This is a news piece, but I’m going to start with a moment of opinion. From a long-term needs standpoint, the Buffalo Bills dominated the third day of the 2021 NFL draft. Now, the players…
Round 5, Pick 161 – Tommy Doyle, OT, Miami (OH)
Tommy Doyle received the honor of being announced by owner Kim Pegula during ESPN’s broadcast on Saturday. A moment he’ll never forget. It’s becoming clear that someone in that draft room has a type, and that type is BIG and VERSATILE.
The OT from Miami (OH) has experience on both sides of the line and towers over people at 6’8″, 320 lbs. I’m not going to pretend that I know what his skills are as an offensive lineman, but if you watch his tape he makes grown defensive lineman in the MAC look like children. He plays with a certain level of grittiness that is only comparable to the streets of Cheektowaga. His pad level seems to run a little high and he can learn to hold a block longer in pass sets, but a lot of the weaknesses seem to be coachable.
No pressure for Tommy to produce in 2021. We’ll know if this pick was a success in a year or two when the veterans on the offensive line either retire or get released. It’s becoming clear that Beane likes to draft the traditionally more expensive positions (OT, DE, CB), and look for some bargains in free agency for the other positions.
Round 6, Pick 203 – Marquez Stevenson, WR, Houston
Regardless of round, it’s just so fun when your team drafts a skill position player. Depending on your definition of a “skill position,” the first four picks of the 2021 NFL draft for the Buffalo Bills were much-needed DUDES that hopefully dominate the trenches in the short and long term. You certainly won’t find 6th rounder Marquez Stevenson in the trenches.
The Houston WR is actually the former roommate of DT Ed Oliver. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Beane and McDermott knew this before drafting Marquez. Also, Marquez is a product of Shreveport, LA. Home to All-Pro corner, Tre White. You’re born with a chip on your shoulder in Shreveport.
Beyond the upbringing and natural culture fit, Marquez brings some much-needed speed and kick return experience to the Bills roster. It will be interesting to see how the Week 1 roster shakes out, and Stevenson will be one of the more intriguing storylines throughout camp. I, for one, would like to see someone other than Micah Hyde returning punts now that Andre Roberts is gone. Marquez could earn a roster spot by relieving Micah of those duties and potentially rotating with Isaiah McKenzie as the sweep option that has become a staple in Brian Daboll’s offense. One thing to watch out for is Stevenson’s injury history, as he missed significant time during his college career. We can only hope for the best during his NFL career! I think if he can stay healthy, Marquez has a spot on this team in 2021.
Round 6, Pick 212 – Damar Hamlin, S, Pittsburgh
You really can’t go wrong with a Pittsburgh Panther. They are always going to compete for a roster spot, no matter what round they get drafted.
The experienced sixth-round Safety is certainly hoping to be a depth and special teams player in 2021. This Buffalo Bills front office has not drafted a pure Safety since they came to town. Plenty of corners, but no Safety! 2019 pick, Jaquan Johnson, was technically listed as a CB coming out of college, but played a little safety at Miami and is now really the best option behind the most underrated Safety duo in football: Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. The Hamlin pick is the first real sign that the front office is starting to consider life after Hyde, who is entering his ninth season in the NFL. Maybe Hamlin will be that guy, ball-hawking with his former teammate Dane Jackson.
Hamlin will need to work on his positioning so that he can stay in front of the ball. When he gets his back turned, he tends to lose the ball in the air and has some trouble with vertical speed. You can also see the tongue hanging out of his mouth as he’s flying downhill to make a tackle. He will need to be careful not to get fooled in play-action. All that said, he’s got good size and length, and definitely has some potential in man-to-man coverage.
One interesting thing to note about Damar. According to triblive.com, Hamlin will be one of the first athletes to get involved with individual trading cards, better known as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). A total of 10 will be launched at 9 p.m. on Wednesday and can be purchased for $25 each. The idea is that these trading cards will increase in value as Damar’s legacy grows; a new-aged way of “betting on yourself”. The Bills have a ton of guys who bet of themselves. I like guys who bet on themselves.
Round 6, Pick 213 – Rachad Wildgoose, CB, Wisconsin
Of course this doesn’t matter, but I think the Bills did a fantastic job drafting classic football names. Names that belong on the back of an NFL jersey. Hamlin, Stevenson, Doyle, Basham Jr., and of course, WILDGOOSE. You better believe I’m rooting for Rachad Wildgoose to make an impact down the road, maybe at CB2 or Nickel Corner, so that Wildgoose is a jersey flying off the shelves in 2023 or 2024.
Rachad is super physical at the line of scrimmage but can lose his man if he doesn’t get his hands on the receiver. His coverage style will definitely rely on the pass rush to get home, which, hopefully, will happen more often now that we’ve invested in some edge rushers.
Bills fans were anxious to see where Beane would pick a corner to compete with Dane Jackson and Levi Wallace. I think the fact it didn’t happen until round six says the most about Dane Jackson and the coaching staff’s confidence in that man. Have to imagine Beane will look to free agency to bring in a veteran CB to compete. They seem to like that roster approach. We’ll see if Rachad can compete for a spot on this team. If he can, you better believe #TheGooseIsLoose will trend on Sundays.
Round 7, Pick 236 – Jack Anderson, OG, Texas Tech
The 6’5”, 315 lb. lineman had 38 starts for the Red Raiders in his career, all at Right Guard. The Bills have a lot of depth at Guard, so it’ll be tough for Jack to make this team. Maybe they will try him at Center so they have someone besides the valuable Jon Feliciano comfortable with Josh’s hands in his crotch.
Not much else on Jack. Another large human drafted to protect Josh. The current roster now has 19 players north of 300 pounds. The more the merrier! Our QB likes to extend plays.