6″ Logan Thomas. I think Beane will find Gentry’s freak measurables irresistible. “Heck of a target,” his coach Patterson says of Gentry. Watch the Maryland game from this year and the Michigan State game the Bills attended. Add blocking to Gentry’s straight-line speed, and knack for going across the field making difficult catches, at a 71% catch-rate clip. Gentry doesn’t usually turn north after he secures the catch, but maybe Charles Clay can give him some point-… He what????

Photo of WR Gary Jennings from wvusports.com.

RD5#136- WR Gary Jennings, WVU – Jennings is my WR sleeper pick, and he fits in right here. He’s not tall, but he’s fast (4.49 speed) and reliable (73.17% catch rate). I’ve avoided the fast, small, flashy Hollywood and the built-but-risky Metcalf to draft two weapons who have hands: Ridley and Jennings. As an example, Jennings caught 12 for 12 of his red-zone targets in 2018. Daboll could employ him out of the gate as a backup in the slot, where he’s the biggest slot receiver on my board (Trenton Irwin’s right up there). He’s PFF’s 2nd-best slot receiver, and he led all Big 12 receivers with 7.5 receptions per game. Jennings didn’t improve on stats every year but still had nice career line of 168-2,294-13.7-17TD.

Photo of OLB Chase Hansen from utahutes.com.

RD5#147-OLB Chase Hansen, Utah – There are two players on Day Three that fit a SS/OLB mold, and I think the idea still appeals to McDermott since his Carolina days. Nicknamed “Grandpa” (he’s 25 years old), Hansen was the best player in a Bills-scouted game against Oregon. He had 8 tackles, 5 assists, and a sack in that win. He’s what McDermott will see as the hybrid SS-LB he had in Carolina, and if he doesn’t go after his former prodigy Thomas Davis (which I’d recommend against), he’ll get a hybrid 10 years younger (“Grandpa” Hansen is age 25) who’s a hard hitter and wrap-up tackler, here against Myles Gaskin.

Photo of RB Trayveon Williams from 247sports.com.

R6#167–RB Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M – Remember, I said two of our backs are over 30, so here’s the Lightning to Josh Jacobs’ Thunder. Williams led the SEC in both TD’s (the NCAA’s #1) and yards (NCAA’s #3) . His shiftiness reminds me of a faster LeSean McCoy, who turns 31 right before training camp. Trayveon played in a run-based, smash-mouth, pro-style offense which employed a FB 70% of the time, so his stats are inflated (1,057 yards as a freshman in 2016, 1,760 yards in 2018). Williams has also caught 66 passes over the last three seasons. Trayveon’s really fun to watch; here are 6 straight runs from the Gator Bowl. The Bills may have paid a visit to College Station on 12/1. He’ll be the ideal Lightning back…Unless it’s Bryce Love, Stanford. Love tore his ACL in Stanford’s final game. He says he’s in rehab and on the “path to recovery” for the NFL Draft after Dr. James Andrews’ surgery. Love is also the perfect complement to Josh Jacobs. You want a bull and and a water bug to be successors to Ivory and McCoy. Why do the Bills love Love? Is it the 8.1 yards per carry in 2017? An FBS-record 13 runs of 50+ yards last season –on a bad ankle? Perhaps it’s Love’s 76 missed tackles forced in 2017? Love passed on a top-50 pick in the NFL after his prolific junior campaign (2nd to Mayfield in the Heisman) to shoot for the Heisman in 2018 and to complete his degree in Human Biology (yeah, what doctors major in). Dr. Love had a down year in 2018, but got his degree. Smart, humble, genuine, first off the bench to credit teammates after their TD, a hard worker at every play of every practice. And a Skittles lover. Yep. Why Can’t This Be Love?

Photo of C/OG Bunchy Stallings from ukathletics.com.

R7#201–C OG Bunchy Stallings, Kentucky – A versatile Shrine Game meet-up with the Bills, Stallings could compete at Guard or Center. He and “The Other Josh Allen” were named Kentucky AP All-Americans, and Stallings was named to the All-Bowl Team after the Citrus Bowl. He has a mean streak, and he’ll need to learn to rein it in, but he can sure make pancakes like Richie did. With the high level of interest from NFL GMs so far, I have a hunch that Bunchy will be drafted much higher than my ranking or DraftTek’s. Read on.

