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Take a WR, trade, or go defense? NFL Draft analysts share their best strategy for the Buffalo Bills  


We've made to NFL Draft Week, finally. Thursday night, the Bills will be on the clock with the No. 27 overall pick and likely plenty of options to chose from.

There have been countless mock drafts since the start of the offseason, projecting the picks the Bills could make. But what about Buffalo's overall draft strategy?

Today, we're diving into what NFL analysts and draft experts think is the best approach for the Bills, who have a total of six picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Albert Breer | Sports Illustrated Senior NFL Reporter

Breer has the Bills' top needs as WR, LB and S in that order and says there's a path where the team could address all of those needs in the first three rounds.

"The Bills will be able to look at needs for 2024 here, and receiver is shaping up to be a big one. My guess is they will not be able to afford to keep Gabe Davis, and TCU's Quentin Johnston, should he slide this far, could be an ideal replacement for him on the outside. The safety and linebacker needs—with Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer getting older, and Tremaine Edmunds gone—could be addressed on Day 2 of the draft." — Breer

Bucky Brooks | Draft Analyst

Summary: Bills must get Josh Allen help on offense

Brooks on Move the Sticks podcast: "That's the new reality that we're living in if you are going to win in the AFC…at some point you've got to look at the teams you're going to face to have to get to the Super Bowl. Kansas City is always going to be there with the quarterback. We can talk about the other teams with the quarterback, Cincinnati; you have to look at them because you just lost to them. And, you've got to deal with what you have in the division. So yes, you have to think about, in an arms race, we have a quarterback in Josh Allen who we feel like can compete with those guys, does he have enough? And you've got to give him enough."

Todd McShay | ESPN Draft Analyst

Summary: Bills add WR, CB depth in middle rounds

McShay's most recent mock draft from early April (his final one will be right before the draft) has the Bills drafting USC WR Jordan Addison. But in a media conference call, McShay said it's possible Addison goes before then, and he thinks the Bills decide to address wide receiver later in the draft.

If that line of thinking comes to fruition, McShay thinks a WR from North Carolina could be a Day Two fit in Buffalo.

"A wide receiver, more of a slot receiver in the second round like Josh Downs from North Carolina, who I think for Josh Allen would be somebody like a Cole Beasley type — like he had with McKenzie when he was there and some other guys fill that role but it was particularly Cole. I think Josh Downs would make sense there from that standpoint."

In the third round, McShay believes the Bills should target a defensive back.

"You want to add a corner or a defensive back at some point, there's more depth I think at corner than safety. But a really interesting guy I think you want to look at is Jartavius Martin who's a slot corner, safety and can do a lot of things out of Illinois. He ran well, tested well and had a 44 vertical, very underrated player. I talked about Riley Moss earlier and his versatility potentially. Jartavius Martin I think is a guy really intriguing for teams looking for an all around defensive back in the second or third round." — McShay

Chad Reuter | Draft Analyst

Reuter has the Bills moving up for a wide receiver on Thursday night, trading their 27th overall pick, their third-round pick and a fifth-round pick to Seattle to grab WR Jordan Addison at No. 20 overall.

With the remaining picks, Buffalo adds linebacker Drew Sanders in round two before selecting a guard in round four and a tight end in round six.

Trevor Sikkema | PFF Analyst

"The Bills could use some insurance upgrades at both interior offensive line and offensive tackle. While the no-brainer players at those spots might be gone by the time Buffalo is on the clock at No. 27, those positions should still be high on their priority list." — Sikkema

Mike Renner | PFF lead draft analyst

Renner did a three-round mock draft and had the Bills waiting until the third-round to draft a wide receiver. With the first two picks, Renner projected the Bills to add to their defensive line in round one (Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson) and then offensive line in round two (Chandler Zavala, OL, N.C. State).

The Bills are able to land a WR in round three with LSU's Kayshon Boutte. Renner explains his reasoning for this strategy in his mock draft.

Matt Miller | ESPN Draft Analyst

Miller says he is getting the impression that the Bills are a team that would be "most likely" to trade out of the first-round, which aligns with what GM Brandon Beane told the local media this month. Should the Bills decide NOT to trade out, then Miller believes a wide receiver makes sense at this spot and has the team drafting TCU WR Quentin Johnston at No. 27.

Miller's mock draft has projections for all seven rounds and has the Bills getting a CB in round two (Jartavius Martin, Illinois), a guard in round three (Nick Saldiveri, Old Dominion), a safety in round four (Jordan Battle, Alabama), a running back in round five (Eric Gray, Tennessee) and a defensive end in round six (Tavius Robinson, Ole Miss).

In total, that's three offensive picks (WR, G, RB) and three defensive picks (CB, S, DE).

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