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NFL Draft analysts offer these opinions on the Bills at the NFL Combine | 2024


INDIANAPOLIS -- It was a week full of analysis of the 2024 NFL Draft class. A handful of NFL Draft analysts appeared on 'One Bills Live' this week at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, and provided some context to the draft class and how the Bills could most effectively improve their roster with some of the young talent armed with 10 picks.

Receiver talent runs deep

The Bills could be in the market for an elite receiver if they're unable to re-sign receiver Gabe Davis prior to the start of free agency. As NFL Network lead draft analyst, Daniel Jeremiah sees it, Buffalo should have multiple opportunities in the draft to swing for an instant impact receiver prospect.

"I think the receiver depth definitely carries through day two," Jeremiah said in his appearance on ‘One Bills Live’ this week. You can find second and third round wide receivers and play and be impactful right away. That's just what we're getting. With high school 7-on-7 camps and the spread offenses in college chucking it all over the place, I feel like every year there is a ridiculous number of wideouts."

Among the names that Jeremiah believes could still be on the board when the Bills are on the clock at 28 in round one is Texas' Adonai Mitchell and Oregon's Troy Franklin.

"The skills are all there," said Jeremiah of Mitchell. "He's going to put on a show and run like crazy and jump out of the building. He'll help himself by what he does from now until the draft. So, with him it's just about getting him in a private workout and seeing him run more routes, get more volume. I didn't have any issues when I watched him. It's not about there being a hole in his game, other than that he didn't get a ton of work. For me it's all in there. For me, he's a pick 20 to 35 guy. Early second round is the floor of where he'll come off the board especially after the testing."

Franklin has been very productive, but Jeremiah does have concerns about the speedy receiver 176-pound frame.

"I wish he was bigger," Jeremiah said. "Last year we had so many lean-framed guys. Halfway through last year Tank Dell was tearing the league up and then we got to the end of the year and Tank Dell was hurt and not playing anymore. That's the dilemma. I'm not saying they can't play and be successful as a lean, light player, but it's hard to stay on the field as a lean, light player. So that goes into that evaluation."

Check out the 14 NFL Draft prospects who have been picked for the Bills in this year's mock drafts through the month of February.

D-line or receiver for the Bills at 28?

It's hard to predict what the positional value will look like when the Bills are on the clock at 28 in round one of the draft, but Jeremiah feels that if Buffalo is fortunate to have the choice between a top-flight defensive lineman and a top-flight receiver, he'd lean toward the bigger bodies.

"If it's close and you have a receiver versus a defensive tackle or an edge rusher, you take the edge rusher or defensive tackle," said Jeremiah. "You can get the receiver later, but it's going to fall off a cliff when it comes to the defensive linemen this year."

Jeremiah had 11 receivers on his list of Top 50 Prospects, the highest number at any one position in the draft class. He had just six edge rushers, three of whom he didn't see reaching Buffalo's pick at 28, and just four defensive tackles, one of whom he had off the board in the middle of round one.

Stacked QB draft could benefit Bills in the first round

With a Draft that could see as many as five quarterbacks, eight wide receivers and eight offensive tackles be taken in the first round, ESPN NFL Draft analyst Matt Miller noted that the surplus of talent at in-demand positions could push top defensive line prospects down to the No. 28 pick.

UCLA's Laiatu Latu and Missouri's Darius Robinson were two names Miller mentioned could be a good fit in Buffalo as they will need to add edge rushers to their roster with three of their six returning lineman (excluding reserve/future players) set to enter free agency.

From a pure value perspective, however, the Bills could turn their attention to the other side of the line of scrimmage. In his most recent mock draft, Miller had Buffalo taking Oregon center Jackson Powers-Johnson with their first-round pick.

"I actually look at this offensive line as good enough, but you always want to get better on the offensive line and turn that into a strength," Miller said. "Having that powerful, whether it be a right guard or eventually a center to replace Mitch Morse, I think that's just one of those bookend positions and the value is fantastic. I have colleagues who think JPJ could be a top 20 pick."

