Brandon Beane spoke to the media last week for the first time since free agency got underway. If you parse some of his statements together and look at some of his past words, you start to see a pattern emerging from One Bills Drive.
Beane talked about the significance of signing guys who were familiar with Sean McDermott’s system. He added that the Diggs acquisition was huge because it takes veterans less time to comprehend the playbook than a rookie because of all the new verbiage. Beane has added so much depth to this roster, we are practically two-deep at every position. If we had to carry just our current roster into the 2020 season, we would still be playoff contenders.
These statements and actions illustrate Beane and McDermott are doing more than just preparing for an unprecedented off-season. By adding an all-pro threat on offense and loading up the defense with players they know are comfortable within the current scheme, the Bills are loading up the roster while Josh Allen is still on his rookie contract. This may be hard for some Bills fans to comprehend, but we are in a “Super Bowl Window”. The expectations are high at One Bills Drive, and we better get used to it.
What this tells me about the draft is that I would be shocked if the Bills used all seven of their draft picks. Beane has said in the past that he doesn’t want to draft guys he is not sure will make the team. With how loaded our roster is, it will be difficult for late rounders to crack the final roster. So, I expect a lot of trading up come draft day. Nothing extreme, the Bills don’t have the ammo to do that without mortgaging the future. What Beane can do is use the 5th, two 6ths, and 7th round picks we have as ammo to make small moves up the board to jump teams who may covet a player we do.
That is my philosophy behind this mock draft: to look at teams ahead of the Bills and see who could covet a player we might. Then I try to work out a deal with a team ahead of them so Beane can “go get his guy”.
Trade: #54 & #167 to Indianapolis for pick #44
#44 Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin – 5’11”, 215 lbs.
The Bills trade up to #44 to jump the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at pick #45. The Bucaneers will be looking to add a workhorse runner to take the pressure off Tom Brady and the passing game.
Taylor brings to Buffalo an ability to “score from anywhere on the field”. His familiarity with pro blocking schemes from his time at Wisconsin will make his transition to the NFL smoother than other backs. He can compliment Singletary early on in the season and take on a workhorse like role in the later months as the weather deteriorates.
Trade: #86 & #188 to Atlanta for pick #78
#78 Michael Pittman, WR, USC – 6’4″, 220 lbs.
The Bills trade up to #78 to jump the New York Jets at pick #79. The Jets lost WR Robby Anderson and will be looking for weapons for Sam Darnold.
Pittman is a perfect fit for the Buffalo Bills. First off, he spent the beginning part of this off-season training with Josh Allen and Jordan Palmer in California. He can come in right away and contribute as a “big slot”. He is more than just a big body though. Despite not being a burner, his ability to track and come back to the football makes him a threat down the field and in the future possibly on the boundary as well. He will be able to contribute to every special teams unit from Day 1 as well.
#128 Harrison Hand, CB/S, Temple – 6’0″, 192 lbs.
This pick was tough for me. With a now limited number of picks, some decisions have to be made. I decided to put off edge rusher and save the youth injection there for next off-season. Typically if I was utilizing all my picks, I would take a boundary corner and a safety. Since my resources are now limited, I looked for a prospect who could fill two roles. That prospect is Harrison Hand.
Hand has the size and athleticism to play boundary corner. He struggles in man coverage but is a willing tackler and ballhawk. His ability in zone coverage has led many to believe he could at some point transition to safety. So Buffalo now adds a chess piece to their secondary that can be moved all around and contribute on special teams.
Alex Taylor, OT, South Carolina State – 6’9″, 315 lbs.
Taylor has the traits to be an NFL starter but won’t go until later in the draft because he is very raw and comes from a small school. The Bills have a deep offensive line. They can afford to make Taylor the ninth man among them and essentially redshirt him for a year as they have with Ike Boettger and Ryan Bates. Taylor has the upside to start at Right Tackle down the road and possibly contribute as a swing tackle.
Michael Turk, P, Arizona State – 6’1″, 230 lbs.
The Bills add a punter to compete with Bojorquez and Vedvik. He fits the big leg mold the Bills seem to covet.
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