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Draft Coverage

3 things we learned from Night 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft 


1. Bills pass rushers to face new AFC East rookie tackle talent

The Dolphins and Jets now both have young quarterbacks on their roster in need of protection after Miami took Tua Tagovailoa fifth overall.

Buffalo's division rivals finished 29th (New York) and 32nd (Miami) in sacks allowed last season. So it was no surprise to see both teams take action on Thursday night with the Dolphins using their second first-round pick to take USC OT Austin Jackson 18th overall. Meanwhile the Jets used their first-round pick (11th) on Louisville's Mekhi Becton, who is a mountain of a man at 6-7 and 364 pounds.

Both rookie offensive linemen are expected to step right into the starting lineup for both clubs, which means Buffalo's veteran defensive ends Mario Addison, Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy will be facing some young players who will be learning on the job.

New England traded out of the first round at pick 23 to join the Bills and six other teams without a first-round selection this year.

2. Cornerback run starts early

The general consensus heading into the draft was there would be an early run on offensive tackles and that proved to be the case with five coming off the board in the first 18 picks. But not many thought the offensive tackle class that possessed a lot of elite talent this year would be matched by the cornerbacks in round one.

The cornerback class is considered to be a deep one, but the run on top cover men began a bit earlier than anticipated. Six were taken in the first 32 picks, which matched offensive tackle and wide receiver for most at one position in round one.

Jeff Okudah (3rd overall), CJ Henderson (9th overall) were widely considered to have first-round talent, but the other four corners who came off the board were seen by many draft analysts as fringe first-round talents or outright second-round prospects.

Clemson's AJ Terrell went 16th to Atlanta. Ohio State's Damon Arnette went 18th to Las Vegas and the cornerback position closed out the round with Auburn's Noah Igbinoghene and TCU's Jeff Gladney going back to back to Miami and Minnesota respectively.

With cornerback being a perceived need by many draft analysts for Buffalo, there is fortunately a cornerback class that offers good depth stretching into round three. But the run on corners could continue in round two and thin the quality quickly with a dozen teams ahead of Buffalo at 54 believed to be in the market for cornerback help.

3. Wide receiver class just getting started

It didn't happen right away, but once the vaunted wide receiver class got started they surfaced steadily through the second half of round one. Some mock drafts leading up to the draft had as many as seven receivers coming off the board in the first round. On Thursday night six were selected, with the first not going until pick 12 when the Raiders made Alabama's Henry Ruggs the first receiver to come off the board.

But that's where an intermittent run of sorts began. Five more receivers would be taken over the next 13 selections with Brandon Aiyuk capping the run when San Francisco took the Arizona State wideout at pick 25.

Knowing most draft analysts have more than 25 receiver prospects with draft grades between rounds one and three there figures to be opportunity to add at the position.

Buffalo is not seen to have receiver as a pressing need after acquiring Stefon Diggs in a trade with Minnesota, but size is one thing the club does not have in great supply at the position. Nine receiver prospects with day two grades according to NFL Draft analysts stand 6-2 or taller and weigh more than 205 pounds.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at Buffalo's personnel as they work remotely during the 2020 NFL Draft. Draft coverage is presented by ECMC.

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