1. Draft analyst believes there will be CB options for Bills at 30
The greatest intrigue surrounding Buffalo's first pick in the draft at 30 is trying to determine what will still be on the board when it's the Bills turn to make a selection. Despite the groundswell of reports on the Bills being interested in a running back in round one, Pro Football Network draft analyst Tony Pauline believes that better options will exist for GM Brandon Beane.
"I think Najee Harris will be off the board," Pauline said in an appearance on ‘One Bills Live’ this week. "I think he's going to the Steelers at 24. Travis Etienne could be a good fit there, but there will be decent running backs later on in the second part of day two. Michael Carter from North Carolina, Trey Sermon from Ohio State, Khaleel Herbert from Virginia Tech. You can get a good running back later on in day two.
"It's just a matter as to whether a defensive player is staring them in the face at pick 30 that's too great a value to pass up. I don't think they'll have good edge rush value there, but I do think they'll have some cornerbacks to think about at that spot."
Scroll through to view photos of the top prospects that draft analysts have projected the Bills to take with the 30th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
2. Will Josh Allen's growth change the way NFL GMs grade QBs?
Josh Allen's rise to MVP-level quarterback in his third NFL season leads many NFL observers to wonder if his success will prompt more NFL talent evaluators to grade quarterback prospects differently going forward.
'The Ringer's' Danny Heifetz posed that exact question in his most recent column. After examining all the elements that went into making Josh Allen a better quarterback for the Bills, he consulted with former NFL quarterbacks, quarterback coaches and draft analysts. Here is an excerpt of his conclusion.
Could Allen inspire teams to take risks on inaccurate quarterbacks in the hopes they can strike gold? Should teams rethink their approaches entirely and treat accuracy as something that can be learned?
Both of those things are a lot harder than they sound. Former NFL staffer and University of Wisconsin QB Nate Tice believes Allen came into the NFL with a lot of room to grow, but that his circumstances are not replicable.
"Usually a guy drafted in the first round like this, their feet are going to be pretty damn tight," Tice says. "Trevor Lawrence has perfect footwork. Justin Fields has pretty good footwork. These guys have good footwork already. So once they get to the NFL, there's going to be some more consistency, a little bit of improvement, but you aren't going to see much accuracy growth from footwork improvement."
Mike Renner, the lead draft analyst at Pro Football Focus, says Allen's development changed the way he judges quarterback prospects—to a degree. He's now willing to give greater looks to flawed players who have higher-end upside. But Renner also points to Christian Hackenberg and Drew Lock as cautionary tales of teams chasing quarterbacks with big arms and big frames despite accuracy issues. Both players were second-round picks. Hackenberg flamed out of the league without ever playing a down, while Lock finished dead last in completion percentage last season. (Sound familiar?) Looking at Allen's rise as proof that a player like Lock—or a future prospect with accuracy issues—can succeed may be missing the forest for the trees.
We have a tendency as football observers to assume that whoever a player becomes in the NFL is who they were always going to be. The reality is every prospect has a range of outcomes, and both landing spot and coaching—along with individual growth—help determine how good or bad a player becomes. Allen seems to have landed in the perfect situation to hit the high end of his potential. But perhaps if he'd gone third overall to the Jets in 2018 and been coached by Adam Gase, you would not be reading this story.
"A lot of guys come in with his profile," Renner says. "Not a lot of guys have turned into Josh Allen."
3. Charles Davis goes pass rusher for Bills in his final mock
NFL media analyst Charles Davis released his final mock draft this week and picked a defensive end for the Bills with the 30th overall selection in round one.
Davis picked the giant University of Miami defensive end who opted out in 2020 after a 15.5-sack season in 2019. He chose Hurricanes pass rusher Greg Rousseau. Here was his reason for the pick.
30. Buffalo Bills – DE Greg Rousseau – University of Miami
Buffalo invests in the pass rush with a former Hurricane who has enticing upside.
Perhaps most interesting is Davis had only two edge rushers come off the board before Rousseau at 30. He had Michigan's Kwity Paye to the Giants at 11 and Miami's Jaelen Phillips to the Dolphins at pick 18.