How will the Bills use their picks in the 2018 NFL draft? We’re breaking down every selection below.
Last season, the Buffalo Bills broke a 17–year playoff drought that dated back to 1999, and look to build on that momentum in 2018.
Tyrod Taylor is in Cleveland and the team brought in A.J. McCarron, but another quarterback on the roster acquired through the draft wouldn't be a bad thing.
Whoever is calling the signals, they are going to need to stay upright, especially with Eric Wood, Cordy Glenn and Richie Incognito gone from the roster. A reliable receiver also could be an area of need for an offense that ranked next to last in passing offense.
There is a glaring weakness at linebacker and LeSean McCoy will be 30 at the beginning of the season, an age where most running backs start to decline.
The Bills made the first major trade of draft day, shipping the No. 12 selection and their two second-round picks to Tampa Bay to move up to No. 7.
They were back into the trade scene shortly after, giving Baltimore a third-round pick to move up six spots to No. 16. Buffalo got a fifth-round pick back in the deal, as well.
How will they use their picks in the NFL draft? We’re listing every selection below.
Here's the full list of picks the Bills hold in the 2018 draft, which will be updated as each selection is made.
Round 1, Pick 7 (No. 7 overall) [via Tampa Bay]
Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
Andy Benoit's grade: C+
The Bills traded up with the Buccaneers and then rolled the dice. UCLA’s Josh Rosen is the most pro-ready QB in this draft, by far. Allen, however, has the upside. His arm strength might be the best ever (certainly enough to cut through the notorious Buffalo wind), and his mobility is outstanding. That’s the part that gets overlooked. Wyoming called designed runs for Allen, much like Sean McDermott’s former Panthers team did for Cam Newton. Having a QB in your ground game skews the geometry and box count numbers for the defense, and it can be a tremendous offensive advantage. And notably, Allen is a better on-the-move thrower than Newton. Though like Newton, overall, he’s not a consistent ball placer. The Bills hope that can improve, but privately, they’ve almost certainly decided they can live with some bouts of inaccuracy. It’s an intriguing pick, but still a gamble, especially when factoring in the extra picks they gave up.
Scouting Report: Think of Allen as a younger, extreme version of Cam Newton with both the good and the bad—a pure power thrower who can attempt passes others can’t (and often from absurd platforms), but accuracy that’s streaky on good days and unacceptable on bad days. (Allen also has value on designed runs, though probably not to the same extent Newton does.) Accuracy problems are difficult to fix but not impossible to refine; his next position coach can start with often atrocious footwork, and comfort with a more talented group of pass-catchers should lead to more confidence. He’s every bit the boom-or-bust prospect everyone thinks he is, and the rare arm talent gives him the highest ceiling in this draft class.
Round 1, Pick 16 (No. 16 overall) [via Baltimore]
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Andy Benoit's grade: B+
Sean McDermott’s scheme emphasizes stack linebackers, and the Bills didn’t have any—second-year pros Tanner Vallejo and Matt Milano were the projected starters prior to draft night—but whether Edmunds can become a starter right away remains to be seen. He turns 20 next week and his game is unrefined. McDermott’s linebackers must be able to align in the A-gap, up on the line of scrimmage, and drop from there into coverage. That takes not just athleticism, but acute spatial awareness. Edmunds will have some growing pains, but he’s gifted and will be working with coaches who have groomed talent before.
Scouting Report: Edmunds is still something of a work in progress, but with a rare combination of size and athleticism he can be molded into just about anything a coaching staff wants him to be. He has the range to go sideline-to-sideline as a traditional middle linebacker, and the length and fluid athleticism to match up with tight ends in coverage. And despite it not always being in his job description, he’s an explosive edge rusher with star potential if asked to play the edge on a regular basis.
Round 3, Pick 32 (No. 96 overall): Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford
Andy Benoit's grade: B+
The estimable Kyle Williams is probably playing his last season, and the Bills likely hope Phillips can be the run defender to replace him. To replace Williams’s pass rushing, however, they may have to look elsewhere.
Round 4, Pick 21 (No, 121 overall): Taron Johnson, CB, Weber State
Round 5, Pick 17 (No. 154 overall) [via Baltimore]: Siran Neal, CB, Jacksonville State
Round 5, Pick 29 (No. 166 overall): Wyatt Teller, G, Virginia Tech
Round 6, Pick 13 (No. 187 overall): Ray-Ray McCloud, WR, Clemson
Round 7, Pick 37 (No. 255 overall): Austin Proehl, WR, North Carolina