1. NFL analyst considers three Bills his favorite draft picks
NFL Draft analyst Lance Zierlein looked into all seven rounds of the NFL Draft and picked three favorites in each round according to the impact they will have on their new team, as well as how they fit into their team's system. The Bills drafted three players on Zierlein's list. The NFL analyst thinks quarterback Jake Fromm can play a big role in Buffalo's quarterback room.
Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
Drafted No. 167 overall, Buffalo Bills
Let me get this out in the open right now. I think Jake Fromm's ceiling is low-end starter with a greater chance that he's a good backup. So why is he in my top three picks for Round 5? It has everything to do with what he brings to the QB room. It's a well-known fact that Fromm is a football savant who sees the game like a coach might. Putting him in the room and in the ear of a player with the physical talent of Josh Allen could create ancillary benefits that lead to new heights for this version of the organization.
In the sixth round, Zierlein likes the Bills drafting Isaiah Hodgins because he has the potential to develop into a talented NFL receiver due to his size.
Isaiah Hodgins, WR, Oregon State
Drafted No. 207 overall, Buffalo Bills
In the sixth round, teams are just hoping they can either find a skilled player for roster depth or a player with developmental potential who they can bring along at a slower pace. Hodgins isn't fast and he isn't strong, but he does have good short-area quickness for a big receiver and gets plus marks for his pass-catching talent. He doesn't have the traits to be considered an "upside" prospect, but he does have the skill level to potentially become a value pick.
Zierlein's third favorite Bills draftee is corner Dane Jackson because of the skills he has to fight for a roster spot.
Dane Jackson, CB, Pittsburgh
Drafted No. 239 overall, Buffalo Bills
As you can tell by now, I'm a fan of how the Bills handled Day 3 of their draft. With Jackson, the Bills add a three-year college starter who can crowd routes underneath and plays a competitive brand of football. He doesn't have the speed to match up downfield against vertical threats, but he does have the intangibles and drive that should help him compete for a roster spot in Buffalo.
2. Why these free agents will help Buffalo's defense
On a zoom call with media, Bills head coach Sean McDermott went into detail on how the new defensive line additions made in free agency will help his defense be tougher in the coming season. McDermott added three defensive line free agents who played in Carolina including Mario Addison, Vernon Butler and Bryan Cox Jr. The Bills also added defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson who last played with the Seattle Seahawks. With at least nine sacks in each season the last four years, McDermott thinks Addison can provide a lot of veteran leadership to the locker room.
"Again going back to the Carolina roots, Mario was a key piece to our defense in Carolina," McDermott explained. "He's another highly competitive individual that played really good football for us. We felt like adding Mario would help us not only from a skill level standpoint but also some of the leadership in the defensive line room."
Butler was drafted by the Panthers in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft when McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane worked for Carolina. McDermott believes the defensive lineman showed improvements last season but has a lot of room to grow entering year five in the league.
"I think Vernon and I overlapped a year or two in Carolina," McDermott said. "He was hurt a little bit and got off a little bit of a slow start, but when you watch him and what he was able to do this past season in his contract year, we were we were impressed. Now it's about how he can sustain that and continue to grow beyond that."
McDermott and his staff targeted Jefferson due to the versatility and position flexibility he has on the line.
"Quinton Jefferson played really good snaps for the Seattle Seahawks and a good defense," McDermott explained. He's played inside he's played outside. I love his relentless attitude and approach. He's a true pro."
3. Bills climb to No. 5 in these Power Rankings
In 2019, Buffalo appeared in the top-10 plenty of times during in-season power rankings. After the 2020 NFL Draft, the Bills are jumping into the top-five power rankings conversation. In the latest rankings, Sporting News and Yahoo Sports have the Bills at No. 5.
Sporting News has the Bills in the fifth spot due to the new weapons around Josh Allen and an improved defense.
5. Buffalo Bills
The Bills' offensive improvements around Josh Allen had a strong second phase with Stefon Diggs and Zack Moss in the mix to fit in with all their successful skill and line changes from a year ago. The defense lost Jordan Phillips, Shaq Lawson and Lorenzo Alexander but added A.J. Klein, A.J. Epenesa and Quinton Jefferson. Buffalo should rule the AFC East with the Patriots finally moving on from Brady and also be a bigger factor in the playoffs.
Yahoo Sports has Buffalo at No. 5 due to a new wide receiver acquired in free agency and a Patriots team without Tom Brady.
5. Buffalo Bills
The Bills had the right mix of aggression, seeing their chance to pounce in a Tom Brady-less AFC East, without squeezing their window with multiple win-now moves. Stefon Diggs was the big move and if that fills their No. 1 need, the Bills could take a nice jump.