The Bills don't have a first-round pick heading into the 2020 NFL Draft because general manager Brandon Beane sent the No. 22 overall pick to Minnesota along with fifth round and sixth round picks in 2020 and a fourth round pick in 2021 for wide receiver Stefon Diggs and a seventh round pick in 2020.
Buffalo's first pick of the draft is No. 54 and there are several opinions from national analysts about what the Bills should do with that pick. From talented edge rushers to running backs, here's what the draft gurus say Buffalo should do with their second-round pick.
1. Charles Davis thinks best available player for Buffalo will be a running back
NFL analyst Charles Davis appeared on WGR's The Howard and Jeremy show to share his thoughts on what position will be the strongest available at No. 54.
"I think there will be good players," Davis said. "Now the edge rushers are going to be tough guys because there just aren't a bunch of them in the draft. I think by the time you get to 54, the top-rated edge rushers will already be off the board so you probably try to generate that in a different way. But if you're talking about running backs, I know we always say let's not overvalue the runner and I know they want Singletary to be the guy right now, but there's a good chance that some really good runners could be on the board at No. 54 because I don't think the run on them begins until round two."
The Bills drafted Devin Singletary in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft but Beane believes in the first three rounds of the draft, it's important to select the best player available. If that is a running back and Buffalo decides to add to their running back room, Davis thinks there will be several talented options to choose from.
"You get into that part of the draft and there's JK Dobbins from Ohio State, Cam Akers from Florida State," Davis explained. "If you want a big thumping back, A.J. Dillon from Boston College ran way better than what people expected. He's a monster-sized Derrick Henry looking running back who I absolutely like a lot. Zack Moss from Utah, if he passes all of his medicals. We can go on and on with runners, Lamical Perine from Florida will go later in the draft if they decide not to go in the second round. If you want some guys later on, Ke'Shawn Vaughn from Vanderbilt. There are a lot of runners that won't necessarily be first-rounders, but once the run begins on them, there will be plenty of opportunities and plenty of spots,"
Scroll through to view photos of prospects that some mock draft experts have Buffalo selecting in the second or third round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
2. NFL Network analysts think an edge rusher and running back fit Bills roster
On NFL Network's Path to the Draft NFL analysts Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks weighed in on the smartest move for the Bills in the second and third round. Jeremiah says the Bills could get a steal at defensive line with pick No. 54.
"I like Darrell Taylor, an edge rusher from Tennessee," Jeremiah said. "Had he been healthy the entire season and in the spring, we would be talking about him as a fringe first-round pick because of that you have the chance to get value. He's someone who's very explosive coming off the edge. When we look back at this draft, we could talk about him as one of the steals."
Brooks thinks the perfect running back to complement Devin Singletary will be available at pick No. 86.
"Brandon Beane recently talked about finding a downhill runner," Brooks said. "The general manager should just take A.J. Dillon from Boston College. He's a big, physical running back who grinds in between the tackles. You want a physical presence, so you can finish out games. A.J. Dillon is the guy."
3. PFF likes this defender for his pass-rush ability
With Shaq Lawson now with Miami and Lorenzo Alexander retired, PFF says Buffalo should focus on bringing youth to defensive line in order to groom a starter in the next few years and provide depth.
CURTIS WEAVER FALLS TO BILLS AT PICK NO. 54
With Shaq Lawson's departure in free agency and Lorenzo Alexander's retirement, Buffalo has to beef up its pass-rush unit. And 32-year-old Mario Addison, whom they signed to a three-year, $30 million deal, isn't going to be enough. Boise State edge rusher Curtis Weaver has had incredible production the past two years, posting back-to-back elite pass-rush grades and a combined win rate over three percentage points higher than anyone else.
4. Mel Kiper envisions a defensive pick for the Bills
ESPN's Mel Kiper sees room for the Bills to grow at defensive line and running back. With the 54th overall pick, Kiper thinks there will be talented running backs available but likes an edge rusher better.
"I just think [Julian] Okwara's pass-rush ability two years ago, he got hurt this year, but he was brilliant coming off the edge," Kiper said. "He's over 6'4. He has really long arms, he's got a knack for getting after the quarterback. A very strong, athletic kid. I think Okwara is what you need because you're in a division with Sam Darnold, you need to beat him. Miami is going to add a quarterback, New England is going to figure things out after Brady."
The Bills need to a running back to complement second-year player Devin Singletary. Kiper believes Buffalo can wait till the third round with pick No. 86 to find what they need at running back position.
"The depth at running back isn't great, but still you found Singletary last year," Kiper explained. "I think there's some running backs like Anthony McFarland at Maryland that's interesting. [Salvon] Ahmed at Washington is interesting. I like J.J. Taylor at Arizona as a late-round guy. Mike Ward at Cincinnati is another guy, so I think if they did not take a running back in the second they could get one late. I'm intrigued by J.J. Taylor. He's 5'5, 185 pounds. That kid can scoot, he can catch the ball. I was impressed with the tape of J.J. Taylor from Arizona."
Scroll through to view photos of notable Bills second-round draft picks throughout franchise history. The Bills are currently slated to have their first pick in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft at number 54 overall.
5. The Ringer says an edge rusher is at the top of the list
The Ringer’s Robert Mays dove into three areas he thinks have the biggest holes on the Bills current roster. With a second-round choice, Mays sees value in adding to Buffalo's strong defense which ranked third in 2019.
Interior offensive line
Since taking over in 2017, general manager Brandon Beane has slowly built a rock-solid roster. His blockbuster trade for Stefon Diggs gave Buffalo the no. 1 target it lacked in 2019, and lower-profile additions like Mario Addison and Quinton Jefferson helped fortify the defense. The Bills don't need to reach for any single position come draft time, but some depth at cornerback and on the edge (as an insurance policy for 32-year-old Jerry Hughes) could make a great defense better.
Suggestions: EDGE Bradlee Anae, Utah / EDGE Darrell Taylor, Tennessee / CB Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn
6. The Draft Network sees priority on both sides of the ball
Like many, The Draft Network thinks the Bills hit on their biggest need during free agency—adding depth at wide receiver.
The Bills' top priority this offseason was to add a playmaking wide receiver for Josh Allen and given the lack of free-agent options, the expectation was the answer would come through the draft via pick No. 22 or a trade up. Mission accomplished for general manager Brandon Beane after he landed star receiver Stefon Diggs whose separation ability, vertical receiving skills and proven talent in the league are perfect to surround the Bills' young quarterback.
With no glaring needs heading into the draft, The Draft Network sees benefits in selecting a cornerback or running back.
Now slated to pick at No. 54 overall for the first time, Buffalo has a modest slate of needs including cornerback, backup running back and adding youth at defensive end.
If cornerback is the route the Bills, Virginia's Bryce Hall or Utah's Jaylon Johnson are potential targets that offer the right set of skills for their zone defense. Buffalo could also be in striking distance to land one of the top running backs in the class to complement Devin Singletary and provide even more playmakers in the offense. The near-complete roster that Beane has assembled positions Buffalo to let the talent fall and pounce on the top talent available regardless of position.