Since taking the helm in May 2017, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane has changed the fate of the Buffalo Bills franchise for the better.
For good reason, Bills fans have been cautious in trusting front office personnel; an 18 year playoff drought with no end in sight haunted the Bills faithful. In Brandon Beane’s first year as general manager, the drought was over.
Great news, we’ve gotten over the hump.
But… We just drafted Josh Allen? With Josh Rosen still on the board? Yes, and witnessing the rise of Josh Allen had solidified true love and trust between the Bills fanbase and their GM.
Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane has done a great job turning around the franchise, but the first round has been a toss-up
The turnaround of this franchise should not go unnoticed, but it’s time to acknowledge that Beane has made some quietly-mediocre first-round picks in the NFL Draft following the Josh Allen masterclass. Here is every Brandon Beane first round pick, graded.
Round 1, Pick 7: Josh Allen
Not much needs to be said here. Buffalo’s first franchise quarterback since the 1990’s, Josh Allen is a top three quarterback in the National Football League. The best player from the 2018 draft class has posted 3,087 rushing yards, 18,397 passing yards, 177 total touchdowns and led the Bills to four-straight playoff appearances with 10-plus win seasons in each campaign.
Round 1, Pick 16: Tremaine Edmunds
Tremaine Edmunds has been consistently good, but not great, with the Bills since being drafted as a 19-year-old in 2018. The growth is undeniable as he’s solidified himself as a true leader on the defensive side of the ball posting 565 total tackles, 6.5 sacks and 5 interceptions in five seasons of work.
Good numbers for a young middle linebacker, yet there’s an absence of that true game changing feel from Edmunds that you feel when watching guys like Fred Warner or Roquan Smith. Edmunds is due for a big pay day this off-season, and I expect Brandon Beane to re-sign the middle linebacker to a long-term deal. If he walks away, this pick will go from a strong ‘B’ to a disappointing ‘C.’
Notable players available: Jaire Alexander, Nick Chubb, DJ Chark, Fred Warner, Mark Andrews
Round 1, Pick 9: Ed Oliver
A draft class stacked with receiver talent through all seven rounds raises some question marks for this 9th overall selection. Ed Oliver is a fan favorite in Buffalo, and has shown flashes of greatness in his four seasons as a Bill, but at an underwhelming 6 ‘1, 287 lbs, Oliver lacks the physical attributes of a truly dominant defensive tackle in the Nation Football League.
The University of Houston product has produced 151 total tackles, 14.5 sacks, 30 tackles for loss, and 4 forced fumbles in 62 games. Now imagine pairing Josh Allen with Deebo Samuel, A.J Brown or DK Metcalf. Of course, each of those playmakers’ stock was significantly lower than it is today, but seeing those names in the present day makes you scratch your head a little bit.
Notable players available: Dexter Lawrence, Josh Jacobs, Deebo Samuel, A.J Brown, Miles Sanders, DK Metcalf, Terry McLaurin
Round 1, Pick Pick 30: Gregory Rousseau
It’s safe to say that this 6’7″ 266-pound wide receiver-turned-defensive end was selected as a “project.” After transitioning into a pass rusher in his 2019 redshirt freshman season, Rousseau forced 2 fumbles, made 54 total tackles and 15.5 sacks before opting out of the 2020 college football season. Rousseau is developing into a reliable pass rusher for the Bills posting 8 sacks through 13 games in 2022, so look for him to take another big step in 2023.
Notable players available: Landon Dickerson, Creed Humphrey, Amon-Ra St. Brown
Round 1, Pick 23: Kaiir Elam
When a sixth-round pick (Christian Benford) beats out a first-round pick, unfortunately it says more about the first rounder’s status than the sixth. It’s way too early to call Kaiir Elam a draft bust, but the 23rd overall selection started only 6 regular season games in 2022 despite a consistently injured secondary.
In 13 total games, Elam put together an underwhelming 41 total tackles and 2 interceptions. That’s simply not good enough for a first-round draft pick, and unless we see Sean McDermott place more trust in the young corner in 2023, we can seal this up as Brandon Beane’s biggest first round miss in his tenure.
Notable players available: George Karlaftis, Christian Watson, Breece Hall, Kenneth Walker III, George Pickens, Brian Robinson Jr.