Here’s the first of my monthly 2020 mock drafts. Yes, June is too early. Trust me on this, though; it’s fun to look back upon 11 months from now. Some players rise dramatically. Others plummet to UDFA (hello, former RD2 David Sills). I’ll always use the Difficult setting on FanSpeak Premium ($9.95 per year, which allows trades, totally worth it for under a buck a month) and User-Defined Team Needs for my mocks.
The Bills are at #11 right now. I guess we’ll have to prove that we don’t belong there in anybody’s mock draft. Let’s go!
TRADE DOWN FROM #11 FOR EXTRA RD2
FanSpeak Premium actually offered me two similar trade packages, and I complied, dropping 6 spots. All told, this draft got me FIVE Top-100 players, as mocks seem to do this time of year.
R1P17 OLB ISAIAH SIMMONS, CLEMSON
31 games played
Simmons is the top OLB on my board (he’s 17th on my board right now), and he’s that Shaq Thompson type that McDermott had with the Panthers. Think of him as a Safety with OLB size, speed, and diagnostic ability. Or, think of him as the third LB in a world-class trio we’ll have for the next decade. Possessing great humility and a tremendous work ethic, Simmons loves to learn. We’ll see if Beane visits Clemson this year. Dylan Moses from Alabama (32nd right now) would be another great LB choice. Moses is more the OLB/ILB type who’s quick to close, has size with savvy, and has recorded 42 tackles to rank second on the Crimson Tide. He’s 8 pounds heavier and has played 8 games fewer than Simmons.
R2P11 RB NAJEE HARRIS, ALABAMA
I know; we have so many RBs now and we took one too early last year; why would I take another? Five reasons. First off, Harris is the thunder to Singletary’s lightning, weighing a trim 230 pounds. Second, Harris’s 7.5 yards per carry against AP-ranked teams is second in his class to 5-11, 221-lb Jonathan Taylor’s 7.7. Either is fine with me here. Third, Harris’s dogged work ethic is such a fit for McBeane’s Dream Team. Fourth, his 37 missed tackles forced and 512 yards after contact last season make him great, and just unstoppable on a rainy day. Finally, Daboll has had his eyes on him since his time at Tuscaloosa.
R2P17 G SOLOMON KINDLEY, GEORGIA
I was actually looking for a OT or EDGE here, but I couldn’t resist grabbing Kindley, who was the LG in the Championship Game (see video; he’s #66). He also played games at RG. Kindley has dexterity for his mammoth size, and is a run-game mauler with a snowplow’s lack of discernment about what’s in front of him. This season, Kindley showed marked improvement in pass protection, raising his PFF grade to 81. You can see why I jumped as long as he was there. In fact, Solomon played OT in high school, but was moved inside by Georgia. Remember that Quinton Spain and Jeremiah Sirles are only on 1-year contracts.
R3P11 EDGE JONATHON COOPER, OHIO STATE
When you look at the EDGE position, you see that the Bills’ 2020 needs hinge on Shaq Lawson, their best run-defender per PFF. He’s essentially on a prove-it deal this season. Let’s draft his heir-apparent in Jonathon Cooper right here. His specialty is run defense/sealing the edge, just like Lawson. Cooper’s a Team Captain and a locker-room guy, but he’s a demon on the field. Demonstrating focus and an intrinsic desire to improve his game, Cooper is a process fit. Yes, he played opposite Bosa and Chase Young, and yes, he profited from double-teams going their way, but he’ll get the same thing in Buffalo. He’s next to Oliver and Lotu.
R4P11 EDGE YETUR GROSS-MATOS, PENN STATE
I love early Big Boards. Getting Gross-Matos in RD4 won’t happen next April, and it feels a lot like thievery here, but he’s BPA by a mile, and we have 3 EDGE guys in the final year of their contracts. Gross-Matos is already RD1 on my board, and some guy with better hair agrees with me. “YEE-tor” will go early with his long reach, speed to close, and a great club move. He’s an edge-setter like Cooper, but Gross-Matos is actually more of an heir-apparent for Hughes, as he moves blockers away like rag dolls. Besides, he’s from Pegula’s alma mater.
R5P11 WR BRYAN EDWARDS, SOUTH CAROLINA
I think we’re going to like our WR room far more than people seem to think, and time will tell just how far this crew can take us. What’s needed in that room might be a taller, more-solidly-built receiver, an alpha type that bullies 5-11 defenders. It could be D’haquille Williams or David Sills, and if it is, draft Tackle here instead and count your blessings. Edwards is thickly-built, but he’s got zigs and zags for a big man. Beane may soon have this guy’s plays on his cell phone like he did for Singletary. Edwards’ plays are like Lay’s Original Potato Chips: You can’t stop with one. Is he a Process Fit? “Bryan is a very mature young man. He gets it. He has a real good work ethic. He pushes himself through adversity,” Muschamp says. “We’ve got some other freshman receivers that can’t, quite frankly. The intangible qualities you look for in any player, Bryan has.”
R6P11 RT COLTON MCKIVITZ, WEST VIRGINIA
Ty Nsehke isn’t the Bills’ long-term plan at RT or LT. He’s 33 years old. LaAdrian Waddle only has a 1-year contract, and Sirles can’t pass-block. Conor McDermott has had sparks of competence, but we’ll need a Tackle for Beane’s long-range plans. His Tackle has to have a high ceiling. This is likely late to be acquiring a backup for Cody Ford, but watch #53 at RT here. McKivitz shows some promise.
RD7 – We have no RD7 as of yet (Cleveland got Buffalo’s RD7 in the Corey Coleman trade), and only 6 draft picks all told. However, as Beane says, “I do like my picks”. You never know what you’re going to get with Brandon Beane.
Editor’s babble: Love me some Solomon Kindley. Get the trenches set for the future and I’m a happy camper. Thanks to Dean Kindig for his terrific contributions to our blog. You can find Dean on Twitter @TCBILLS_Astro.