Re-grading the Buffalo Bills 2023 draft report card a year later

Buffalo Bills
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Over the years Brandon Beane has done very well drafting impact players in the later rounds of the NFL Draft. The 2022 rookie class was a good example of that, finding Khalil Shakir in the fifth round and cornerback Christian Benford in the sixth. You could throw in linebacker Terrel Bernard as a mid-round gem too. Interestingly enough, last year's draft was the exact opposite. The Bills have had some early-round misses, but in 2023 Beane nailed the first and second-round picks.

Buffalo Bills 2023 first round selection

The Bills' first-round selection of tight end Dalton Kincaid has the potential to become one of the greatest picks in Bills' history. Kincaid set multiple rookie records, including the most receptions by a rookie regardless of position. As it stands now, it looks like he will become a focal point of the Bills offense and one of Josh Allen's main weapons. As a rookie, he recorded 73 receptions and 673 yards, but only two touchdowns. I expect all these numbers to increase in 2024 and become the first tight end in Bills lore to surpass 1,000 yards. He fell just short of the record for most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season. That mark, a mere 726 yards set by Paul Costa in 1967, seems well within reach this coming season.

Buffalo Bills 2023 second round selection

The Bills' second-round pick of guard O'Cyrus Torrence helped anchor the best offensive line Buffalo has had in Coach McDermott. The Bills line cracked Pro Football Focus's top five best offensive lines in 2023 and Torrence was a big part of that. He struggled a bit more down the stretch, but that is often the case with rookies as they transition from the shorter college season to the NFL season. Torrence played 1,163 snaps, second most of any lineman in the league. He allowed only three sacks all season and committed six penalties, which ranked him tenth best. I expect him to take another step next season and become one of the more dominant guards in the league.

The rest of the Bills 2023 draft class

After those first two picks, things drop off quite a bit; however, the jury is still out on third-round linebacker Dorian Williams and sixth-round wide receiver Justin Shorter. Many fans are high on Shorter, but he spent most of 2023 on IR and never saw the field during the regular season. His size, 6'4", 223 pounds is the physically imposing presents fans are clamoring for. With Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis out, Shorter will get every opportunity in 2024 to earn significant playing time.

We saw a little of Dorian Williams last season, and his aggressive play on the field stood out. He plays fast and isn't afraid to make mistakes. His decisions are quick, with little hesitation and he brings the anger with every tackle. That aggressiveness got him in trouble at times, being out of position, but that should improve in 2024. The Bills will need him to take that next step in his development to provide solid depth behind starters Matt Milano and Terrel Bernard.

The Bills' final two picks in the 2023 class, both in the seventh round, are not on the team. Buffalo placed them both on the practice squad and both were scooped up by the Houston Texans, cornerback Alex Austin, and guard Nick Broeker. Austin is now with the New England Patriots and Broeker is still on the Texans roster.

Buffalo Bills final 2023 NFL Draft grade one year later: B+


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