As the 2020 NFL Draft is just one week away, no one seems to know what direction the Bills will go with their first two picks. With only a few small holes on both sides of the ball, it’s anyone’s guess who Buffalo will use their draft picks on. Do they build up the strength of their team, the defense, to make it the best unit in the NFL? Do they add pieces to an offense that struggled a season ago?
This has fans and analysts divided as many different players have been mocked to the Bills, with some demanding a wide receiver be taken first by Buffalo, while others are banging the table for a defensive end. However, we aren’t in charge of making those decisions for the Bills, so all we can do is simply speculate. This week’s Thursday Thought: Offense vs. Defense draft needs, what’s more important?
Running back, wide receiver, offensive line depth, defensive end, cornerback, Buffalo nickel, or even linebacker, these are all positions that the Bills still have a need for entering the draft. Let me clear, the Bills have starters at every one of these positions. However, they could either use youth, depth or improvement. Meaning whatever direction they take with the draft, it will still benefit this team. However, if I had to pinpoint where the Bills will go with their draft, here is what I think Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott would like to use their picks on.
To start, with their first two picks in the draft, I believe they will be used on defensive players. Either a defensive back (cornerback or Buffalo nickel) or on a defensive end. The decision between these two positions will come down to how the board falls and who’s available at the 54th overall pick and the 86th overall pick. Despite how dominate the defensive has been in the past two seasons, the bigger needs are present on the defense, believe it or not.
Youth and pass rush has been missing from the defensive ends for the Bills. Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy have been very good run defenders together the last two seasons. Unfortunately, both players are older and have a combined 20.5 sacks over that time. Although Mario Addison addresses the lack of sacks, Addison is an older player too at 32 years old. Buffalo needs some youth at the position other than Darryl Johnson and Mike Love.
Meanwhile, at defensive back, the two positions that are question marks are cornerback opposite Tre’Davious White and the Buffalo nickel. At cornerback, the Bills have given themselves a lot of options between, Josh Norman, Levi Wallace, and E.J. Gaines. However, each player has big question marks. A Bryce Hall from Virginia or Utah’s Jaylon Johnson would certainly help shore this hole up.
Yet, the Buffalo nickel back has been an interesting development recently. With Siran Neal not developing into the defensive player Leslie Frazier and McDermott hoped for, players like Jeremy Chinn or Kyle Dugger would be intriguing options to add to the defense.
On day three of the draft is where to expect offensive players to be selected by the Bills. Players like running backs Darrynton Evans from Appalachian State or Ke’Shawn Vaughn from Vanderbilt could be good secondary backs behind Devin Singletary. Wide receiver could be addressed at this point with players like Antonio Gandy-Golden from Liberty or UCF’s Gabriel Davis. Towards the end of the draft is where the Bills scoop up offensive line and linebacker depth. Players like linebacker Shaquille Quarterman from Miami and offensive linemen John Simpson from Clemson fill these needs.
Ultimately, I believe the high-end needs are more present on the defensive side of the ball. With some potential starter roles or high use roles still not filled, the defense gets the first two picks. The next two picks go to the offense and give quarterback Josh Allen a few more weapons. The final few picks go to depth and development players who can sit and learn for a few seasons before one day being a full-time starter. What do think? Will the Bills use their early picks on defense, offense, or a bit of both?
Mitch Broder is a contributor for The Buffalo Fanatics. To contact him, email him at email@example.com or on Twitter @mitchell_broder