In my last piece, I discussed the possibilities the Buffalo Bills have with the 30th pick. Whether the Bills decide to keep the pick and select a player or trade the pick, there most likely will be options available for them.
General Manager Brandon Beane is heading into his fourth draft for the Bills. With about two weeks until the NFL’s Christmas, this is a good time to look back at the history of his drafts. We will go through all the picks and trades made under him.
One of the biggest trades happened before the draft even started. In March, Beane pulled off a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals to move from pick 21 to pick 12 and a sixth-round pick. That trade included starting left tackle Cordy Glenn and fifth-round pick going to the Bengals. This move would help the Bills jump into the top ten to select their franchise quarterback.
On draft day, the Bills traded with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They send pick 12 (DT Via Vea), second-round picks 53 (DB MJ Stewert), and 56 (CB Duke Dawson) for picks 7 and 255. The Bills selected quarterback Josh Allen and Austin Proehl.
The Bills were not done wheeling and dealing in the first round. They traded picks 22 (LB Rashaan Evans) and second-round pick 65 (OT Brandon Parker) with the Tennessee Titans for picks 15 and 154. They selected linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and safety Siran Neal.
7. QB Josh Allen (A+)
16. LB Tremaine Edmunds (A-)
96. DT Harrison Phillips(B-)
121. CB Taron Johnson (B)
154. S Siran Neal (D)
166. OL Wyatt Teller (B+)
187. WR Ray-Ray McCloud (D)
255. WR Austin Proehl (F)
Overall grade: A
The Bills were able to find their franchise quarterback in Josh Allen. Allen was not a popular pick at the time but he has proved the draft critics wrong. In 2020, he lead the Bills to the AFC Championship Game and played at an MVP level. Edmunds has been a leader on the defense and still showing that he is improving. Phillips and Johnson are nice pieces on the defense.
Neal, McCloud, and Proehl did not make an impact on the roster. Teller turned out to be a Pro Bowl guard, but not for the Bills; he was traded to the Cleveland Browns in 2019.
On draft day, the Bills traded picks 40 (CB Travon Mullen) and 158 (CB Micheal Jackson) for pick 38. The Bills selected offensive lineman Cody Ford.
They were not done making deals on day two of the draft. Trading picks 112 (RB Bryce Love) and 131 (OL Wes Martin) to the Washington Football Team for pick 96. The Bills selected tight end, Dawson Knox.
9. DT Ed Oliver(B)
38. OL Cody Ford(B-)
74. RB Devin Singletary(B-)
96. TE Dawson Knox(B)
147. LB Vosean Joseph(D)
181. S Jauan Johnson(C)
225. DE Darryl Johnson(C+)
228 TE Tommy Sweeney(D)
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) June 11, 2019
Overall grade: B-
The Bills found a couple of nice pieces for the team in this draft, but none of the players have to this point shown to be a difference-maker. Oliver has shown bright spots in games, but he’s not constant enough that a top ten pick should be. Ford has had some injuries that have hampered his development and will be moving inside to guard.
Singletary and Knox are have shown promise, but like Oliver, not constant enough game in and game out. Both Johnson’s have been solid in special teams and with getting more of a role in 2021 with the defense.
Traded a first-round pick 22 (WR Justin Jefferson), fifth-round pick 155 (LB Trevis Gipson), sixth-round pick 207 (WR James Proche), and a 2021 fourth-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings for WR Stefon Diggs and a seventh-round pick 201. The Bills selected wide receiver, Isaiah Hodges.
54. DE AJ Epenesa
86. RB Zach Moss
128. WR Gabriel Davis
167. QB Jake Fromm
188. K Tyler Bass
201. WR Isiah Hodges
239. CB Dane Jackson
Overall grade: INCOMPLETE
It is too early to grade the class coming off their rookie season. It does appear that the Bills have some key players from this draft that helped them to the AFC Championship game. Lead by Gabriel Davis, he was a key contributor to this Bills offense. Kicker Tyler Bass had a rocky start to the season but showed that he can kick in the weather in Buffalo. Epenesa started to come on late in the season and was a nice addition to the defensive line rotation.
We all know the draft is no guarantee but in the past three seasons, Beane and company and One Bills Drive have been able to find players that fit their team culture. He likes to target players and trade up to get them, which I have no problem with. If you know who you want, get them.