We are less than two weeks away from another check on the NFL offseason checklist. The 2020 NFL Draft is almost upon us and for the Buffalo Bills their draft plans have become clearer with each passing week. After the first week of free agency, the Bills’ draft needs began to take shape. Two weeks ago, the Bills continued adding to their roster by signing cornerback E.J. Gaines and offensive lineman Daryl Williams. Last week, General Manager Brandon Beane had a video conference call that gave some insight into the Bills offseason so far. And now because of all of that a fuller and more predictive picture exists for the Buffalo Bills in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Predicting The 2020 Buffalo Bills NFL Draft
The Buffalo Bills have been precise with their moves this offseason. Each signing has added depth and versatility to the roster while also filling an area of need. And that’s nothing new for a Beane led Bills offseason. When it comes to the NFL Draft, the Bills operate in a similar fashion. They also use a “best player available” approach with each pick. That BPA approach will factor heavily into their draft as a whole, but especially in regards to their first pick. Also factoring heavily are some very choice words from Brandon Beane in regards to T.J. Yeldon and the Bills running back situation. And could we also see a trade come draft time? It looks like it.
The Bills Will Go Best Player Available With Their First Pick
As of this moment, the first pick the Buffalo Bills have in the 2020 NFL Draft is pick 54. Based on how many teams need quarterbacks, we can expect three to six QBs to go in those first 53 picks. Also going in those first 53 picks, should be a considerable amount of wide receivers. Anywhere from seven to 11 WRs could go before the Bills first pick at 54. And those are all good things. Why? Because barring anything dramatic, quarterback and wide receiver do not top the list of Bills needs. The more quarterbacks and receivers that go before pick 54, the better chance the Bills have of a top-level prospect falling to them.
Right now, the Bills primarily need cornerbacks, edge rushers, or a running back. And at pick 54 in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills will draft their highest-rated player at one of those positions. The only caveat to that is that because the Bills draft with a BPA mindset, we could see something radical at pick 54. But again that all depends on the first 53 picks.
Maybe a highly rated safety, linebacker, or offensive lineman fall and that’s who the Bills go with. Because the Bills BPA approach to the draft also involves value, nothing is really ever out of the question. But because of the needs the roster still has, we can narrow down the prospect pool to a degree. With how many QBs and WRs are expected to go in the first 53 picks, someone legit in an area of need is going to fall.
The Bills Will Draft A Running Back With Power
Devin Singletary, T.J. Yeldon, Taiwan Jones, and Christian Wade. Those are the Buffalo Bills running backs for 2020 as we stand right now. That will almost certainly not be the running back roster come week one of the regular season. Adding to the discussion at running back are some comments Brandon Beane made in his presser last week.
When speaking about Yeldon, Beane said that last year he was “probably more of a threat than Frank [Gore] out of the backfield, but we just felt like Frank last year brought us that heavier downhill presence that you know maybe Devin’s not and maybe T.J. that’s not his biggest strength”. Those words are very important when ascertaining Buffalo’s plans for running back. If Devin Singletary is the RB1 (which he is), the Bills then prefer to have an RB2 that offers a “downhill presence”. Something that doesn’t describe current RB2 T.J. Yeldon.
The Bills will almost assuredly draft a running back in the 2020 NFL Draft. The question now becomes what kind of running back they’re looking for and where would they need to draft them? With the power/downhill ability being of seemingly large importance, we can narrow down the prospect pool to backs that have that trait.
If Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor is there at 54, I think it’ll be hard for the Bills to pass on him. He’s arguably the best back in the draft and he offers enough downhill ability. But if the Bills are looking for a pure hammer, they can find that in later rounds and use their earlier picks on a BPA and need combination.
The Bills Will Make A Trade In The Draft
Brandon Beane was very candid in talking about the reasons behind adding Stefon Diggs. One of those reasons was a potential limited offseason due to COVID-19. A limited offseason means a limited practice schedule and less time to get rookies acclimated to the NFL and to the team. Adding Diggs instead of a rookie receiver would work better because of Diggs’ proven NFL production and experience. That way of thinking may also apply in the draft.
Now, the Bills wouldn’t sacrifice adding young talent just because of a looming limited offseason, but they may be more likely to trade up in the draft because of it. Trading picks to move up in the draft means the Bills would lessen the rookie quantity on the roster, but potentially increase the rookie quality. Plus the Bills have a history of draft-related trades under Beane.
In the 2019 draft, the Bills traded up to land Cody Ford. In the 2018 draft, they traded up to draft Josh Allen and again to snag Tremaine Edmunds. Also, this was after they had already executed a draft trade with the Cincinnati Bengals.
When the Bills see value, they do their due diligence about acquiring it. That’s how they operate daily. Add that philosophy, with Beane’s thoughts about this offseason being challenging for a rookie, and you get increased odds of the Buffalo Bills making a trade in this draft.
What It All Means For The 2020 Buffalo Bills NFL Draft
The Buffalo Bills still have quality picks in the 2020 NFL draft. And they’re led by a GM who knows how to use them. Brandon Beane and his team will pick based on value and BPA throughout the draft, but especially with their first pick. The Bills will also come away from this draft with a running back. And a key attribute for that running back will be power and a “downhill presence”. Lastly, the Buffalo Bills will make a trade come draft time. It may happen before the draft or on draft day, but they’ll make one. Time to circle the wagons folks it’s draft time!
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