When the NFL Draft begins selections in Arlington, Tex., April 26, the Buffalo Bills have the No. 12 pick in the first round.
Here is an in-depth look at the team’s needs, offseason changes, potential best fit and the selections by NFLDraftScout.com’s experts.
Who would you pick and why?
TOP 5 NEEDS
- Quarterback: Signing AJ McCarron was a smart move, but the Bills have to make every play possible to acquire their potential franchise quarterback in this draft. Thanks to the trade of left tackle Cordy Glenn to Cincinnati, the Bills now have the 12th and 22nd picks in the first round, plus two picks in each of the second and third rounds, so they have more than enough capital to perhaps get as high as the Giants’ spot at No. 2, assuming the Giants are willing to deal.
- Linebacker: The Bills did not re-sign Preston Brown, the quarterback of their defense the past four seasons. He ended up in Cincinnati on a one-year, $4 million contract, an indication that Brown really wasn’t a commodity the Bills were interested in. Matt Milano is the lone returning linebacker who figures to be a full-time starter, especially with Lorenzo Alexander turning 35-years-old, so the Bills have major work to do as they need a middle linebacker and an outside linebacker.
- Wide receiver: Signing Kaelin Clay, who was briefly with Buffalo last season, gives the Bills some much-needed speed, but he has contributed very little on offense to both the Panthers and Bills and is more of a return specialist. Zay Jones and Kelvin Benjamin need help, and a deep threat is the greatest need.
- Cornerback: Vontae Davis is a nice plug-in to replace E.J. Gaines, but he’s on the downside of his career and the Bills need someone to come in and eventually pair with 2017 first-round pick Tre’Davious White. Also, the Bills haven’t yet re-signed nickel corner Leonard Johnson, and if they don’t, that’s still a hole that needs filling.
- Edge rusher: Trent Murphy and holdover Jerry Hughes should be a solid tandem, but there’s no depth behind them, especially now that Ryan Davis has been released and Eddie Yarbrough is still a young player who needs to grow.
–BEST FIT: Whichever quarterback they can get their hands on, and most likely, that means trading up in the first round to do so. The Bills haven’t tipped their hand as to whom they like best out of Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield, or perhaps even Lamar Jackson if they have no intention of trading up and think he’ll be available at No 12. Whichever one they covet, they have to do all they can to get him. New offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is versatile enough to work with any style, so the Bills have to come to a consensus on one, and get it done. There have been whispers that their dream scenario is trading up to No. 2 and taking Allen.
–Rob Rang: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA. The Bills might have to make a deal to move up to land one of the top four quarterbacks in reality but with no trades allowed in this projection, they get lucky that one of them – arguably the best of them – falls into their lap. Rosen, who proved bigger and more athletic at the Combine than expected, is the most polished passer in this draft, boasting the quick release, velocity and accuracy that could one day earn him trips to the Pro Bowl. His stock is thought to be slipping, however, as some have concerns about his intangibles and struggles with durability at UCLA, where he missed action in two of his three years as a starter.
–Mike McGlinchey, T, Notre Dame. The Bills gained draft capital by trading away Cordy Glenn but do not currently appear to have the players on the roster to handle losing its best blocker. Capable of helping at either left or right tackle, McGlinchey could be a plug-and-play replacement.
–Dane Brugler: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville. With the draft assets to make a move up the draft board for a quarterback, the Bills are the team to watch, but if a trade partner cannot be found, Jackson (and the rest of the draft picks) isn’t a bad fallback plan.
–Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia. With Cordy Glenn, Richie Incognito and Eric Wood gone, the Bills’ offensive line looks dramatically different from last season and more help is needed. Wynn played left tackle at Georgia, but projects best inside as a guard.
FANS ON THE CLOCK, ON THE RECORD
OK, it’s your turn. Tell us in the comments section who you would pick and why. Check out top 1,000 players rated by NFLDraftScout.com, including combine and pro day workouts, biographies, scouting reports.