Skip to main content

NFL analysts provide these grades for the 2021 Bills draft class


The highly anticipated 2021 NFL Draft is in the books and the grades are out. Many analysts provided their thoughts on the Bills newest draft class and noted that the team upgraded their defensive end rotation while also adding quality depth to the rest of the roster.

Here are some of the draft grades given out to the Bills:

Buffalo Bills

Grade: A-

Day 1 grade: A

Day 2 grade: A-

Day 3 grade: A-

Analysis: GM Brandon Beane stood pat in the first round and found a promising edge rusher available in Rousseau to add to the team's depth up front. He doubled up on the line with Basham in the second round. He was the best player on the board, though other areas of the roster might have benefitted from an investment at that spot. The selection of Brown -- a swing tackle who could become a starter -- hit one of those areas of need, however, continuing the team's solid roster construction.

The Bills went tackle again in the fifth round, picking a solid value in Doyle. Stevenson's ability as a returner and versatile receiver will be utilized by the Bills if he can stay healthy. Hamlin is a Jordan Fuller-type bargain in the sixth round. Anderson is a very good pick late in the draft because he's country strong and versatile enough to play guard or center…

With the 2021 NFL Draft underway, scroll through to keep track of Buffalo's newest players. Presented by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York.

Buffalo Bills

Grade: A-

Brandon Beane executed the next level of the Bills' game plan toward winning the AFC. Thinking pass-rush first, twice, was smart as Rosseau and Basham Jr. will be a productive combination ideal for what Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier want in their scheme. They also got promising developmental depth everywhere for the offensive line and finished with a couple of active subpackage players for the secondary.


Draft Grade: B

Day 1: Rousseau is a physical freak at 6-foot-7 with 34.75-inch arms and 11-inch hands. He opted out of the 2020 season and carries with him concerns about how he'll fare as a true edge defender, though. Rousseau rushed the passer just 283 times in his college career, anywhere from 0-technique to stand-up outside linebacker. He earned a 71.3 pass-rushing grade from outside of the tackle in 2019, but when he rushed from the interior, it spiked to 85.1.

Day 2: Basham added weight throughout his college career and transformed himself into a tank of a pass-rusher with monstrous power and the ability to tear through opposing pass-blockers, but most of his best plays don't actually come by using that potent power. His consistency has been lacking, but he has the tools of a first-round player. His 2019 season came close to elite in terms of PFF grading.

Day 3: The Bills got the player with the best name in the draft, and that has to be worth something. We project Rachad Wildgoose as a good man coverage player who didn't always have the ability to show off those skills in Wisconsin's zone-heavy system. He forced 10 incompletions in his career and only allowed 11 total catches.

Scroll through to see second-round pick Boogie Basham and third-round pick Spencer Brown's first visit to One Bills Drive, presented by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York.

Buffalo Bills


I maintain that the Bills are not done yet exploring offensive upgrades and could still make a splash on the veteran trade market before the season. This draft class may have been the franchise's biggest vote of confidence in Josh Allen yet, largely ignoring the offense in an effort to give Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier some edge rushers to work with. 

The Bills have been flirting with this position before, tapping A.J. Epenesa in the second-round last year. Now, they return to the position with both Gregory Rousseau and Carlos Basham; a pair of high-upside talents who Buffalo hopes can sharpen one another into a platoon that hits.

A pressure element to this Bills defense, which is already led by two talented corners and two heady safeties, could lift them to the kind of place where they're expected to compete with Kansas City instead of considering getting that far as a victory in itself.

Buffalo Bills

Grade: B

They've also largely remained intact since January's AFC title game loss at Kansas City, a defeat that served a reminder that it's probably going to be incumbent to make Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes' life miserable in the future (Mahomes was only sacked once in that game). Perhaps not coincidentally, the Bills' first two picks were pass rushers, Greg Rousseau and Carlos "Boogie" Basham, who provide a double dose of heat and youth to a front that needed both given how much Sean McDermott's defense has become uncharacteristically reliant on blitzes in recent years. Worth wondering if Buffalo should've targeted another running back in the middle rounds rather than offensive line depth.

Scroll through to see first-round pick Gregory Rousseau's first visit to One Bills Drive, presented by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York

Buffalo Bills

Grade: B

The Bills got a whole lot tougher in the trenches by grabbing a pair of high-upside power rushers with their first two picks. I like that they're adding some youth to an aging pass-rush group, and Rousseau and Basham both offer intriguing upside and should contribute in rotational roles immediately. On the offensive line, Brown and Doyle are exciting developmental tackles who have length, athleticism, and the potential to start down the line. While Buffalo's draft wasn't flashy, it improved the team's roster heading into the 2021 campaign.

Buffalo Bills

Grade: B-

The two spots I thought the Bills could upgrade in Round 1 were at running back and edge rusher. Their top defensive ends are all over the age of 30, and I still think 2020 second-round pick AJ Epenesa could end up at tackle. So, I wasn't surprised to see them go with Gregory Rousseau (30), even though I thought his pro day testing numbers might see him drop to the second round. At 6-foot-7 and 270 pounds, Rousseau had 15.5 sacks in 2019, but some of those sacks were due to great coverage. … Rousseau, who opted out of last season, has a ways to go to be a complete player.

I was surprised to see Buffalo go right back to the edge, taking Carlos Basham Jr. (61) in Round 2. This is more of a pick about taking the best available prospect, in my opinion, and he is a more polished pass-rusher than Rousseau. The Bills had 16 sacks when they used a standard pass rush last season, which ranked 25th in the NFL, and so Rousseau and Basham will help them get younger.

Spencer Brown (93) is a giant of a man who is still raw. He made 32 starts at right tackle for Northern Iowa, but the NFL is a different speed. Damar Hamlin (212) is a good safety and potential long-term starter if he keeps developing.

This is a class of boom-or-bust guys at the top, though, with Rousseau, Brown and Basham all having a ways to go to reach their ceiling. And the lack of a running back is a head-scratcher. I thought that was a definite Day 2 or Day 3 priority.