Prior to my trade back, the Bills already had two selections in the 5th round, but in this mock draft I added the 150th overall pick to the Bills in the 5th round as well. Although the high rounds are the coveted selections, there is a lot of value in the mid-to-late rounds of this 2021 NFL Draft. Additionally, there is no guarantee that a first rounder will be a better NFL player than a fifth rounder, so why not live with the mindset of quantity over quality in terms of draft picks.
The first of the fifth round picks is 150th overall which I used to select Chuba Hubbard out of Oklahoma State. Hubbard is an electric straight-line runner with a track and field background. With Singletary and Moss highlighting the running back room for the Buffalo Bills, there isn’t a lot of breakaway speed. This was the primary driving force towards adding Hubbard to the Bills running back room.
Next with the 162nd overall pick, I decided to think two steps ahead by drafting Reed Blankenship a safety out of Middle Tennessee. I say two steps ahead because Micah Hyde only has one more year left on his contract. Hyde is a great safety and the Bills should do everything they can to retain him, but as we’ve seen with Milano this offseason nothing is guaranteed. Blankenship is a solid value in the fifth round with great instincts in zone coverage and in run support.
For the last of these fifth round selections, I wanted to look for a guy that can cheaply replace the two roles of Andre Roberts and Isaiah McKenzie with one body and one contract. With Roberts as the return specialist and McKenzie as the gadget guy on offense, the Bills were forced to pay both of them for a role that one player could satisfy. With the 175th overall pick, I selected D’Wayne Eskridge, a wide receiver out of Western Michigan.
At 5’9 and 190 pounds, Eskridge has the athletic profile to contribute as the Bills return specialist and offensive gadget guy right away. The primary concern with Eskridge is his evaluation difficulty due to playing against lower level competition, but he certainly silenced that narrative a bit with his performance during his week at the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
150th overall: Chuba Hubbard – Oklahoma State (Running Back)
162nd overall: Reed Blankenship – Middle Tennessee (Safety)
175th overall: D’Wayne Eskridge – Western Michigan (Wide Receiver)