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) /
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Buffalo Bills
Tre’Davious White, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports) /

Buffalo Bills 2017 First Round Pick: Tre’Davious White

In five NFL seasons, White has become one of the top cornerbacks in football. He earned two All-Pro selections in 2019 and 2020, and his six INTs in ’19 led the NFL. His 15 picks from 2017-20 rank sixth overall in the league in that span.

Over the last four years, the LSU product never allowed a completion rate above 57%, and he’s had two seasons where he’s yielded a passer rating below 60. And his 60 passes defended since being drafted in ’17 are tied for seventh-most in the NFL, despite missing the last six games of 2021 with a torn ACL.

The two-time Pro Bowler is a tremendous player on the field, but he’s also a huge locker room presence and he’s very invested in the Buffalo community. In Sean McDermott’s first draft at the helm, he was able to land a franchise CB who’s been nothing short of sensational as a professional.

Was this the right pick? 

White will forever be linked to Patrick Mahomes because the Bills traded back to take KC’s No. 27 pick, while the Chiefs moved up to take the future Super Bowl and NFL MVP. So Bills fans have to weigh the scenario like this; would you rather have Mahomes, with the uncertainty of not securing a top-flight CB, or do you stick with this pick and eventually pick Allen in 2018?

Some fans I’m sure would want to take Mahomes. But as quickly as Allen has closed the gap on the best QB in the AFC debate, I’m sure a strong contingent would take the combo of White and Allen, rather than Mahomes and whoever the team would have taken instead.

I think it’s safe to say the Bills did make a good move here in hindsight. All-Pro corners don’t just grow on trees.

Who could the Buffalo Bills have taken?

If the Bills had stayed at No. 10, two players they could have considered were fellow corners Marshon Lattimore and Marlon Humphrey. Both players have been uber-successful, as they’ve combined for six Pro Bowl selections, as well as Humphrey earning an All-Pro nod (2019) and the Defensive Rookie of the Year award for Lattimore (2017).

While I do believe both players have an edge on White as man-to-man cornerbacks, White has been a seamless fit in Buffalo’s zone-based system. It’s allowed him to read the field as a ball hawk and cover up for a lack of elite speed.

Now if the Bills followed through on that trade and went with the No. 27 pick, they could have had other successful corners like Chidobe Awuzie or Kenny Moore II. But there were a few other names that stood out.

First is T.J. Watt. The 2021 Defensive Player of the Year tied the NFL’s single-season sack record last year, as he’s earned three straight All-Pro nods, led the NFL in sacks in consecutive seasons (2020, 2021), and has had at least 13 sacks in each of the last four years.

Alvin Kamara was also drafted after the Bills took White. The former Tennessee and Alabama RB has redefined the position with his skills as a receiver. His 373 receptions and 3,263 receiving yards are tops in the game for any back since 2017, as he also is atop the NFL in total TDs (68) since entering the league.

Lastly, Cooper Kupp was the lowest selected of these All-Pros as the No. 69 pick to the Los Angeles Rams. He’s totaled 90 or more catches in each of the last three seasons, but the 2021 campaign was his finest hour.

The Eastern Washington product led the NFL in catches (145), receiving yards (1,947), and receiving TDs (16), capturing the triple crown — just the fourth occurrence in NFL history and the league’s first since Steve Smith in 2005.