Buffalo Bills: 2017 NFL Draft Preview

Gareon Conely

The Bills are enduring the longest current playoff drought (last appearance in 1999) from any of the four major sports leagues and now it’s up to new Head Coach Sean McDermott to get them back. Expect McDermott to do what he can during his first draft class to add as many difference-makers to his new defense that he can find.

Key additions

  • FB Patrick DiMarco
  • FB Tom Tolbert
  • FS Jordan Poyer
  • PK Steven Hauschka
  • SS Micah Hyde
  • WR Corey Brown
  • WR Andre Holmes

Key subtractions

  • CB Stephon Gilmore
  • CB Nickell Robey-Coleman
  • CB Corey White
  • DL Leger Douzable
  • FB Jerome Felton
  • FS Corey Graham
  • ILB Zach Brown
  • PK Dan Carpenter
  • QB E.J. Manuel
  • RB Mike Gillislee
  • SS Aaron Williams
  • WR Marquise Goodwin
  • WR Robert Woods

Priority needs (Offense)

OT…The Bills have been searching for a right tackle starter opposite left tackle Cordy Glenn since Glenn was drafted in 2012. They need to keep trying.

QB…No one knows how the new staff will take to either incumbent starter Tyrod Taylor or second-year player Cardale Jones. Since neither is a sure thing at this point the Bills should use an early pick to add more talent to the most important position on any team. Don’t forget that Buffalo’s adopted son Jim Kelly has a nephew (Chad Kelly) who’s expected to be available as late as Saturday.

WR…Because he’s missed 11 games the past two seasons due to foot and hip injuries, Sammy Watkins hasn’t been able to get on the field enough to impact the Bills offense. Watkins can become a free agent after the season so anything is possible. Everyone knows the Bills will draft a receiver. We just don’t know when.

Priority needs (Defense)

DE…With last year’s first-round pick Shaq Lawson missing most of his rookie season due to a shoulder injury and then having knee surgery in January, his pro abilities remain a mystery as does his ability to stay healthy. With the Bills also returning to the 4-3 look they played under former coach Jim Schwartz, you have another good reason why they need to add more talent on the perimeter.

LB…With Reggie Ragland returning from an ACL injury that forced him to miss his rookie season and the loss of Zach Brown to free agency the Bills have to add an early pick here.

DB…Maybe no position in the league has gone through more of a severe transition in personnel than in the secondary with Buffalo. Seven players are no longer on the roster including three key contributors and top corner, Stephon Gilmore. There is great hope that last year’s 6th-round pick CB Kevon Seymour can develop into a full-time starter opposite Ronald Darby, but he won’t be enough.

Final analysis

No one knows who’s truly running the draft between long-time G.M. Doug Whaley and McDermott. But the chances are that McDermott is calling the shots and if that’s the case a defender is the likely choice at No. 10.

Top first-round options

  • CB Gareon Conley
  • CB Marlon Humphrey
  • CB Tre’Davious White
  • DE Derrick Barnett
  • LB Haason Reddick
  • LB Reuben Foster
  • WR Corey Davis
  • WR John Ross
  • WR Mike Williams
This entry was posted in 2017 NFL Draft, Buffalo Bills. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.