Buffalo Bills NFL Draft: Grading the 2017 Rookie Class

Sep 3, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; LSU Tigers cornerback Tre'Davious White (18) intercepts a pass intended for Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Robert Wheelwright (15) and returns it for a touchdown in the 3rd quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 3, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; LSU Tigers cornerback Tre'Davious White (18) intercepts a pass intended for Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Robert Wheelwright (15) and returns it for a touchdown in the 3rd quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

The Buffalo Bills grabbed three defensive and three offensive players in this year’s NFL Draft.

The Buffalo Bills had quite a busy draft, despite only having six picks to begin with. They ended up trading most of them up or down to make sure they got the player(s) they needed — wanted. Overall, it was a successful NFL Draft that should see production right away.

The Bills had a lot of needs coming into this draft and did a good job of making sure those were addressed — even though there were some bigger names available to them at times.

To run you through what happened exactly, let’s go through a quick recap of the trades, selections that occurred from Thursday to Saturday:

  • Set to pick at No. 10 in the first round, the Buffalo Bills made a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs. In return for the 10th pick, Buffalo got the 27th pick, as well as a third round draft pick and a 2018 first rounder.
  • Buffalo would select Tre’Davious White at No. 27.
  • In the second round, Buffalo had the 44th overall pick, but once again traded it. This time they moved up to No. 37 and added a fifth round pick, giving away No. 44 and a third round selection to the Los Angeles Rams.
  • After selecting Zay Jones at No. 37, the Buffalo Bills made one more trade back into the 2nd round. Giving away their other third round selection and two fifth round draft picks, the Bills received the Falcons’ second round pick.
  • The Bills selected Dion Dawkins with their second 2nd Round pick. This left them with two fifth round draft picks and a sixth round pick left.
  • With no more trades, the Bills selected Matt Milano, Nathan Peterman and Tanner Vallejo to close out this year’s draft.

Alright, let’s get to the grades for this year’s Buffalo Bills‘ draft class:

A. Coming from LSU, the fact that White wore No. 18 means a lot more than you think. Starting as a joke at LSU, the No. 18 jersey hasn’t been something you pick — it’s something you earn. Given to the player that has the most respect in the locker room and most character, this little joke turned into a tradition. White is a four-year player and wore 18 for two years. That alone makes him a great fit with Sean McDermott. To add to that, White is a great cornerback and will fill a much-needed spot after losing Stephon Gilmore this offseason. He can cover better than anyone in the draft class, with footwork that’ll make your jaw drop. In addition, he’s versatile and McDermott will likely take full advantage of him all over the field. I love this pick, especially after trading down.. CB. LSU. TRE'DAVIOUS WHITE

B+. The Buffalo Bills needed a cornerback, they got one of the best in the draft. The Buffalo Bills needed a wide receiver, they got one of the best in the draft. Zay Jones wasn’t the most talked about receiver in this draft, but he will probably will be in a year or two. Buffalo gets a lot with this selection, but nothing should scare opposing defenses more than the fact that his wide receivers coach in college is now the WR coach in Buffalo. The two set the NCAA record for most catches in a single season (158) and career (399), while also adding 1,746 yards and 8 TD last year. He will be used right away and will likely prove to be a solid replacement for Robert Woods. He’ll help give Tyrod Taylor a reliable hands catcher that can work outside and in the slot. I really like this pick and think having his college WR coach in Buffalo will help him feel more comfortable with the transition — and it will show on the field. Expect a solid rookie year from this young man.. WR. East Carolina. ZAY JONES

OT. Temple. DION DAWKINS. B. The Buffalo Bills needed an offensive tackle to compete for the starting job at RT, they got a player that can do that day-one. As a true freshman at Temple, he started two games before suffering a season-ending foot injury in Week 5. Since then, he has played extremely well at left tackle, being named starter the next three years. He’s a big boy at 6’4” and 314 pounds — can do a handstand — and uses his strength to take advantage of defenders. He’s projected to be a starting-caliber right tackle in the NFL. He has the athletic ability to play tackle, but can even switch to guard and provide good pass protection inside. His technique should translate well in the NFL. I see him earning a starting role by the start of regular season.

Matt Milano will likely be a good fit with McDermott. I don’t see him having a starting role, but will definitely be used on special teams and maybe even situational plays on defense. What he showed in college was extreme toughness and complete savagery. Some scouts have compared his mentality to that of Brian Cushing and comes from a college that produced Luke Kuechly (McDermott coached him in Carolina). In Milano’s junior and senior season, he combined for 118 tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, one interception, two blocked kicks, one blocked punt and two forced fumbles. He’s an explosive playmaker that just wants to hit hard, which is why I see him being a great situational player. I definitely see him making a few big plays on special teams. They might’ve reached for him, but that just means McDermott saw something in him that he liked.. OLB. Boston College. MATT MILANO. C

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A. This pick puts the E.J. Manuel pick to complete shame. Not only does Nathan Peterman have a better chance at succeeding in the NFL, but the Buffalo Bills didn’t have to use a first round draft pick on him. In fact, they didn’t have to use a second, third or fourth rounder. I see this as being one of the bigger steals from the draft. He will be competing for a backup role this season — with T.J. Yates, Cardale Jones and Josh Woodrum — but will definitely make the roster. Looking ahead, Peterman has a chance at replacing Tyrod Taylor if things don’t work out this season. Of course, the Buffalo Bills are hoping it doesn’t come to that, but I think having Peterman will bode well in the future either way. This was a great pick and with some analysts saying he could be one of the more ready quarterbacks out of this class, to get him in the fifth round is great. A four-year player, his experience should transition well — something Buffalo didn’t have with Cardale Jones last season.. QB. Pittsburgh. NATHAN PETERMAN

Boise State. TANNER VALLEJO. B. Tanner Vallejo was a great pickup in the sixth round of the draft. He mostly fell due to injuries he sustained last year, ending his season short due to wrist surgery. When on the field, he’s a tackle machine that pretty much fills the stat sheet. As a freshman, he started 6 games and had 51 tackles, 5.5 for loss and 3 passes defensed. The following year, he exploded in the middle with 100 tackles, 16.5 for loss, 3 sacks, one INT and four passes defensed. Over the next two years, injuries limited him, but he still managed 126 tackles, 14 for loss, 2 forced fumbles and 2 blocked kicks. With what he showed in his sophomore season at middle linebacker, there could be a better spot for him on the Bills’ roster than Matt Milano. If he could prove to be a versatile linebacker, McDermott could find plenty of use for him.. OLB

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What grades do you agree/disagree with? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!