When should the Buffalo Bills Draft an Interior Offensive Lineman?
After the Buffalo Bills recently signed Forrest Lamp to a one-year deal, it’s time to rethink exactly how the team will spend their draft capital. Coming into the offseason, it was uncertain whether or not the Bills would be able to bring back certain free agents. Initially, I felt that grabbing a top-tier interior offensive lineman was a top priority in order to improve the running game. However, after re-signing Jon Feliciano, tendering Ike Boettger, and signing Lamp, it might be smarter to use higher-end draft capital on another position group.
With all that being said, Brandon Beane has done an excellent job this offseason. Everything he’s done so far this offseason has put him in a better position of flexibility in the draft. There are no holes on this roster, only areas for upgrades and improvements.
This dynamic creates an environment in which Brandon Beane will have several options come April 29th. If a player he likes slips to 30, he can go ahead and run the player card up to the podium. If he doesn’t like the value for the players available, he can try to work a trade back. The possibilities are endless, and we should all be very excited for the good problems the Buffalo Bills have this offseason.
One of those good problems is having an average offensive line. They were above average in pass blocking last year, but just average as a group in run blocking. This left something more to be desired by the coaching staff and fans. After multiple investments into the offensive line this offseason, it wouldn’t be a wise allocation of resources to then double down and take an interior offensive lineman early in this year’s draft.
However, there is one scenario in which the Bills could take an interior offensive lineman early, and it wouldn’t be a mistake. This scenario would be if the Buffalo Bills are overly concerned about the longevity of Mitch Morse’s career. Being one severe blow to the head away from a career-ending injury is very worrisome. That is why it should not be ruled out that the Buffalo Bills draft either Landon Dickerson or Creed Humphrey with either of their top two picks in the draft. Both could be insurance plans for Morse if he does get injured (*knocks on wood) but also have the ability to compete with Ford, Feliciano, and Lamp for the two starting guard spots.
Last night on The Air Raid Hour, we ran through our rankings of the interior offensive line class round by round. We had great discussions about where we differ on specific prospects, how these prospects fit the Buffalo Bills scheme, and much more. To answer the question posed in the title, I believe the Buffalo Bills should address this position group anywhere within rounds three to five.
It would be nice to get a top-notch interior offensive lineman, but it wouldn’t make sense in terms of asset allocation. It would be a waste of draft capital to spend a first-round pick on a guy that doesn’t have a clear path to substantial playing time. My personal preference would be to target a guy late on day two or early on day three. This way the Bills don’t lose value by using a first-round pick to draft a guy early that rides the bench for a year.
Check out yesterday’s showing of The Air Raid Hour linked and embedded above to get my full thoughts on this question. Plus, there is a beautifully executed mock draft by co-host @tiltmoney, and myself, @MirskyKendall. Go Bills!