Each Bills Pick Analyzed: High cost for a QB and LB

--- NFLDraftScout.com ---

There was never a doubt what general manager Brandon Beane intended in the first round of the draft. The surprise was that he was able to trade up and pick who he believes will be the Buffalo Bills' franchise quarterback without having to forfeit the second of his two first-round spots.

Buffalo was armed with picks Nos. 12 and 22, plus two picks each in rounds two and three, so Beane had plenty of ammunition to execute any trade up necessary to get his man, who turned out to be Wyoming's Josh Allen.

The Giants at 2, the Browns at 4, the Broncos at 5 and the Colts at 6 were not willing to move down, but with those four teams all selecting non-quarterbacks, Allen remained in play, and finally, Beane got Tampa Bay to bite at No. 7.

At that point, Beane was able to make the deal utilizing the No. 12 pick, and both second-rounders, to get the Bucs to drop five spots. Buffalo also picked up a late seventh-rounder. It actually was a bit of an overpayment on the Jimmy Johnson draft chart, but he felt it was worth it because he kept No. 22. Beane then used it to make another move up to No. 16 to take Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. That cost him the No. 65 pick, which was the first in the third round, while it brought back a fifth-round choice at 154.

When the frenzy was complete, Beane landed the quarterback he coveted, and a linebacker who should be a starter the moment he hits the practice field.

"We called around, but we were trying to be diligent and find what we thought was the best landing spot for us," said Beane, explaining the deal to get Allen. "Patience paid off to save the 22nd pick. That was part of it, we were willing to part with it, but we were also excited to keep it and it worked out in our favor to land in the seven spot."

Allen, of course, was the most polarizing of the top four quarterbacks because his college production at Wyoming was uneven and, at times, unimpressive. But when asked about his 56-percent career completion rate, Allen advised fans and media not to stew over the stats.

"Don't look at the stats, trust me," said Allen, who had only two 300-yard passing games. "I say watch some game film. Watch some of the stuff that I can do. Very few other quarterbacks can do some of the stuff that I can do. I take pride in that and definitely have to learn and trust what coaches tell me. I definitely look back at my film and when I did miss, it was large in part due to my feet. Making sure that I'm consistently setting my feet right, throwing on time, short stride, and when I do those things, I've seen a lot of results."

The fact that Buffalo signed AJ McCarron in free agency lessens the immediate need for Allen to come in and take over the offense. The Bills should be able to ease him into the NFL and give him the proper time to make the adjustments he will need to make to become an NFL starter.

In Edmunds, the Bills corralled a player most draft experts deemed the best outside linebacker in the draft class, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound freak of an athlete who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds at the Combine.

"He is a versatile athlete," said head coach Sean McDermott, who could use Edmunds in the middle of his 4-3, or perhaps as the weak-side 'backer. "He's got size, length, he has played inside, he has played outside as well, he has played on the line of scrimmage as well as off the line of scrimmage. Some of that flexibility is what attracted us to him as well."

A closer look at the Bills picks:

Round 1/7 -- Josh Allen, QB, 6-5, 237, Wyoming

The Bills knew they had to come out of the first round with their potential quarterback of the future. They had a choice between Allen and Josh Rosen after they traded up to Tampa Bay's spot at No. 7, and they took the riskier path by choosing Allen despite the fact that he will be somewhat of a project. Allen has a tremendous skill set to coach, but he has flaws pertaining mostly to accuracy. Barring a surprise, Allen seems destined to sit and learn behind AJ McCarron in 2018.

Round 1/16 - Tremaine Edmunds, LB, 6-4, 250, Virginia Tech

The Bills moved from No. 22 to 16 to make sure they could pick Edmunds, considered by many as the best outside linebacker in the draft. Edmunds, however, could become the middle linebacker in head coach Sean McDermott's 4-3 because he's so athletic and versatile. Edmunds should walk into the building and be a starter, somewhere, from Day 1.

Round 3/96 - Harrison Phillips, DT, 6-3, 290, Stanford

Phillips is essentially a younger version of 35-year-old Bills DT Kyle Williams, the man he will share time with on the inside of the Bills' 4-3 defense, and likely replace next year. Phillips is a motor-never-stops guy, exactly the way Williams has built his 13-year career. What makes Phillips so intriguing is that from his interior line spot, he led the Cardinal with 103 tackles as a senior in 2017, and that made him a third-team AP All-America as well as first team All-Pac-12.

Round 4/121 - Taron Johnson, CB, 5-11, 192, Weber State

The Bills have a big need at cornerback, and Johnson projects as a slot corner, the position that Leonard Johnson played so well last season for the Bills. Taron Johnson doesn't have the skill set to succeed on the outside, nor does he have the size to do battle with the best outside receivers. This pick seemed like a bit of a reach as NFLDraftScout.com had him projected as a seventh-round pick.

Round 5/154 - Siran Neal, S, 6-0, 206, Jacksonville State

The Bills made a somewhat curious pick, given other needs, when they took Neal. He was primarily a safety in his senior season, though he did get some time at cornerback. Previously, he had been a linebacker. However, the Bills are putting a value on secondary depth, and Neal brings versatility to the table to back up safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde, and maybe even inside corner in the dime.

Round 5/166 - Wyatt Teller, G, 6-4, 314, Virginia Tech

Teller comes to Buffalo as a mature 23-year-old with 43 career starts. He will compete with Ryan Groy and Vlad Ducasse for a starting spot at guard, though it seems unlikely he will make much of an impact as a rookie. He has uncommon strength and was a weight-room warrior for the Hokies. Last season as a senior, he was a first-team all-ACC selection, though scouts felt his play dipped a bit from 2016.

Round 6/187 - Ray-Ray McCloud, WR, 5-10, 190, Clemson

He had average production as a pass-catching threat, but he may factor into the Bills return game as he was a second-team All-America pick by Pro Football Focus for his punt-return skills. The Bills probably should have addressed this position earlier, because McCloud isn't likely to have much of an impact.

Round 7/255 - Austin Proehl, WR, 5-10, 175, North Carolina

Again, same as McCloud, there is not likely to be much of an impact from this player, if he makes the team at all. His father Ricky played 17 seasons in the NFL, but Austin simply doesn't have the size, and he battled injuries in college. His only chance would be as a slot receiver.

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