Buffalo Bills: Top talent available outside the top 10 picks in 2019 NFL Draft
The Buffalo Bills appear to have an offense that is improving. With that, the team is playing itself out of the top of the 2019 NFL Draft – and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
For much of the 2018 season, the Buffalo Bills have been an infuriating mix of coaching decisions and ineptitude on offense. Through the Nathan Peterman debacle, Kelvin Benjamin continuously playing at a low level, and the struggles of a rookie quarterback, it has appeared the Bills were on their way to a top-five pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
However in the last three weeks, it appears that their course has changed.
Buffalo has won two of its past three games, the offense is scoring points, the offensive line has improved and the receivers have become playmakers. In addition, the schedule appears to be much easier.
The team has games remaining against the Lions, Jets, Dolphins, and the Patriots. Obviously the Patriots are the toughest matchup, but we saw what happened on Monday Night Football where the Bills defense held the mighty New England offense to no touchdowns through three quarters and if Buffalo had any offense, they could have taken that game (maybe). Their other three opponents are all bad.
With all that being said, it seems the team is beginning to turn a corner. The team could finish out of a top-five pick, or even a top-10 pick – and that’s okay.
While Buffalo could use all of the talent they can get, this is an extremely defensive-heavy draft. About 80 percent of the top-10 picks should be defensive players, including names like Nick Bosa, Ed Oliver, Clelin Ferrell, and others. If quarterbacks Justin Herbert and Dwayne Haskins both declare, they could be top-10 picks as well and offensive tackle Jonah Williams will also most likely be a top-10 pick.
Getting an elite defensive player like Bosa or Oliver might be great (especially Oliver replacing Kyle Williams in this defense would be amazing), but the team has bigger needs. Despite the improvement over the last several weeks at receiver, the Bills need a ton of help at the position. While the 2019 draft may not offer a ton of polished talent at receiver, it does have a wealthy of potential.
Of the top talents in the class that have declared, D.K. Metcalf from Ole Miss and N’Keal Harry from Arizona State are my cream of the crop. Both are big, fast, and can have massive catch radiuses. If Metcalf recovers well from his neck injury, he could creep into the top-10, but he should be within the Bills’ range when they draft.
Metcalf is a large man at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds. Despite his massive frame, Metcalf can move. He can run past defenders, jump over them and also get away from them. He is relatively raw in terms of what he has been asked to do from a route-running perspective, but his has elite level talent.
Putting him with another elite athlete like Allen could create one of the premier quarterback-receiver combinations in the NFL – if both can reach their full potentials.
His full display of attributes can be viewed here:
As for Harry, he is another big man. He too is 6-foot-4 but weighs in at 216 pounds. Overall, Harry is strong across the board. He has great size matched with great hands and strong route-running.
One of the best things Harry possesses is his ability after the catch. For such a big man, he can boogie. He is hard to tackle but can still go over a defender to get the ball. He has been my favorite receiver in the class from the beginning of the season and he has put up tons of production throughout his collegiate career – something the Bills would love.
Just a taste of his talents are available here:
Additional playmakers like Riley Ridley (Georgia), JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Kelvin Harmon (NC State), AJ Brown (Ole Miss), and Deebo Samuel (South Carolina) are all viable options at various levels. However, I think Harry and Metcalf are the top two talents in the class.
The Bills could consider other offensive weapons at the tight end position. Charles Clay appears to be at the end of his time with the team and Jason Croom/Logan Thomas haven’t locked down the starting job in Clay’s absence. This class has several high-end tight ends that could help improve the position for the team.
Noah Fant (Iowa), Kaden Smith (Stanford), Dawson Knox (Ole Miss), and Albert Okwuegbunam (Missouri) are all solid players at the position with Fant being the elite talent.
Fant has similar size to Harry and Metcalf at 6-foot-4 and 232 pounds and fits in as a modern-day tight end in the NFL. Elite athleticism makes him a mismatch in the receiving game against linebackers and safeties, but his quickness and strength also make him an above average blocker. He will go within the top-15 and could be one of the best tight ends in the NFL and serve as Allen’s safety net.
Failing to be inside the top-10 isn’t the end of the world for the Bills. However, it isn’t uncommon to see a top talent fall. We saw it last year when Tremaine Edmunds fell to No. 16 for the team to move up and take him and Derwin James landed in Los Angeles the pick after. One or two of the top talents will slide, and the Bills could benefit.
Buffalo improving as a team and being able to draft a position of need while not having to reach is a win-win. The team should be focused on developing Josh Allen, and being able to select a running mate or protection for him in this draft is their top priority. Although it is a small sample size, Allen appears to be taking a big step forward as he looked the part of a growing rookie quarterback against Jacksonville and Miami.
With only a few weeks left in the season, we will find out soon where the Bills will be selecting in next year’s draft. While it may not be where thought it would be a few weeks ago, drafting outside the top-10 may result in more progress than we think.