Buffalo Bills NFL Draft History: Re-Drafting the first round picks since 2010

Greg Rousseau, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Greg Rousseau, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /
4 of 11
Buffalo Bills
Josh Allen, Tremaine Edmunds, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports) /

Buffalo Bills 2018 First Round Picks: Josh Allen & Tremaine Edmunds

The first round of the 2018 NFL Draft will live on in history for the Buffalo Bills. After years of struggle under center, the team landed franchise QB Josh Allen, as well as two-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.

After two up-and-down seasons to start, Allen has become one of the premier players in football. He finished second in MVP voting in 2020, was selected to the Pro Bowl that year, and has set numerous Bills records in the process, including TD passes, total TDs, and passing yards in a season.

After just four seasons, Allen has more rushing TDs (31) and rushing yards (2,325) than any other QBs in Bills history. During his tenure in Buffalo, Allen has lifted the Bills to three consecutive postseason berths and back-to-back division titles in 2020 and 2021.

Allen is also the only QB in league history to have more than 100 TD passes and 30 TD rushes in his first four seasons. And he only got better in the late stages in 2021 — the Wyoming product’s 149.0 passer rating was the highest for any signal-caller in any single postseason.

On the flipside, Edmunds has been a more polarizing figure. The Virginia Tech product has been highly productive, as he’s totaled 108 tackles or more in each of his four pro seasons. But as a raw prospect coming out, there have been parts of his game that have been slow to develop.

Edmunds has missed 10 or more tackles in each season, he’s allowed a passer rating of 110.2 over the past two seasons, and he’s never recorded a PFF grade above 60.6. Edmunds’ ratings in 2020 (47.9 grade) and 2021 (50.4) have been the lowest of his career thus far.

That’s a part of why Edmunds hasn’t landed his big payday yet. He’s got to prove he’s worth a deal similar to the ones Darius Leonard and Fred Warner got.

Were these the right picks? 

Allen seems like a no-brainer at this point. Tying for second in total TDs accounted for, ranking fifth in passing yards, third in rushing yards and TDs for a QB since 2020, as well as posting a 68.7 QBR in that span, Allen has cemented himself as a franchise cornerstone with his dual-threat ability.

But Edmunds still has some questions to answer. Although he’s put up some steady numbers, his play on the field will need to provide more if he anticipates signing a long-term deal beyond 2022. His rangy 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame gives him an athletic advantage over most LBs in the game.

The question, however, is can Edmunds match his play with his elite physical gifts?

Who could the Buffalo Bills have taken?

Considering the wonders that he’s done, Bills Mafia would be outraged if Allen was retroactively given up for any other player. As far as QBs go, the only other that Buffalo could have conceivably considered instead of Allen would have been Lamar Jackson.

With two Pro Bowl campaigns and the 2019 NFL MVP award, Jackson would have been an intriguing fit in Buffalo. And with a first-round that featured five QBs being selected, Allen and Jackson are the clear-cut No. 1 and No. 2 players at their position from that draft.

But at this stage of the game, I’m sure most Bills fans would rather have Allen.

As for Edmunds, it’s hard to ignore the two names I mentioned earlier with Leonard and Warner, especially with them going in the second and third rounds, respectively. Leonard was the Defensive Rookie of the Year, a three-time Pro Bowler, and has been an All-Pro in all four of his seasons in the NFL. Warner was a first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowler in 2020 and he helped San Francisco reach the Super Bowl in 2019.

Although Edmunds has made a name for himself in the NFL, Leonard or Warner lining up in Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier’s defense could have been transformative for the Bills.