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Bills Today: Bills 2018 draft grade still strong a year later


1 - Bills 2018 draft grade still strong a year later

Buffalo had eight picks in last year's NFL draft culminating in players like Josh Allen, Tremaine Edmunds, Harrison Phillips and Taron Johnson. Eleven months after the draft, ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. took a look at each franchise's 2018 draft class and re-graded them after one year. Buffalo originally received an 'A' from Kiper Jr. for the haul and one-year later they received an A-. Only Cleveland and Indianapolis received higher grades than what was originally given to them.

There were signs of progress down the stretch. He [Josh Allen] showed off his athleticism as a fantastic runner, putting up 631 yards and eight touchdowns. He developed a deep-ball connection with undrafted rookie Robert Foster. He gave Bills fans hope. Just watch the tape in that road blowout win over the Vikings. I'm a believer in Allen's talent, and Buffalo is making some moves this offseason to help him out.

Buffalo's draft class doesn't even include two of the best rookies to suit up across the league last year. Robert Foster made big plays the second-half of the season and Levi Wallace earned strong recognition for his play from the second he got the starting job. The Bills took flyers on the two undrafted players from Alabama and it paid off.

Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, the other first-rounder GM Brandon Beane traded up for, had a fantastic season, with 121 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Defensive tackle Harrison Phillips (35 tackles), guard Wyatt Teller (seven starts) and cornerback Taron Johnson (41 tackles) are going to be big contributors in 2019 and beyond.

2 - Bills are under-the-radar winners of NFL free agency

All notions of Buffalo being an unattractive free agent destination were thrown out the window last week when general manager Brandon Beane took to the podium as the Bills announced and introduced its initial free-agent signing class.

Rumors were spread around the NFL that Antonio Brown would not go to Buffalo because of the city itself. Those rumors were not true and instead Brown was shipped off to Oakland where he almost rejected going again until the Raiders made him the highest paid receiver in the NFL. But Buffalo moved on and brought in 11 new players for the upcoming season.

Bleacher Report named the Bills as the biggest under-the-radar winners of NFL free agency. Buffalo has a new offensive line and a new receiving corps all while still having room to make even more moves on the market. Bleacher Report believes the better protection will lead to Allen not having to be the team's leading passer and rusher this season. Buffalo also added new pieces to help Allen in the passing game with John Brown, Cole Beasley and new tight end Tyler Kroft.

What may appear to be "lavish spending" still has Buffalo with the seventh-most available cap space at $33.13 million, according to Albert Breer. Other teams opted for the flashier moves like Oakland, Cleveland and Green Bay but it is clear the organization can attract talent to the team and Bleacher Report believes the team is better on paper than anything seen last season.

3 - Josh Allen could be a captain

Josh Allen earned the respect of his new teammates by reportedly being the first player they heard from when they signed their new deals.

"Josh called them within minutes of it getting out," general manager Brandon Beane said. "They really thought that was cool. It was good for me to hear that Josh had taken that initiative to call those guys and welcome them."

Now Beane believes that Allen could end up with a "C" on his jersey for next season. Beane was on Mad Dog Sports Radio and hinted at that.

"(Allen) is a guy who has the intangibles you want as a quarterback," Beane said. "He's a big-time leader. I think he will… year two walking in as the guy, he will feel himself. Hopefully he shows that he earns that 'C' on his chest."

Beane won't decide who the captains will be, but the players or coaches could decide to give out another "C" to an offensive player.

Current players on the roster who wore a 'C' on their jersey in 2018 are Patrick DiMarco, LeSean McCoy, Lorenzo Alexander and Stephen Hauschka.

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