Three popular positions for the Bills to go after at No. 25

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Phone conversations and reactions to Josh Allen selection. The Buffalo Bills Draft Room at One Bills Drive during 2018 NFL Draft. Photo by Bill Wippert April 26, 2018

The 2022 NFL Draft is just days away. That means you've probably seen the countless number of mock drafts projecting who the Bills might take at No. 25. There have been several different positions mocked to the Bills in the first round and one could argue that any of them make sense.

Bills general manager Brandon Beane and his scouting staff are running through the several options that could be available once the Bills get their turn on Thursday night.

To get you ready for the first round, we tapped into which positions the experts think the Bills should select at No. 25 and the reasons why it could help Buffalo this season.

"I think the Bills can really look at what their needs are and say, 'Okay, let's take one of the best quality players out of these certain needs that they have,'" NFL Network analyst Marc Ross said. "I wouldn't expect them to panic, make a big move or anything because they have a lot of depth and quality in a lot of positions on their team. They are really now just saying, 'Hey, here's a couple final pieces that we need to get this right.'"

According to the analysts, the Bills should target cornerback, interior offensive line or wide receiver at No. 25.

1. CORNERBACK

Cornerback has been the most popular position being talked about by national analysts for the Bills at No. 25. It's also the highest mocked position to the Buffalo Bills in the first round.

One reason why it has been talked about a lot is because the cornerback situation looks pretty different heading into this season than last. Bills corner Tre'Davious White is recovering from an ACL injury he suffered during Week 12's game against the Saints. Bills head coach Sean McDermott said White is working hard to recover but they do not plan on setting a date for his return. In addition, Levi Wallace, who started opposite of White last year, is now with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Dane Jackson is a young corner who started in six games last season and could be a good option for Buffalo in 2022. The Bills also have some depth at the position, but the experts think Buffalo should look to draft a corner at No. 25 because of the high-caliber players that could be available toward the end of night one.

Bills general manager Brandon Beane isn't sold on the corner or bust idea in the first round and believes there will be talented corners later in the draft that they could get if they choose to go that route.

"I think you'll see corners drafted in a number of rounds," Beane shared. "I don't think it's like, 'Man, if you don't get one now, you're out of luck.' I do think there'll be some guys, and I think we've had good fortune with Levi (Wallace) who was undrafted. You can't predict that someone's going to have Levi's career and even Dane's (Jackson) to this degree."

Jackson had 52 tackles, 11 passes defensed and one interception in his first two seasons with the Bills.

If Buffalo decides to go after a corner in the first round, here's why analysts think it's a good idea and why there should be viable options at No. 25.

"I think the corner group has some pretty good depth there, especially at the bottom of the first," NFL Network's Marc Ross shared. "With the offseason addition of Von Miller and just looking at the landscape, I think your receiver group is good enough right there. So, I think the corner position definitely could be upgraded."

ESPN Draft analyst Mel Kiper also thinks defense is the right way to go in the first round and sees a defensive back who played safety in college as someone who could be a good fit in Buffalo.

"Cornerback is a big need area," Kiper said on the First Draft podcast. "I like Daxton Hill from Michigan. I like him as a great overall defensive back, slot corner, (he) tackles, gets after the quarterback. If they stay where they are, Andrew Booth Jr. from Clemson.

"They've got to get a corner at some point in the first couple of rounds. But that kid Daxton Hill to me, 5-star recruit out of high school, number one safety, flies to the football, great speed, great awareness, tremendous versatility."

Hill (6'0, 191 pounds) and Booth (6'0, 194 pounds) have both been popular picks in mock drafts for Buffalo. Booth was first-team All-ACC in 2021 and pulled in five interceptions in his three years at Clemson.

Yahoo Sports lead NFL draft analyst Eric Edholm thinks Booth could be the right guy for Buffalo because of his athleticism.

"I think all the traits are there to be a very good, I would say, high-end number two possibly low-end number one at some point," Edholm said on One Bills Live. "You saw the growth throughout college and him kind of getting better at the catch point making some acrobatic plays. He's just got natural ability that I don't think you can teach. The size is decent, and the athletic traits are very decent as well. It just sort of fits, I think, with what they're looking for."

Many experts believe several different corners could be productive in Buffalo. The one thing none of us will be able to figure out is who will be left once the Bills are on the clock. NFL Network and CBS on NFL analyst Charles Davis thinks the Bills could have multiple options if a few of these names are still available at No. 25.

"There are two corners at the University of Washington, Trent McDuffie (5'11, 193 pounds) and Kyler Gordon (5'11 ½, 194 pounds). Most people have Trent McDuffie rated higher, I have him going higher in the teens in my mock draft. Kyler Gordon could be that guy that pops up late in the first round and becomes a first round pick.

"Kaiir Elam (6'1 ½, 191 pounds) from the University of Florida could be a guy around that range, Roger McCreary (5'11, 190 pounds) a corner from Auburn could be in that range. All of them are possibilities, all of them might be available at that timeframe and it makes absolute sense because you need some depth and you're still looking probably for a starter out of one of the corners here in Buffalo."

2. INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINE

If the Bills choose to forgo a corner in the first round, according to analysts, another position worth targeting is interior offensive line. Buffalo does have depth at that position and did add to the interior offensive line in free agency, but many experts say, you can never have enough depth at offensive line.

There were a few injuries up front last year and the Bills had to rely on their depth to make it through the season, so it might be worth targeting the position in the first round.

Many analysts say there is good depth in this year's class at interior offensive line and they see those players starting to go near the end of the first round.

"If you look at the whole league, everyone talks about the same thing besides one or two teams," NFL Network analyst Marc Ross said. "Everyone, if you listen to games, is talking about they don't have enough offensive linemen and enough quality offensive linemen. That's just because there's not enough good ones around there.