Miller said that the No. 28 spot was promising for Buffalo should they decide to go for a defensive lineman, but the DT tackle position drops off quickly.

"This is a unique year that Byron Murphy from Texas is probably going to go in the top 20 and then you have Jer'Zhan Newton, who I actually think is a pretty good fit for the Bills' scheme – he's a lot like Ed Oliver, coming out of Illinois – he could be there at 28," Miller said. "After that, there's a group of guys that are in that middle of round two (range).

"That's great news for the Bills is that second tier of defensive tackles isn't coming off the board in early round two, it'll be late round two."

With the No. 60 pick, the Bills could afford to wait on defensive tackle and pursue an edge rusher or wide receiver in the first round should Murphy and Newton disappear come pick No. 28.

The 2024 NFL Scouting Combine is underway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Click through to see photos of current Bills players from when they performed at the Combine.

Continuity in coaching staff will help build draft identity

The reigning Super Bowl champions have, unsurprisingly, hit on multiple draft picks over the past couple of years.

L'Jarius Sneed, who the Chiefs took in the fourth round in 2020 has turned into one of the best corners in the league. First round pick cornerback Trent McDuffie has quickly turned into a top slot corner in the league and 2023 second round receiver Rashee Rice has a strong rookie campaign this past season.

Miller attributed the Chiefs' draft success to a tenured coaching staff that has an idea of the traits that would best fit their offensive or defensive systems.

"One thing the Chiefs did really well was identify what types of players their coaches wanted," Miller said. "So I think that's the lesson is getting that continuity in your coaching staff to where you can say, 'Okay, what kind of guys does Joe Brady want? What kind of players do we want on defense for this scheme?' … I think that's one of the undersold stories of how well Kansas City has drafted is, they're drafting guys that are just fitting their scheme so well."

Pass rush prospects fall off quickly

The Athletic's lead draft analyst Dane Brugler noted that, if the Bills want to pursue an edge rusher in the first round of the NFL Draft, they might have to keep their fingers crossed as the talent pool of pass rushers drops off quickly.

"The pass rush group is a little underwhelming," Brugler said. "We have some first-round guys this year with Jared Verse, Dallas Turner, Chop Robinson, Laitu Latu from UCLA. But then there's a little bit of a drop of in terms of what that second tier looks like."

Turner and Verse are likely to be gone by the time the Bills are announcing their first-round pick, leaving the Bills few options if they desire to select a pass rusher.

Brugler had high praise for Robinson, who has been mocked to the Bills this offseason. The Penn State defensive end had just four sacks this season, but was a game wrecker in Brugler's eyes.

"The thing that separates Chop is he has that one trait that's hard to find, and that's that first step burst. It's electric. Michigan changed their entire game plan when they played Penn State because they knew their right tackle couldn't block Chop Robinson. They ran the ball the entire game," Brugler said.

While Robinson projects to be a skilled pass rusher, Brugler said that the Maryland native still has aspects of his game he needs to be improved upon.

"He's not a complete player per se. Some of the run defense stuff he needs to improve upon," Brugler said.

Players opting out of Combine drills is nothing new

Caleb Williams, Marvin Harrison Jr. and other rising stars have made headlines this week for their decision to not participate in any Combine drills, instead only opting to interview with NFL teams.

Brugler noted that this has happened throughout the Combine's history and, for certain players, it can be the smart thing to do.

Honestly this has been going on for a long time," Brugler said. "I went back to 96' to see if Marvin Harrison Jr.'s dad worked out and he didn't. … Obviously agents play a part and say, 'let's just wait, let's keep training.' Maybe they're coming off a late season injury that they're late training for these drills. I understand the quarterbacks not throwing here, they want to be in their own ecosystem."

However, for many players the Combine can serve as a boost for their draft stock, which ultimately means more guaranteed money in their pocket if they jump from a second round projection to a first round, etc.

"Teams want to see these guys compete too," Brugler said. "So it's not a big deal, but I'm going to give you extra points if you come here, compete, put your best foot forward and show us what you can do."