3 former Buffalo Bills the front office gave up on too soon

Despite hitting on a majority of their draft picks, the front office gave up too soon on these three former Bills players.
Minnesota Vikings v Buffalo Bills
Minnesota Vikings v Buffalo Bills / Isaiah Vazquez/GettyImages

Before Brandon Beane came to town, the Buffalo Bills used to miss on a lot of draft picks. Even though they have had a couple of hits, there is more disappointment than success. Ultimately, that played a major role in their 17-year playoff drought. Beane was hired by the Bills after the 2017 NFL Draft but immediately started making an impact by trading players such as Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby for future draft picks. 

The front office has done a great job at finding franchise players that has helped turn around the organization. They found their franchise players at quarterback, left tackle, and potentially edge rusher. At the same time, Buffalo’s front office has missed on picks. It could have been because of lack of talent, too much depth, etc.

While the Bills have managed to build from within, there are four players that were drafted by Buffalo who the front office moved off of too soon. We take a look at those four players who could have kept growing in Buffalo and potentially made an impact, but instead went elsewhere.

OL Wyatt Teller

In the same draft class as Josh Allen, offensive lineman Wyatt Teller was selected in the fifth round out of Virginia Tech. Teller was a backup guard for the Bills but would start the second half of the season. He was part of a unit that was the worst offensive line that Allen has ever had. Before the 2019 season, the Bills traded Teller to the Cleveland Browns for future late round picks. Credit to Beane for getting some value back for Teller, but it would turn out to be a big mistake.

Since arriving in Cleveland, Teller has worked his way up as a fringe star player for the Browns. He played a huge role in helping the Browns establish themselves as a top rushing team in the league. His production was recognized and he was rewarded with a four-year contract extension that was worth over $56 million.

Up until last season, the Bills have had a tough time solidifying their offensive line. Having Teller would have really helped them the last couple of seasons.

RB Zack Moss

In 2020, the Bills were looking to create a 1-2 punch in the backfield with Devin Singletary so they opted to draft running back Zack Moss out of Utah. While Moss showed flashes here and there of his abilities, he was just never given a true chance to display the talent he had. It seemed like whenever he was given the ball, he could not make any kind of big play. The Bills were reliant on Josh Allen’s leg along with getting Singletary involved. That left Moss on the outside looking in, which led to his departure from the Bills.

Moss was traded to the Indianapolis Colts at the 2022 trade deadline and the Bills received running back Nyheim Hines. Last season proved that the Colts had won this trade. After serving as a special teams star for the Bills in 2022, Hines would miss the 2023 season due to a torn ACL he suffered due to a jet ski accident. On the other hand, Moss earned himself some starter time with Jonathan Taylor facing injuries last year.

In only eight starts, Moss capitalized on his opportunity rushing for 794 yards and 5 touchdowns. It was a career year for Moss and it earned him a starting role this upcoming season with the Cincinnati Bengals.

DT Harrison Phillips

The Bills made the right decision to draft Harrison Phillips because it was apparent that Kyle Williams was on his way to retirement after the 2018 season. Phillips was expected to take over the defensive line and bring a physicality aspect to the Bills defense. Instead, Phillips was never able to find his groove with the Bills and Buffalo was more focused on defensive tackle Ed Oliver and his development. Phillips had to deal with a torn ACL he suffered in his second season and he never made the impact that Bills fans had hoped for. However, he had a great leadership presence for the team as well as the Western New York community.

Phillips left Buffalo and signed a three-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings and has had career years the last two seasons in sacks and total tackles. In addition, Phillips managed to stay healthy in both seasons which is a big factor to consider. Maybe the Bills made the right choice to move off of Phillips, but Buffalo could have used Phillips leadership during adversity that they have faced the last two seasons.