Kevin’s Final 2023 Bills Mock Draft
Finally, it is here. It’s officially Draft Day. After all of the buildup over the last few months, we will finally get the answers to some of the questions we’ve been asking all offseason about the Buffalo Bills and the rest of the NFL teams. 259 players will have their dreams come true by hearing their names called this weekend, 31 of those coming tonight.
Buffalo currently holds the 27th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. There have been rumors that the Bills will trade up to select a top talent in the draft. There has been speculation that they will trade back into the second round so that their pick matches the value on their board. And of course, there’s been a ton of smoke about WR DeAndre Hopkins, with the latest rumor that he will be a Bill by the end of tonight.
There’s no way of knowing what is actually going to happen, but that’s what makes this fun. It’s enjoyable to read scouting reports, watch tape, create your own mock drafts, etc., and see how close you can get to what the actual teams do. Last year, I correctly mocked RB James Cook, LB Terrel Bernard, and P Matt Araiza to the Bills. Let’s see how many I can get this year.
|BUF Receives:||SEA Receives:|
|2nd (37), 4th, (123), 5th (154)||1st (27)|
Round 2, Pick 37: LB Jack Campbell, Iowa
Seeking the right player for the right value, the Buffalo Bills leave their fans hanging tonight by trading BACK into the second round on Friday. And with the 37th overall pick in the draft, I have them selecting LB Jack Campbell.
Campbell is the most polished MLB in this class and could immediately fill the hole that Tremaine Edmunds left. Campbell won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker in 2022, finishing with 125 tackles in 13 games played. Sean McDermott likes having a big MIKE linebacker in the middle of his defense. That’s exactly what he gets with the 6’5”, 249-pound rookie who also plays special teams and has great leadership qualities. And if that wasn’t enough, Campbell has been training with Luke Kuechly, McDermott’s former MLB in Carolina, this offseason.
Round 2, Pick 59: DT Siaki Ika, Baylor
The Bills get a space eater in Siaki Ika with their second second-round pick. Ika is one of the best run-stuffing defensive tackles in a class that’s front-loaded at the position. He is described as someone who has raw strength and uncommon athleticism for his size (6’4”, 337 pounds). Ika can take on double teams, allowing his linebackers to have clean lanes to track down the ball carrier. So basically, the Bills find their younger and cheaper version of DT Star Lotulelei and LB Tremaine Edmunds with their first two picks. And, as Brandon Beane acknowledged at his press conference last week, the Bills don’t have any DTs under contract past this season. They fix that by getting someone in the pipeline who can help this season as well.
|BUF Receives:||BAL Receives:|
|3rd (86)||3rd (91), 5th (154)|
Round 3, Pick 86: WR Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss
For the second year in a row, the Buffalo Bills trade up with the Baltimore Ravens in order to get their guy. This year, they use the extra fifth-round pick that they just acquired from Seattle to draft WR Jonathan Mingo before the Ravens, Vikings, Jaguars, Giants, or Cowboys potentially do.
Mingo is one of the most underrated receivers in this draft, as he has been progressively climbing the boards as of late. He does his best work in space, as he has great run after the catch abilities given his strength and dense frame. The 6’2”, 225-pound senior isn’t the most polished receiver but offers a ton of upside, so Buffalo adds a playmaker without feeling pressured to replace Gabe Davis right away.
Round 4, Pick 123: OL Nick Saldiveri, Old Dominion
With the extra fourth-round pick that I picked up from Seattle, I have the Bills taking OL Nick Saldiveri. The Old Dominion product started three years at RT, but has the size, length and athleticism to kick inside if he has to. Saldiveri started 11 games last year (10 at RT, one at RG) and did not allow a sack. I think this is a happy medium for the Bills at the position. This selection gives Spencer Brown more competition while also giving the team more depth and flexibility on their offensive line.
Round 4, Pick 130: TE Luke Schoonmaker, Michigan
The Buffalo Bills have acted like they’ve wanted to run two-tight end sets for years now but have never actually done it. (Tyler Kroft, Jacob Hollister, O.J. Howard, Quintin Morris, Tommy Sweeney, just to name a few.) I think they finally find their true TE2 in Luke Schoonmaker in the fourth round. Schoonmaker is described as a “willing and effective blocker in the run game,” according to The Draft Network. In four years at Michigan, he only had 637 yards and 7 TDs on 54 receptions. Schoonmaker could potentially be the perfect compliment to Dawson Knox, as the two have opposite skillsets.
Round 5, Pick 137: IOL Jarrett Patterson, Notre Dame
Moving on to Round 5, the Bills draft an IOL with the pick they acquired last year from Arizona for OL Cody Ford. Similar to Saldiveri, Jarett Patterson has the flexibility to switch positions if need be. Patterson was a three-year starter at center for Notre Dame before moving to left guard this past season. He is best in the run game, but his overall technique, intelligence, and awareness, along with his versatility make him such an intriguing prospect. The Bills could use him as a backup guard or center for now and then possibly have him take over for Mitch Morse as the team’s starting center in the future.
Round 6, Pick 205: Thomas Incoom, Central Michigan
With the final pick for the Buffalo Bills in the 2023 NFL Draft, I have them taking DE Thomas Incoom. After playing two years of Division II football at Valdosta State, Incoom went to Central Michigan for two years, where he recorded 85 tackles, 27.5 TFLs, and 15.5 sacks. He finished second in the MAC in sacks with 11.5 in 2022. (Jose Ramirez of Eastern Michigan led the way with 12; he could be another interesting option for the Bills here.) Incoom has a ton of potential at the NFL level, given how underrated he’s always been. With six DEs currently under contract, Incoom won’t be rushed into carving out a [large] role in Buffalo. Rather, he can be a rotational piece this year and then potentially replace A.J. Epenesa or Shaq Lawson next year, learning from Von Miller along the way.
And with that, make sure you tune in to Buffalo Fanatics all weekend long, as we will be coming at you live this Draft Weekend, from Round 1 tonight all the way through the Writer’s Club Sunday night! We will have a ton to break down and discuss.
Featured Image: Tom Pennington/Getty Images