The best value on Day 3 might well be LT William Sweet, North Carolina, also a Bills contact, and the ACC’s top run-blocking OT according to Pro Football Focus (80.4 for offense, 85.7 for pass-blocking, and 72.8 run-blocking). He had only 1 sack and 1 penalty in 398 total snaps. Sweet has potential, as shown here…Watch #51. Keep in mind that UNC is Brandon Beane’s alma mater. Another could be OG/OC Javon Patterson, a Bills-scouted player from Ole Miss, who moved over to Center at the Senior Bowl. That would double his versatility. Some GM needing a Center must’ve asked that he try it. Another Shrine contact, OC Lamont Gaillard (“GILL-yurd”) of Georgia, gets out of his stance and locks on quickly, and has some nice upside. Our DraftTek OL Analyst Longball loves the idea of OG Alex Bars of Notre Dame going to the Bills, maybe with the pick below, saying he’s a perfect fit in my article here on offensive linemen.

Photo of FS Chris Johnson from youtube.com.

RD7#204– I still like the idea of taking a DB to two with upside, one here or both in Preferred Free Agency. FS Chris Johnson, North Alabama or CB Iman Marshall would be great value picks should they not hear their names called earlier. The Bills visited Johnson’s school during the 2018 season, likely to chat with UNA coaches, and USC CB Iman Marshall‘s zone coverage ability and opportunism within the scheme fit right in. I’ve seen Marshall mocked in every round from RD1 to UDFA. It comes down to the scheme his NFL DC runs, and the role that zone defense plays on the back end. Buffalo would be an ideal landing spot for Iman.

The Bills talked with big OT Ethan Greenidge at the East-West Shrine Game. Greenidge, who played LT at Villlanova outside of Philly, is a Long Island, NY native who has great footwork, likely from playing basketball. He played both left and right tackle (in separate games, of course). Greenidge was 360 lbs as a freshman, lost weight and got faster. He’s raw, but for 335 lbs, #73 moves pretty well. (Remember how Jason Peters moved?) Here’s Emory Hunt’s interview of Greenidge at the Shrine Game. I find him engaging and smart.

PFA:
OT PAUL ADAMS – MISSOURI*
WR JAMAL CUSTIS – SYRACUSE
WR NYQWAN MURRAY – FLORIDA STATE
TE  C.J. CONRAD – KENTUCKY
RB PATRICK CARR – HOUSTON*
RB NICO EVANS – WYOMING*

DL YOUHANNA GHAIFAN – WYOMING*
EDGE DERICK ROBERSON, SAM HOUSTON STATE*
EDGE MALIK CARNEY – NORTH CAROLINA*
CB BLESSUAN AUSTIN – RUTGERS*
* scout attended a minimum of one game or postseason bowl

Editor’s babble: Love this very interesting mock draft. Thanks again to the incredible Dean Kindig for his many contributions to our blog. You can find Dean on Twitter @TCBILLS_Astro.

2 Replies to “Astro’s Bills Mock Draft — February Edition”

  1. I like it, but would still like to see Metcalf at nine. The kid makes all kinds of impressive catches, one hand2d, full extension, covered or not, DB hanging on him or not. With McDermott seemingly looking for a tall receiver (see K. Benjamin), I would love for them to grab Metcalf here. If they could still accomplish that with a trade with the Falcons, who may really want Oliver, that would be tremendous in my opinion. Of course, getting Cambell in the third with Metcalf would be great!! Foster, Jones, Metcalf, Cambell, Isaiah, and the kid from the CFL. Watch out.

  2. I love a healthy Metcalf and would take that at #9. The medicals are going to help Metcalf possibly more than anyone in this draft. If we’re only looking for a “big receiver” (which Beane WON’T do), we’ll get stuck with one of the “Tall Slow Three” (Hakeem Butler, N’Keal Harry, JJ Arcega-Whiteside). Those 3 guys have to prove they’re faster than the “big fast” Metcalf.

    I’m not shutting the door on Kelvin Harmon just because of his bad-taste first name. He and the others in the “Tall Slow Three” had a catch rate in the mid-50% range.