After using five of their eight NFL Draft picks, including their first four, on linemen this year, the Buffalo Bills have a good chance of emerging from this summer batting 1.000 with those selections.
As we near the end of training camp and head toward the final preseason game, it is clear that their first four picks will stick as building blocks of the championship culture being creating by coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane.
Beane is looking especially brilliant these days by resisting his natural urge to be aggressive and trade up in the first round. He stayed put and plucked defensive end Gregory Rousseau at No. 30 overall, then added to the pass-rush depth by drafting another defensive end, Wake Forest's Carlos "Boogie" Basham, with their second-round pick.
Beane then used his next two picks to address their offensive line depth, taking Northern Iowa's Spencer Brown in the third round and Miami of Ohio's Tommy Doyle in the fifth.
The way Rousseau and Basham have performed in camp and the first two preseason games, they not only are locks to make the team but could crack the four-man rotation McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier have planned for game days.
Meanwhile, Brown has established himself as the top swing-tackle option behind starters Dion Dawkins and Daryl Williams, with Doyle not too far behind in the chase.
In the seventh round, the Bills took Texas Tech offensive lineman Jack Anderson, who is battling for a reserve guard spot and is far from a lock, though there's a good chance he could wind up on the practice squad.
That's not a bad haul for the Bills, whose three other picks (WR Marquez Stevenson, S Damar Hamlin and CB Rachad Wildgoose in the sixth round) also have at least decent chances of making the first 53, with those who don't getting practice-squad spots.
NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter gave Brown an "A" grading for his performance in a 41-15 romp over the Chicago Bears on Saturday.
"The Bills appear to have found a replacement for swing offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe — and a future starter — in Brown, a third-round pick. He started at right tackle against the Bears on Saturday afternoon, facing stud defenders Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks. Mack and others ran into a brick wall when trying to get around or through Brown's huge frame; the Pro Bowler ate dirt on one attempt to dip under Brown's shoulder. The former Northern Iowa Panther was beaten once off the edge but redirected the rusher's hip adeptly to keep Buffalo QB Mitch Trubisky on a hot streak. Brown's mobility helped him effectively block in front of a screen in the mid-first quarter, as well as hit Mack in the open field on a throw to Devin Singletary out of the backfield, preventing a loss. Brown moved to left tackle to spell Dion Dawkins the second quarter, protecting strongly and overpowering reserve defenders in the run game. It was quite a performance."
Although there's no way to accurately evaluate the quality of any draft until at least two full seasons have elapsed, the Bills likely couldn't be happier now with their decisions in the spring.