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What they’re saying: Bills earn top grades from NFL Draft analysts

DT Ed Oliver (10), OL Cody Ford (74) and TE Tommy Sweeney (89).
DT Ed Oliver (10), OL Cody Ford (74) and TE Tommy Sweeney (89).

Grade = A-

Buffalo got nice value in the top 10 by eschewing trade offers to take Oliver. He can play inside or outside for the Bills because of his athleticism, putting pressure on quarterbacks and disrupting run plays on a regular basis. … Vosean Joseph provides speed at the second level, which the Bills needed. Jaquan Joseph is a pure football player who isn't big or fast but instinctual -- he'll play for a long time. Finding Sweeney in the seventh round really bolstered the thin TE depth chart.

Grade = A-

… Rebuilding the offensive line was Buffalo’s biggest overall objective entering this offseason. With second-rounder Cody Ford likely to step in at right tackle (putting free agent pickup Ty Nsekhe in a more-fitting backup swing tackle role), the Bills have revamped everywhere except at Dion Dawkins’s left tackle spot. Hopefully that gives what should be a run-first offense the blocking dimension to compete. …

"Every team in the AFC East had a good draft, but the Bills seem to have had the best haul of the group." Mark Maske, Washington Post

Grade = A-

Landing DT Ed Oliver at No. 9 may prove a steal for an underrated defense that could now garner deserved attention with ability like his to produce more highlights. After that, GM Brandon Beane returned to his task of upgrading the supporting cast around second-year QB Josh Allen, adding a quality blocker (Cody Ford) a needed tight end (Dawson Knox) and an infusion of youth and ability (Devin Singletary) to an antiquated running back room. This club might be sneaky good in 2019.

Grade = A-

Every team in the AFC East had a good draft, but the Bills seem to have had the best haul of the group. The Jets, Bills and Dolphins grabbed first-round DTs, putting the Patriots’ offensive line on notice. The Bills got the best bargain with theirs; Ed Oliver fell to them at No. 9. Second-rounder Cody Ford will help the offensive line, and both third-rounders, RB Devin Singletary and TE Dawson Knox, could be playmaking contributors to aid second-year QB Josh Allen.

"Overall, no other AFC East team did more to close the gap to New England." The Score

Grade = A-

The Bills stood pat at ninth overall and still managed to land Oliver, an undersized game-breaking defensive tackle who's been compared to Aaron Donald. He not only fills a big need but was easily the best player on the board, and could push a stacked Buffalo defense back into the elite tier. Ford is an elite athlete whose versatility will be a big asset. Adding youth to the geriatric backfield of Frank Gore and LeSean McCoy was a must; Singletary isn't the best athlete but will bring toughness to the rushing attack. Knox fills a massive hole at tight end, but he'll need significant time to develop. Overall, no other AFC East team did more to close the gap to New England.

Grade = B+

The offseason priority in Buffalo was clear: help second-year quarterback Josh Allen. … That's why I liked what Buffalo did with its first four picks, using three on players who will directly make Allen's life easier. … They reportedly liked Cody Ford enough to try to trade into the first round, but they ended up getting the guard/tackle at No. 38. He's a mauler in the run game, and I thought he could go in the top 20 picks. … This was a really solid first two days, headlined by Oliver, though I was surprised there was no receiver in the class. If (Dawson) Knox becomes a threat in the receiving game -- and if Allen keeps developing -- I like where the offense is headed.

Grade = B+

Some questionable picks in the top eight caused defensive tackle Ed Oliver to drop into Buffalo’s waiting hands. A three-technique defensive tackle was one of the Bills’ big needs, and they got a potential star in the Houston product. … The team then maneuvered to target the offensive line, taking Cody Ford, who can play guard or tackle, at No. 38. … Dawson Knox at No. 96 wasn’t bad consolation for missing on the early tight ends. He needs to be developed, but he has starter potential. Running back Devin Singletary gives the Bills a solid player, if this is LeSean McCoy’s last season in Buffalo. Safety Jaquan Johnson, taken in the sixth round, is a solid addition. At this time a year ago he was expected to potentially become a top 100 pick.

Grade = B

Brandon Beane, in essence, got two first-rounders in Oliver and Ford. Knox and Sweeney improve the security-blanket options for Josh Allen. Even in an aging backfield, Singletary can carve out a key role in not too long a time.

Grade = Above average

If given the opportunity to work as a true three-technique in the NFL, (Ed) Oliver is going to be a game-wrecker. … Buffalo got somewhat a steal in former Oklahoma offensive tackle Cody Ford — PFF’s No. 22 overall player in the class — at pick No. 38 on Friday. … Though Buffalo was without a fourth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the team’s brass still snagged a top-100 player on PFF’s board in the fifth in former Florida linebacker Vosean Joseph. A freakish athlete that will likely need to add weight to his frame at the next level, Joseph is a high-ceiling coverage linebacker that lacks consistency.

"The Bills have been slowly adding through the draft, and needed one big draft to make a big leap. Maybe this class will be what Buffalo needed." Frank Schwab, Yahoo Sports

Teams that improved the most – Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills earned all the high grades they're receiving for their draft class. It's a high-impact group of players that could help produce instant improvement on both sides of the ball.

Ed Oliver is a dominant interior disruptor who had no business being available at No. 9. He's going to make a ton of plays along their defensive front. Cody Ford was widely considered a first-round talent and should be a plug-and-play offensive lineman wherever the Bills need him up front. Devin Singletary and Dawson Knox provide athleticism and playmaking ability at running back and tight end, respectively.

The Bills could have stopped their draft right there and still been a winner. It's possible Oliver and Ford will singlehandedly drive the most improvement in 2019, because there's still a lot of value in being able to pressure the opponent's quarterback and protect your own.

Winners – Buffalo Bills

Sometimes you play the board, sometimes the board plays you, and sometimes the board drops your way and you don’t have to do much of anything at all. While Ed Oliver wasn’t going to fit in every defense, he fits perfectly in Buffalo. The fact that versatile offensive lineman Cody Ford was available in the second was simply kismet. While drafting a receiver would have placed a cherry on top of the sundae, this is a draft good for both coach and quarterback.

Winners – Buffalo Bills

The Bills found a lot of value, especially with their first two picks. …The Bills have been slowly adding through the draft, and needed one big draft to make a big leap. Maybe this class will be what Buffalo needed.

With the 2019 NFL Draft officially underway, follow along with the Buffalo Bills to find out which players the team selects. Bills draft coverage is presented by ECMC.

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