Prior to Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane, the Buffalo Bills were not considered to be a team that excelled when it came to the NFL Draft. During their playoff drought, they were a team that missed more times than not, especially in the first round.
However, for the most part, the Bills have gotten their first-round picks right over the past four years. According to Pro Football Focus, they are actually the third-best team in picking in the first round over the past ten years with Josh Allen, Tre’Davious White and Stephon Gilmore picked as their best selections.
Unfortunately, the Bills no longer benefit from Gilmore’s talents, but that doesn’t make their decision to take him with the 10th overall pick in the 2012 draft any less sharp. Credit is also due for snagging two absolute studs in Allen (No. 7) and White (No. 27) outside of the top five picks.
In addition to those three players, Pro Football Focus also notes that players like Marcell Dareus, Tremaine Edmunds, and running back C.J. Spiller have had positive WAR (wins above replacement) per season.
In terms of some of the worst first round picks they have made over this stretch, they mention EJ Manuel who was the first round pick in 2015, and Shaq Lawson, who was selected in 2016.
At the time, Manuel was viewed as a potential franchise quarterback but injuries and inconsistent play limited him during his time with Buffalo. The Bills didn’t pick up his fifth-year option and he spent one season with the Raiders and two months after signing with the Kansas City Chiefs announced his retirement.
As for Shaq Lawson, the Bills didn’t pick up his fifth-year option either and he left in free agency last offseason. He signed a multi-year contract with the Miami Dolphins however he spent only one season with the Dolphins. Lawson was traded this offseason to the Houston Texans.
The Buffalo Bills will be looking to continue this successful trend in the 2021 NFL Draft at the end of the month when they are slated to select 30th overall in the first round.