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Brandon Beane’s Tendencies: Summary

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We’re finally here, at the NFL Draft. After reviewing each of Brandon Beane’s draft classes for the Buffalo Bills from 2018-2021, we have all the information we need right in front of us. First, we need to review our lessons. Yes, by going over what we picked up from draft-to-draft, we can divide the true tendencies from the one-year wonders. In order to get a grasp of what’s consistent and what isn’t, we must review the data in it’s entirety. We start at the 2018 NFL Draft, working chronologically.

Observations: The 2018 NFL Draft

Brandon Beane Buffalo Bills Tendencies NFL Draft
Source Unknown

In that 2018 Draft, Brandon Beane was aggressive. He sacrificed draft capital early in the roster building process to get major pieces. If we observe it in a vacuum, we would imagine this conduct isn’t a trend. Obviously, the Buffalo Bills needed franchise cornerstones; guys they could build around. Coaches, and plenty of general managers, get one shot in the NFL to succeed. If they fail, they aren’t around long enough for attempt #2. If he’d traded his entire draft stock to obtain a franchise QB, he would still have bought himself enough time to keep building this team.

Beane bet on traits early, willing to assume unrefined talent could be fixed after the draft.

Beane also bet on players who are rough around the edges later in the draft, if they fit a future need (Taron Johnson/Siran Neal). Being able to invest time in a player once they’re drafted is a massive boon, and one he was willing to lean into.

Later in the 2018 Draft, Beane looked to plug holes, hoping for a contributor, which is standard practice.

Observations: 2019

In the 2019 NFL Draft, Brandon Beane sat still at pick #9, but was aggressive when targeting players they felt they really needed. He waited for Ed Oliver (9th) and Devin Singletary (74th), but traded up for Cody Ford (40th) and Dawson Knox (96th). To trade up twice in day two showed real aggression, and a commitment to the guys they wanted.

They targeted players who either excelled in unique areas or showed unteachable athleticism. Beane trusted the coaches to work with guys who needed significant refinement, and drafted them regularly.

Late round contributors. Beane continued to search for guys to fill holes late, taking very few swings on potential future starters in favour of hitting areas of uniformity with differing skillsets.

Observations: 2020

Brandon Beane consistently loads up on picks ahead of the NFL Draft. Conversely, Beane was willing to let go of accumulated assets for veteran talent at crucial positions (ex. Stefon Diggs).

The team bought into good traits and coachable weaknesses again. Physical players with high ceilings and low floors were consistent targets.

When drafting those who were “near their ceiling”, they were always role players. Players who could diversify their side of the ball and allow us to run different personnel groupings.

Brandon Beane often used late round picks to find players at premium positions, a potential cost-saving maneuver.

He doubled down in an area of need in the 2020 NFL Draft, targeting players with similar positive traits and physical weaknesses.

When bringing in receivers, the Buffalo Bills seem to prioritize effective hands and adjustments at the catch point. They neglected the ability to get wide open and make plays after the catch. (Consider the boost to the completion percentages we’ve seen from Josh Allen.)

Observations: 2021

What did we learn from looking at the 2021 NFL Draft? Brandon Beane continues to load up draft capital, never settling pre-draft.

Beane identified a need and doubled down on it again. They doubled down at edge rusher right away, and later selected two strong tackle prospects to support the offensive line.

The move down doesn’t appear to be a trend, as it was the only time in nearly five years that he’s stepped off the podium. Will it continue as we enter the next phase of roster construction?

In the late rounds, the Bills took good prospects who fell due to injury, a bet they’re willing to make when given the opportunity.

Tracking Trends & Tendencies

Brandon Beane Tendencies NFL Draft Buffalo Bills
James P. McCoy

That’s a lot of disjointed information to digest at once. To help us get a grasp on it, we’ve assembled this board. Displayed below are the most notable aspect and traits of each Beane era Buffalo Bills draft class.

Note: This is not dissecting individual prospects, rather the actions he took as a whole.

20182019202020212022?
Extremely Aggressive Early
(3 Trades Up For Day One)
Aggressive (2 Trades
Up On Day Two)
Aggressive (Pre-Draft)Traded Down Late In The Draft ?
Bet on Athleticism Over TechniqueAthleticism Over TechniqueBet on Athleticism Over TechniqueBet on Athleticism Over Technique?
Invested In
Future Needs Late In Draft
N/AInvested In
Future Needs Late
Invested In
Future Needs Late
?
Plug Holes/Diversify Traits
In Position Groups Late
Plug Holes/Diversify Traits
In Position Groups Late
Drafted Role Players LateDrafted Talent That Fell Due To Injury Late?
N/AN/ADoubled Down On Needs (WR)Doubled Down On Needs (OL + DE)?
N/AN/APrioritized Hands Over Separation When Drafting WRsN/A?

There are a few things that stand out right away. Beane is aggressive in pursuing targets, especially early in the draft. His process may be more passive later, but when they set their sights on a player they go and get them.

The front office also consistently invests in players with elite physical traits, attempting to refine them once the draft is over. We’ve seen it time and time again from this organization, and it’s a proven fact by now.

Continuing on that theme, targeting players with physical traits late in the draft is something we’ve seen regularly. Generally, these players are significantly less refined than the early-round counterparts, but they reside in positions of future need instead of immediate impact. Grooming them to take over is likely something they look to do, regardless of their lack of success in doing so.

Things To Note

Beane may have come out aggressive, but there’s been a gradual transition away from those feisty tactics. With a roster in need of very few starters, he may be more passive in his approach and trade down to maximize value.

Beane has doubled (or tripled) down on a position three times over the last two drafts. He’s often targeted players with similar traits and upsides in an apparent effort to guarantee some success in an area of need. If there’s a strong area of need for the Buffalo Bills, and they have room on the roster at the position, we could see more of the same.

For a look at each of Brandon Beane’s NFL draft windows and their breakdown, click below:

2018 NFL Draft2019 NFL Draft
2020 NFL Draft2021 NFL Draft
Summary: Understanding Brandon Beane

One of the owners The Sports Wave, and a Journalist at Buffalo Fanatics, I'm an English immigrant living in Canada. A huge Buffalo Bills fan, I also love my Boston Celtics, Toronto Blue Jays, and Queens Park Rangers.

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