Bills Countdown To The Combine

Shannon Shepherd

It's officially time for the Bills to turn their attention to next season and adding players to their roster to aid them in a return to the playoffs.

With many pieces of Buffalo's future set in place as they compete for an AFC East title, the newest faces of the NFL will look to impress general manager Brandon Beane at this year's NFL Scouting Combine.

Bills On The Clock:

When the NFL Draft does roll around on April 23rd the Bills will have the 22nd overall pick.

They also have one pick in the second, third and fourth rounds. The Bills have nine picks total.

Biggest Needs For Buffalo:

Wide Receiver

The Bills finished 10-7 last season, and maintained the best record for the AFC Wild Card for much of the fall and winter. Their biggest hurdle in losses - was scoring points.

In Buffalo's 7 losses, they scored a combined 98 points for an average of 14 per game. In those losses a total of just six touchdowns came through the air.

Josh Allen finished the season 23rd in passing yards with just over 3,000 and threw 20 touchdowns.

These all point to the Bills biggest need for improvement next season - a reliable wide receiver. 

That is good news for Buffalo as this year's draft class is expected to be chock full of play makers at the position.

Mock drafts have the Bills taking a handful of different pass catchers - including Sports Illustrated's latest mock with Buffalo selecting Tee Higgins from Clemson.

The Bills signed a pair of smaller receivers—John Brown and Cole Beasley—last offseason and the duo was highly productive in their first season in Buffalo, as they combined for 139 catches for 1,838 yards and 12 touchdowns. Complementing Brown and Beasley well, Higgins has strong hands and a large catch radius, and wins as a vertical receiver.

Edge Rusher

If the Bills choose to hold off and see what receivers are available in the second round, they may opt to build up depth at defensive end.

One of the biggest question marks of the offseason is if Shaq Lawson, who is an unrestricted free agent, will remain with Buffalo.

If Lawson walks, the Bills are left with veteran Jerry Hughes and an inconstant Trent Murphy.

With the 22nd overall pick, Buffalo could have a chance at one of the top five edge rushers - including Iowa's A.J. Epenesa who has been touted as a rookie starter in the NFL.

Cornerback

Tre'Davious White finished the season as one of the best cornerbacks in the league, finishing tied for first with six interceptions and a Pro Bowl nomination.

Now that White is known for how dangerous he can be, quarterbacks will look to avoid the former first round pick by the Bills.

Complementing White on the other side this past season were Levi Wallace who pulled down two interceptions and Kevin Johnson who had none. The two split time at the position.

Some of the early cornerbacks expected to be available when the Bills are up to draft include Florida's CJ Henderson, TCU's Jeff Gladney and LSU's Kristian Fulton.

Running Back?

The Bills could go many different directions in this year's draft - so they will have their eyes on virtually every position at the combine.

Some mock drafts have them even taking a running back in the first round - to add depth behind Devin Singletary and the Buffalo run game should Frank Gore choose to go elsewhere or retire. 

ESPN's Todd McShay projected that the Bills could take D'Andre Swift from Georgia with the 22nd overall pick.

Even with John Brown and Cole Beasley combining for 1,838 receiving yards in 2019, Buffalo could use an upgrade in the receiving corps (Clemson's Tee Higgins could be an interesting fit). And with Jordan Phillips and Shaq Lawson both headed for free agency, no returning lineman had more than five sacks last season. But I just love Swift's explosiveness, and adding a dynamic playmaker like him to a backfield that already includes Devin Singletary could really make this run-oriented offense pop in 2020. Plus, you can't discount Swift's pass-catching ability -- he could be a great three-down back.

Offensive Line

Another way the Bills will look to improve on offense will be on the offensive line. 

A mock draft by Chad Reuter on NFL.com has Buffalo selecting Cesar Ruiz from Michigan with their first pick.

The Bills' guard play was less than stellar in 2019. Ruiz started at guard early in his career at Michigan, but moved to center with Ben Bredson and Michael Onwenu manning either side of him.

Combine Info:

The combine workouts begin on Thursday, February 27th with the tight ends, quarterbacks and wide receivers. Defensive players, lineman and special teams athletes will fill up a busy weekend schedule that runs through Sunday afternoon. The combine will be televised on NFL Network.

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