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Top 5 things we learned from the Bills | 2021 NFL Draft night two


Brandon Beane had a trade in place with an NFC team to move out of the second round on Friday, but only if the one player the Bills had their eye on was no longer available.

Instead, the Bills got their guy in defensive end Boogie Basham with the 61st overall pick. They added offensive tackle Spencer Brown in the third round at No. 93 overall.

"What we try to do prior to the draft is just set us up to take the best player on our board," the Bills general manager said afterward. "That's what we've done."

The Bills hold four picks on Day 3, which begins at noon Saturday: Round 5, Pick 17 (161st overall); Round 5, Pick 30 (174); Round 6, Pick 29 (213); and Round 7, Pick 8 (236).

In the meantime, here are five takeaways from Day 2.

1. Depth added at defensive end

The Bills doubled down on the position after selecting Greg Rousseau with the 30th overall pick during the first round on Thursday. While it was never their goal to take two players on the edge, Beane said they viewed both Rousseau and Basham as too talented to pass up.

"You can never have enough pass rushers," Beane said. "We just felt the value was too good to pass up and we're excited to get it."

Beane identified the pass rush as a position of need going into the offseason. Buffalo tied for 15th in the NFL with 38 sacks last season and recorded three QB hits during its AFC Championship loss to Kansas City. Two weeks later – albeit behind an injured offensive line – Mahomes was hit nine times during a Super Bowl loss to Tampa Bay.

"Tampa did a heck of a job against Kansas City in that game and really did a nice job of making Mahomes move off his spot," Beane said. "That was probably as big a difference as anything in the outcome of the game and we wanted to definitely get better there this offseason."

Rousseau and Basham both come with experience playing on the inside as well as on the edge and add competition to a defensive end group that includes veterans Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison, 2020 second-round pick A.J. Epenesa, and 2019 seventh-round pick Darryl Johnson.

Basham said he got to know Rousseau during the draft process and sounded eager to get to work.

"I love competing," he said. "… There's definitely going to be a lot of competition."

2. A Bills connection for Basham

Basham said he was friends with Epenesa prior to this year and has been in touch regarding the Bills. Those talks, combined with his pre-draft chats with Bills coaches and management, painted a picture of a franchise he wanted to be part of.

"They're definitely a hard-nosed defense," he said. "Just watching them guys, even when I played Madden, I play with the Bills. That defense, that's just something I just really love. I'm definitely glad I'm part of it. That's just the main thing I was thinking about whatever was going through my head, a dream finally come true. Things are starting to take over."

3. A "surreal" moment for Brown

Video of Brown receiving his phone call from the Bills quickly surfaced on social media, depicting a raucous, emotional scene inside his garage in his hometown Lenox, Iowa. Check it out in the above tweet.

Brown said it only got better from there.

"About five minutes after the pick the whole town kind of just showed up my front lawn so it's a good group right now," he said.

That's not so far-fetched. Brown estimates Lenox has a population of about 1,300 people. He played eight-man football in high school, doubling as a tight end and defensive lineman who led the state with 17 sacks as a senior. He received one Division-I offer, from FCS Northern Iowa, and committed without even seeing the campus.

"I was super lucky and grateful to play football," he said. "I was never the kid in high school, or even college like 'I'm going to the NFL.' I had a lot of short-term goals and then they ended up [becoming] a long-term goal like sitting here tonight, being selected by Buffalo."

4. Brown caught Bills' attention at Senior Bowl

Brown was selected as a preseason FCS All-American before the 2020 season was postponed to spring 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He rejected transfer offers from Big Ten and Big 12 schools out of loyalty to Northern Iowa and instead spent seven months training in California with Joe Staley, the former offensive tackle who was selected to six Pro Bowls as a member of San Francisco.

It all culminated in an appearance at the Senior Bowl, which stood as his first real chance to prove himself against top-end competition.

"I learned that there's a lot of really good players out there that I haven't seen before and I'm anxious to get back out there and get in the mix with them again," Brown said.

"I love the competition. (Notre Dame defensive end) Daelin Hayes put me on my butt one time and I got back up. I'm like, 'Let's go.' That's what I needed, a little kick in the butt, someone to challenge me. So, I'm looking forward to going to Buffalo and getting challenged every day."

His performance was enough to earn the Bills' attention.

"The thing I admired was some guys got invited to the Senior Bowl that didn't play this year and didn't want to do it," Beane said. "They just turned down the invitation, and that was a little bit of a caution for me.

"Spencer, even though he didn't play (during the season), he took the opportunity. He met the competition. He played really well, and he caught our eye at the Senior Bowl. It wasn't too big for him. We were happy that he was still around at our pick."

5. Bills stay true to their board

Asked about not selecting a cornerback, Beane said the Bills had high values on certain players who were already taken by the time they were on the clock. In Rousseau, Basham, and Brown, they took the top player available on their board with each pick.

"We still got more picks," Beane said. "We'll see what happens. Maybe there's a corner that falls into our lap there. And again, it's a long time until we play in September. There's going to be more corners out there between now and August, and again in September. We've got a lot of time before we play the first regular season game."

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