The Bills spent free agency bringing in several players to improve their offense, none more notable than center Mitch Morse. Without as severe a need on that side of the ball, the team now has more leeway to go after defensive help with its first selection, if they so choose. With seven picks in their stash on Day 3, the Bills also have the ammunition to make a move up for the right guy at some point in the first three rounds, or to trade a pick or two for key veterans on the trading block. I have them making one such deal in my seven-round mock.
Below, you can check out which picks the Bills currently have, along with our projection of their top positional needs. I'll then build a war-room big board based upon players I think have some kind of chance of making it to their first pick before sharing multiple draft classes that make sense for the team from myself, Ryan Wilson and Chris Trapasso.
As for the actual draft, you'll be able to stream our live coverage right here on CBS Sports HQ (or download the CBS Sports app for free on any mobile or connected TV device) breaking down all the picks and everything you need to know during draft weekend.
Current draft picks
|4||131||from Kansas City|
|5||158||from Pittsburgh through Oakland|
The CBS Sports NFL writing staff recently compiled positional rankings to identify needs for each team heading into the draft. A helpful guide: any position group that had an average ranking worse than 16.0 (on a scale of 1 to 32) was considered a "need," while any that ranked worse than 23.0 (bottom-third of the league) was considered a "pressing need."
Needs: QB, RB, WR/TE, OL, EDGE, INT DL, LB
Pressing: QB, RB, WR/TE, OL, EDGE, INT DL, LB
So the panel mostly sees the Bills' needs as "a better football team." Josh Allen was drafted last year and doesn't look like he's going anywhere. The Bills signed two receivers and a tight end (Cole Beasley, John Brown, Tyler Kroft) in free agency and made a couple upgrades along the offensive line as well, but they apparently did not move the needle much for us. The ageless but still aging backfield duo of LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore is nice for next year, but the team definitely needs an infusion of youth at that spot. And with Kyle Williams retiring and most of the team's edge rushers looking more like rotational guys than foundational ones, Sean McDermott's guys could use a boost there as well.
War room big board
The Bills are likely looking to add an impact player on their defensive line, and it just so happens they're in a great spot at No. 9. In fact, if they want to trade back a few picks, maybe with a team looking to get ahead of Denver for a quarterback, there should still be defensive-line talent available in the teens, with help at right tackle or guard as a fall-back option. Here's how I'd project the Bills' draft board for their first pick, considering only players I feel have some chance of making it in range:
- DT Ed Oliver, Houston
- OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida
- EDGE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
- EDGE Rashan Gary, Michigan
- EDGE Brian Burns, Florida State
- TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
- OL Jonah Williams, Alabama
- OL Cody Ford, Oklahoma
Seven-round mock drafts
|1||9||DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State|| |
|2||40||WR Kelvin Harmon, NC State|| |
|3||74||RB Devin Singletary, FAU|| |
|4||112||OT Max Scharping, Northern Illinois|| |
|4||131||DE Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan||from KC|
|5||147||to Tampa Bay|| |
|5||158||CB Michael Jackson, Miami||from PIT|
|6||181||TE Isaac Nauta, Georgia|| |
|7||225||SS Andrew Wingard, Wyoming|| |
|7||228||G Bunchy Stallings, Kentucky||from CAR|
| || ||DT Gerald McCoy (from Tampa Bay)|| |
Last year my seven-round mock had the Bills trading up for Baker Mayfield then landing O-line help with Isaiah Wynn and grabbing D.J. Moore and Darius Leonard in the second round. Oh, what might have been. This year's crop doesn't look nearly as impressive, but that's what happens when you only have three picks in the first three rounds. Still, Sweat is an absolute athletic freak as an edge rusher who is still developing but will immediately improve the pass rush.
With no standout receivers in this class but plenty of quality options in the top 50 overall, the Bills are well-positioned to land the final piece of their passing-game rebuild in Round 2, and neither John Brown nor Cole Beasley bring the size and big-target ability of Harmon, who should quickly become Josh Allen's favorite target. Singletary outplays his short stature and brings a shot of youth into a veteran backfield as someone who can emerge as the primary ball-carrier down the road.
Part of the haul of this class is the Bills swapping a fifth-round pick to the Bucs for Gerald McCoy, who doesn't appear to be as good a fit with Tampa Bay's scheme change and brings a price tag the Bills can easily fit with their remaining cap space. As for the picks, Scharping can compete for the right tackle spot and has more upside than anyone the team has signed in free agency, while Crosby has the upside of a bookend starter with Sweat if he can develop. Jackson should be a good fit for the Bills defense, while Nauta was once thought a Day 2 pick before an awful combine, but he should at least provide competition for Jake Fisher as a blocking tight end. Wingard and Stallings are nice fliers for the seventh round, with Wingard able to contribute on special teams out the gate.
More seven-round mocks:
(*) indicates pick acquired via trade
Check out more first-round mocks from CBS Sports.