Should Buffalo Bills avoid linebacker in first round based on recent trends?

Buffalo Bills, Tremaine Edmunds (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Buffalo Bills, Tremaine Edmunds (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

The Buffalo Bills lost a key part of their defense this offseason with Tremaine Edmunds signing with the Chicago Bears. The former first round pick has been the starter for the past five years and now Sean McDermott, in his first year as play-caller for the defense, will have a new linebacker on the field.

There is a case to be made that the middle linebacker position is the biggest question mark on the roster but even though it is a pressing concern, it doesn’t mean that the team should use their first round pick.

As ESPN’s Matt Miller tweeted, the success rate of linebackers in the first round over the past seven years hasn’t been great. In fact, Tremaine Edmunds has a case to be the best linebacker drafted in the first round during this stretch alongside Roquan Smith.

Some of the other names on this list could give the Buffalo Bills front office pause if they are considering selecting a linebacker at 27th in the first round. Jarrad Davis, the only linebacker drafted in 2017, has already played for four teams in his NFL career.

In fact, the only linebacker who signed an extension with the team that drafted him was Leighton Vander Esch. However, it was far from a big contract as he signed a one-year prove-it type contract for $2 million after the Cowboys didn’t pick up his fifth-year option.

Buffalo Bills should address other positions in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft

Of the 15 linebackers drafted in the first round since 2017, seven of them were drafted in the 20s of the first round. The Buffalo Bills are in that range with their first round pick at 27 and there are some options like Trenton Simpson and Drew Sanders.

The recent trend among first round linebackers should be enough justification for the Buffalo Bills to find the best player available in the first round regardless of position.

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