Lukas Van Ness – Edge, Iowa
Van Ness is a powerful edge rusher, who has occasionally lined up on the interior of the defensive line during his time at Iowa. This type of position versatility is something the Bills have valued under GM Brandon Beane and Head Coach Sean McDermott.
Van Ness is the type of high-upside player who could return significant value no matter where he is drafted. At one time, Van Ness was thought to be among the top ten players in this year’s draft.
ESPN still ranks Van Ness as the second overall defensive end in this class (after Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson), and the fifteenth overall prospect. However, due to concerns about consistency on his tape and his athletic testing at the combine, Van Ness is now falling in mocks to the late first round.
If Van Ness is still on the board around pick 20, Beane may consider trading up to get a truly elite prospect at a value. Beane has said that he is more likely to trade down out of the first round, however he himself admits that this is not his M.O. saying:
"“I’ll tell you, if I was in Vegas right now putting money down, I would say if we were going to do anything, it’d be more likely to go back then go up. But listen, you’re talking to a guy who gets antsy at times and goes up and gets guys so Vegas probably would still go against what I just suggested.“"
Additionally, this type of pre-draft rhetoric may just be smoke in order to not give away the Buffalo Bills draft plan. There is no reason to think with Beane’s history that if the right player falls he will not be opportunistic to trade up again this year.