1 – Bills likely to add UB QB Jackson
The 2019 draft was over, but Bills GM Brandon Beane and his staff was hard at work nailing down commitments from undrafted rookie free agents. One agreement in principle that was reached was with UB QB Tyree Jackson.
“We’re still working on it. It’s not finalized, but we do have an agreement in place,” said Beane. “We have to get him in here and pass a physical, but we’re excited to have Tyree if it all works out.”
Jackson, who participated in the Pro Bowl and worked out at the NFL combine, also held his pro day at the ADPRO Sports Training Center at One Bills Drive.
“The first thing you look at is the size. I truly thought he would be drafted. He was on our draft board to be drafted. I’m surprised that we saw his name still sitting there late in the seventh. I thought, ‘Man if this kid doesn’t get drafted we’re going to have to go after him.’ He played at the Senior Bowl and it wasn’t too big for him. I think he’s still an ascending player.”
Jackson also worked this offseason with Bills QB Josh Allen, as both were tutored by quarterback trainer Jordan Palmer in California.
The anticipated addition of Jackson gives Buffalo four quarterbacks on their roster.
2 – Bills will add competition anywhere
The addition of draft choices like Cody Ford, Devin Singletary and Darryl Johnson on day two and three of the draft created an overcrowded depth chart on the offensive line, running back and defensive end. It was an example of Beane and McDermott staying committed to the board in acquiring proper talent firsts and worrying about how all the pieces fit later.
Beane pointed to the offensive tackle pool specifically, which now has Ty Nsekhe, LaAdrian Waddle and Cody Ford added to the mix since March.
“I would say it's competition, and we're not saying that Cody's going to start,” said Beane. “I'm not saying he's running out with the ones that right tackle. Where he may start is with the twos. I'll let Sean, Brian Daboll and Bobby Johnson guys decide, but the thing about Ty is we do think he can play both, you know, I wouldn't put Cody at left. So I think versatility there with Dion (Dawkins) at left, Cody right and Ty can play either one and. And again, it'll be the best two tackles that we feel help us that'll start in September.”
The case is much the same at defensive end where Darryl Johnson, who is coming off a 10.5-sack season at North Carolina A&T will scratch and claw to compete with the likes of Shaq Lawson, Trent Murphy, Jerry Hughes, Eli Harold and Eddie Yarbrough to earn a spot on the roster.
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3 – Pipeline players are important
Buffalo’s top two picks in Ed Oliver and Cody Ford are expected to make an early impact for the Bills on both sides of the ball. But day two and day three were made up of players whose roles might be a bit less defined as rookies.
But Beane and McDermott understand the value of getting players in the pipeline at positions that despite being deep in talent could undergo change a year from now.
A perfect example is all the turnover that took place on the offensive line where they had three players in the final year of their contract in 2018 who did not return.
Buffalo drafted Devin Singletary and fans were asking why. Knowing the top two running backs on the Bills depth chart are in the final year of their contracts means the possibility at least exists to have a vacuum at the position at this time next year.
A similar situation exists at defensive end where Buffalo drafted Darryl Johnson.
“We’re putting a team together,” said McDermott. “Sometimes it’s hard to see in some of those cases how some of those pieces fit right now. That will work itself out over time. That’s part of what the competition piece of that is and how that comes into play. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We certainly have our work cut out for us here and that’s where our focus is. We do look forward to getting these players in and also other guys who could become great pieces for us in time and will add to the competition early on.”
4 – “We’ve taken steps forward”
Though the players added on day three might not be the most obvious examples of it, Buffalo’s roster in year three has improved dramatically. Buffalo’s head coach is understandably more reserved in judging what’s been added. He’d rather make that determination on the field through the course of the summer.
But with the way that Beane and his personnel department has made key additions in free agency and the two studs he landed at the top of the draft, the Bills offense in particular has at least expanded the list of viable options that can be utilized and deployed on that side of the ball.
“This is our going to Brandon second draft and my third draft and getting the roster to the point where you feel like you can go out and play a game (consistently). We hope at this point we've minimized some of those holes that we feel like we had when we first got here and continue to add good people to our building and build the way we believe it should be built,” McDermott said. “It doesn't mean we've made all the right decisions but we feel like we've taken steps forward in that direction.”
5 – No decision yet on Shaq’s fifth-year option
The deadline is fast approaching for the Bills to make a decision on whether to pick up the fifth-year option for DE Shaq Lawson. It’s an option for NFL clubs to extend a player they drafted in round one to a fifth-year, but the decision must be made before they begin their fourth NFL season.
“We were just going to get through the draft and we'll sit down this week and I've talked to his agent, he understands our timeline and very good communication with them,” said Beane. “We'll see where we're at and we'll make a decision.”
For Lawson, who was drafted 19th overall in 2016, the financial commitment would be less than that of a top 10 selection in his draft class. The deadline for the Bills to make a decision is May 3rd.