"So, when you have that and since the nature of that position has a lot of injuries as well, it's really incumbent on how good your quarterback is to raise the level of those guys."

Thankfully the Bills have a quarterback in Josh Allen who raises the level of play for everyone on offense.

When looking at IOL for Buffalo at No.25, there have been a couple popular names mocked to the Bills, and one of those players is Zion Johnson (6'3, 312 pounds).

"I drafted them Zion Johnson in my last mock," NFL Network analytics expert Cynthia Frelund said. "I love a good interior o-lineman because I just think that especially with Josh Allen's unique skill set, you just have to keep giving him everything he possibly needs to succeed."

Johnson was a team-captain at Boston College and only allowed one sack during the 2021 season. If he's not available, analysts have also been impressed with Kenyon Green's (6'4, 323 pounds) tape.

"It makes perfect sense to have a Zion Johnson," NFL Network and NFL on CBS analyst Charles Davis said. "What if a Kenyon Green from Texas A&M is sitting there? I think he's the best guard in this draft. If he's sitting there and guard is where you want to go, I'd run to it."

"Kenyon Green, I think, is a phenomenal football player," Yahoo Sports lead NFL draft analyst Eric Edholm said on One Bills Live. "He played everything but center last season. To do four positions in a year, and 'Oh by the way it's Alabama week,' and he has to flip out to left tackle. There's confidence there.

"He's a plus run blocker. I think he's getting better in pass protection. Just that versatility is rare, and I think he'd be a really good starter at guard in the NFL."

Green earned multiple All-America First Team honors and was also a team captain in 2021. Just like the corners, if the Bills decide to go offensive line later than the first, there should still be depth.

"Even if you don't go in the first round, there is depth to be found with these offensive linemen," Davis shared. "I'm going to give you kind of a name that is somewhat not widely known. That's Tyler Smith (6'5, 324 pounds) out of Tulsa, a guard, tackle who I think is going to find his way into the first round in this draft. He's an absolute road grader and your coach Sean McDermott, I do believe, wants to run the ball with more authority going forward."

3. WIDE RECEIVER

It's hard to not be on team give Josh Allen more weapons. Selecting a wide receiver at No. 25 could make the offense more powerful and even more fun to watch. It's already flashy but adding a first rounder to the mix could blow the top off.

Analysts can envision Buffalo going in this direction, and wide receiver has been another popular position mocked to the Bills in the first round.

"It wouldn't shock me if they just said you know what we've got Josh Allen, things are rolling on the offensive side," ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay said on the First Draft podcast. "You can't have enough weapons in today's NFL. It's not the direction that we think, we think cornerback potentially running back but I think wide receiver is kind of the sneaky position to look out for with the Bills in the first two rounds."

Names to look out for here are Jameson Williams (6'1 ½, 179 pounds), Jahan Dotson (5'11, 178 pounds) and Treylon Burks (6'2, 225 pounds). ESPN NFL inside Field Yates can see the Bills choosing a wide receiver in the first round because of what it could do to the offense.

"I know that's been a popular mock draft pairing is the Bills with one of the receivers who could be available at pick No. 25 where they are slated to pick," Yates said on the Bills by the Numbers podcast. "Whether it's Jameson Williams from Alabama or Jahan Dotson from Penn State, any of the number of wide receivers that we think will be available close to that range, it wouldn't stun me. I think the Bills are certainly going to be high-powered and when you have Josh Allen you are basically guaranteed to be high-powered every single year. I would say if you look at this roster it feels as though wide receiver and cornerback have been the two most popular picks for the Bills in the first round."

Williams was a name that popped up frequently for the Bills in February and early March. Although, he's now projected to go before Buffalo is on the clock. The reason Williams slid to late in the first round was because of an ACL injury he suffered during the College Football Playoff National Championship game in January. Injury aside, he's looked at as the best wide receiver in this year's class by many. It's tough not to daydream about how that could help Allen.

"If Jameson Williams were somehow around, I think he's the best wide receiver in this draft class and there's an asterix there because he did have an injury," NFL Network analytics expert Cynthia Frelund said. "But if he were somehow still available, I would love to see him play with Josh Allen."

"Jameson, I doubt he'll be that low of a guy because he's the most explosive receiver in the draft," NFL Network analyst Marc Ross said. "If he's there, they should be running to turn the card in and get him. I think for the Bills with Stefon (Diggs) and I love Gabriel Davis, I had him as the top of the second, bottom of the first round pick so it's not surprising at all to me what he's turned into.

"I think you can get some other players in second and third, some receivers to just kind of step into a role for the Bills and think they don't have to overvalue that position because of those two. There's quality depth still out there that they could kind of go that route."

Similar to cornerback and interior offensive line, if the Bills don't like the options available at No. 25, it seems like there will be enough depth later on to still address wide receiver.

It's hard to predict what will happen on night one of the draft, especially in a year that could have very few quarterbacks selected in the first round. The analysts believe the Bills could go after a corner, interior offensive lineman or a wide receiver at No. 25 and there's reason why getting a first rounder at each of those positions makes sense.

At the end of the day, we can only guess. One thing we can be sure of is the fact that the Bills are in a good place and don't have too many holes to fill on their roster as they approach Thursday night.

"The Bills are really in a great spot," Frelund said. "You have to give Brandon Beane a lot of credit for not just what they've done the past few years but also this offseason. They prioritize their free agents and you can see that because obviously they brought in Von Miller. That's a pretty big add.

"But in addition to that, they're in a spot now where they can take best available. I'm sure their draft board is organized in a way that allows them to maximize whoever's available."

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