1. Bills earn recognition for their draft strategy
The Bills have received noteworthy grades for their selections in the 2021 draft. Another good score came in from Fox Sports, and the outlet gave the team a B+ for this year's draft. Fox Sports draft analyst Rob Rang explained why he gave the Bills that grade and noted that the strategy the team is using could end up paying huge dividends.
Buffalo Bills – Grade: B+
General manager Brandon Beane took an interesting approach to the 2021 draft, pairing two polar opposites in defensive ends Gregory Rousseau and Carlos "Boogie" Basham with the Bills' first two picks. It is a strategy that could pay huge dividends.
Rousseau was available at No. 30 only because he opted out of the 2020 season and declared for the draft after starting a grand total of seven games for Miami. But my goodness, what a year 2019 was for him. A high school wide receiver who kept growing, the 6-foot-7, 266-pound Rousseau emerged as the most dominant edge rusher in college football in 2019, leading the ACC with an eye-popping 19.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks while starting just seven of 13 games. Rousseau is quick off the snap and has the body control to slither through and around would-be blockers.
What Rousseau doesn't yet have is technique – something the pro-ready Basham definitely possesses and will use to potentially make more of an immediate impact than the Bills' top pick. The duo should push each other, especially with the motivation and coaching that defensive-minded head coach Sean McDermott and his staff will provide. If possible, I'm just as excited about the athleticism of offensive tackles Spencer Brown (Northern Iowa) and Tommy Doyle (Miami Ohio). These two not only have the quickness and length to pass protect, but they should also excel as downfield convoys for Josh Allen, who led the Bills last year with eight rushing touchdowns. …
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2. Todd McShay thinks this player is the best Bills pick of the 2021 NFL Draft
The Bills put a lot of resources into the defensive end position to bring some fresh blood to the group. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay picked the second pass rusher the Bills drafted this weekend as his favorite selection by the team. Boogie Basham played four years at Wake Forest and racked up 35.5 tackles for loss, 19.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles during his time there. Here why McShay picked Basham as the Bills top pick of the draft:
[Boogie] Basham, DE, Wake Forest (Round 2, No. 61 overall)
The Bills didn't come in with a ton of holes, but their edge rushing unit needed some revamping. Jerry Hughes will turn 33 years old before the 2021 season starts, and no Buffalo player had more than five sacks last season. But the Bills dove in on the pass-rushing class, taking Miami's Gregory Rousseau at the end of Round 1, before getting Basham on Friday night. I like both players, but I'm going with the better value in Basham. I actually had Basham ranked a little higher than Rousseau at No. 43 overall, but Buffalo really needs both to be productive to improve its pressure.
Basham has a ton of power and quickness, and I was impressed with how often he was disruptive in college despite drawing a lot of attention from opposing blockers. Against the run, Basham has the foot speed and hands to slip blocks to make plays in the backfield, but gap discipline is a little inconsistent. For me, though, his versatility is key. He can kick inside on obvious passing downs, and while he can get home on the QB from there, he also does a really nice job getting his hands in passing lanes. Rousseau also is versatile enough to line up inside, and that duo will allow defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier to do a lot of different things up front.
3. Bills on the rise in Bleacher Report's post-draft power rankings
Bleacher Report came out with its most updated power rankings after the draft concluded. The climbed one spot since the previous rankings were released. Bleacher Report still believes Buffalo is still the biggest competitor to Kansas City in the AFC.
#3. Buffalo Bills
High: 3, Low: 4
The Buffalo Bills didn't do a ton in the 2021 offseason. But when you're coming off a 13-win season and a trip to the AFC Championship Game, you don't necessarily need to do a ton.
The Bills' biggest moves were keeping talent from leaving western New York. They re-signed outside linebacker Matt Milano, cornerback Levi Wallace, edge-rusher Mario Addison and offensive tackle Daryl Williams, all of whom made significant contributions in 2020. When they did lose veteran wideout John Brown, they brought in Emmanuel Sanders, who may actually be an upgrade.
The Bills were also able to address an area of need in the draft. This year's crop of edge-rushers lacked an elite Chase Young-type prospect, but Miami's Gregory Rousseau piled up 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss two years ago before opting out in 2020. After drafting Rousseau 30th overall, the Bills doubled up at the position with Wake Forest's Carlos Basham Jr. in Round 2.
All told, this offseason sets the Bills up as the leading challengers to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC.