There will always be second guessing going on when it comes to the Buffalo Bills decision making during NFL draft weekend. That’s just part of the process and it’s par for the course. Truth is that’s what all fans do no matter whom they support.
2019 has been no different.
The NFL draft officially kicked off Thursday evening in Nashville, TN with the Arizona Cardinals selecting Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray first overall. No surprise there.
One move that raised some eyebrows early on was the New York Giants grabbing Daniel Jones (Duke QB) with the sixth pick, instead of Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State, almost overwhelmingly regarded as a better prospect. Drew Brees was (in some circles) considered a better college QB than Eli Manning too back in 2004. The Chargers selected the Ole Miss QB and then quickly traded him to the Giants.
The Bills held the ninth pick overall and grabbed Ed Oliver from Houston, a 287-pound defensive tackle known for his pass rushing ability. The book on Oliver is that he “is a 100% effort guy with exceptional 1st step quickness and burst” as per Bucky Brooks a former pro now NFL analyst with bigplayfootball.com.
Oliver had always been considered a high pick by scouts and analysts alike with some draft gurus on record saying he could have gone in the Top-5 of the 2018draft class.
Five defensive players went off the board before Buffalo made their selection including Nick Bosa (San Fran), Clelin Ferrell (Oak) and Josh Allen (J’ville). It appeared Beane and Company may have to move up in the draft in order to land Oliver. But prior to the draft the Bills GM was confident that a player with Oliver’s ability would be there at 9.
On Friday, Oliver was introduced at One Bills Drive. “I feel like I just found my home,” Oliver said to reporters. He was asked about how he has prepared for this moment and told the media that he “never leaves the house without the chip on my shoulder” in referring to early assessments suggesting he was too small to play, even at the collegiate level.
Day two in Nashville saw the Bills selecting Cody Ford (No. 38 overall, OL, Oklahoma).
Buffalo traded up two spots with Tampa Bay, sending the Buccaneers a fifth-round pick (No. 158 overall 2019 draft). Ford adds depth, if nothing else at right tackle on the offensive line. The Junior measures 6-3, 329 lbs. He has a big frame, long arms, tree trunks for legs and a high football IQ.
One of the areas Ford will have to work on is quickness. Head coach Sean McDermott and his staff should be able to help in Ford’s development and long-term success on the Bills line.
Devin Singletary (Round 3, No. 74) a Junior running back out of Florida Atlantic University (Conference USA) played under Lane Kiffin, current head coach of the Owls.
No question the Bills front office believe LeSean McCoy’s best days are behind him and the offseason acquisitions of Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon and the selection of Singletary address this concern. Its possible Buffalo moves on from McCoy before week one of the 2019 season.
Beane told media that there has to be competition at every position. In regards to Singletary “He was the funnest guy I’ve watched all year,” Beane said adding “He just has amazing vision, rare vision and just his instincts are very rare for the position. He has that elusiveness and he can make guys miss in a phone booth.”
Buffalo made another trade soon after, this time packaging both 4th round draft picks and sending them to the Washington Redskins for their 96th pick (3rd Round). The Bills selected a tight-end out of Ole Miss, Dawson Knox. This was an area of need for Buffalo heading into the draft, especially after their decision to waive Charles Clay in February.
The Bills saved $4.5 million by cutting Clay, who never lived up to his free agent contract signed back in 2015.
Knox was a two-year starter for the Rebels and one of four players from Ole Miss to be drafted thus far.
He is a project, albeit gifted athletically but he does not have the wow numbers you might be looking for out of a tight-end. According to draftanalyst.com he was never a big part of the Ole Miss passing game and was rarely asked to block. However, they go onto say that Knox has the ability to split the seem and get downfield.
You may want to grab a snickers bar because it could be a while before Knox is ready to contribute with any regularity in the Bills offensive scheme, but the upside is there.
Overall, Buffalo did a pretty good job between Thursday and Friday. Needs were addressed, depth was added and if you look at what Beane has been able to do these past two seasons at least on paper, the foundation for a formidable Bills team has been poured.