Buffalo Bills: Brandon Beane has had success in later rounds of NFL Draft

Brandon Beane, Buffalo Bills (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Brandon Beane, Buffalo Bills (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Buffalo Bills have been successful on Day 3 since Brandon Beane joined the franchise

While first-round picks are usually all the rage in the NFL draft, many teams build the foundation for their roster in the late rounds. From the fourth round to the seventh, many great players have been discovered – Jerry Kramer, Dick LeBeau, Shannon Sharpe, and even Tom Brady, just to name a few. The later rounds of the draft are the sweet spot to find hidden gems that will become big contributors in the future.

With that in mind, how has Bills general manager Brandon Beane fared when it comes to drafting past the third round and beyond? Ever since taking the helm, Beane has made a total of 18 late-round draft picks. Of course, not every pick he’s made has been a hit, but he’s found plenty of value regardless.

Take for instance slot corner Taron Johnson, who was drafted in the 4th round of the 2018 draft. Johnson is currently the team’s starting nickel cornerback and has become one of Buffalo’s more reliable playmakers. He has been paid well for his efforts, earning a contract extension worth $24 million during the 2021 season.

Another notable fourth-rounder is Gabriel Davis, who was selected by Beane in the 2020 draft. Davis has been one of Josh Allen’s more reliable targets, accumulating over 500 yards receiving in his first two seasons. His star shined the most during the 2021 playoffs when he racked up 242 yards and five touchdowns in just two games.

With Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley both out of town, many expect Davis to have a much bigger role in the Bills’ offense. Sanders sees the former UCF standout as “Pro Bowl-caliber”, so it will be interesting to see if Davis can one day live up to the billing.

Late rounds are typically the perfect time to find a kicker, and the Bills found one in Tyler Bass. Drafted two rounds later than Davis in 2020, Bass has set a few franchise records on his way to becoming an elite kicker. He kicked six field goals in the Bills’ 18-10 victory over the New York Jets in 2020, tying Steve Christie. His 141-point total in 2020 was also the ever scored by a Bills player. He also has an NFL record, too – the longest field goal made by a rookie kicker, having made a 54-yarder.

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Every NFL draft has its fair share of gems in the later rounds. Some go on to become starters, or even Hall-of-Fame players, while others serve as valuable rotation players. And this year, the 2022 NFL Draft will be no different. It’s up to Beane to find impact players that can not only become contributors but can also help build a solid foundation for the Buffalo Bills in the years to come.