Buffalo Bills: Seven moves the Bills should explore this summer
Let the later-round rookies play
The team drafted several rookies that could be impact players in year one. Their first three picks of Josh Allen, Tremaine Edmunds and Harrison Phillips will all make impacts this season, but I really like the later-round players the team selected and the upside they all offer.
Cornerback Taron Johnson was the team’s fourth-round pick and he should be in immediate contention to be the team’s slot corner. While he may not earn the starting spot immediately, he should be given every chance to. His abilities make him a solid fit for the slot role and it could help solidify the position for years.
Wyatt Teller was the first of the team’s two fifth-round picks and could easily be a starter come August. With the wide open competition on the interior of the offensive line and Teller’s above average run/pass-blocking abilities, it is a perfect storm for Teller to be a day-one player. Both guard positions are wide open and ready for the taking. Teller could combine with Dion Dawkins to help build a youthful offensive line.
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The second of the two fifth-round picks in Siran Neal played both safety and linebacker in college. Defenses are now going smaller and faster, and Neal can fill two voids at once.
He could be next in line of a generation of safeties converting to linebacker and helping out on passing downs.
Thomas Davis of the Carolina Panthers played safety in college and is now one of the better coverage linebackers in the NFL.
McDermott could work Neal into the same type of role, especially to spell Lorenzo Alexander on third downs.
Sixth-round pick Ray-Ray McCloud should be the team’s starting kick and punt returner right now. Brandon Tate wasn’t re-signed and McCloud has tons of experience in the kick return department, meaning he is a natural replacement.
On offense, he could also add another wrinkle to Brian Daboll’s scheme and be a gadget player for the Bills.
The team’s final pick of the draft, Austin Proehl, should have a chance to win the starting slot receiver role. While he was a seventh-round pick, he runs solid routes and is quick off the line. His main competition at the position is Jeremy Kerley and I can see a scenario where he is beaten out.
Proehl is similar to the type of players that New England has play the slot position, and Daboll is bringing the Erhardt-Perkins system to the Bills in which the Patriots currently run. It turns out that Proehl may be more than just a late-round flyer.
Each of the eight draft picks that the team selected in April should get a shot to start. In each area, the team selected for need but also a player that has the potential to make an immediate impact.