After what feels like an eternity, the Buffalo Bills are finally set to make their first round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Following a wildly successful season that saw the team go all the way to the AFC Championship Game, Buffalo currently owns the 30th pick in the NFL Draft. Nobody knows exactly what Buffalo will do with the selection, but let’s take a look around the league and see what the experts think.
Projecting the Buffalo Bills First Round Pick In the 2021 NFL Draft
Benjamin Allbright (PFN) – Travis Etienne, RB
The Buffalo Bills have a solid running back duo in Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, but they lack an explosive element at the position. Enter Travis Etienne. The Clemson product is probably the most dangerous runner in the draft, as he possesses the speed to make big plays in the open field and the vision to get everything provided by his blockers. He’s pretty solid out of the backfield and is my personal RB1 in this class.
Etienne is a good running back, but no running back is worth a first-round pick, in my humble opinion. Production at the position has a lot more to do with the scheme and blocking than the actual runner, and Buffalo is one of the most pass-happy teams in the league. Committing to the run game after 2020’s success just feels like a strange decision.
Tony Pauline (PFN) – Greg Newsome, CB
That’s more like it. The Buffalo Bills have a great cornerback in Tre’Davious White, but the rest of the depth chart could use some help. Greg Newsome has the length, ball skills, and athleticism for the position, and he puts those traits on tape on a very consistent basis. The biggest red flag is durability, as he has yet to see a full season of action. Additionally, he’s not that great of a tackler. That being said, these are the risks you can comfortably live with when picking in the back of the first round.
Will Brinson (CBS) – Kadarius Toney, WR
The Buffalo Bills already have one of the best wide receiver depth charts in the league. Stefon Diggs is an elite playmaker, Cole Beasley is one of the NFL’s better slot receivers, and Gabriel Davis showed plenty of promise as a rookie. However, there is no such thing as too many good pass-catchers, so the Bills go back to the well in this mock draft.
Toney has one of the biggest divides between the analytics and film communities. Toney’s an absolutely electric playmaker and is a danger to score every single time he touches the ball. However, he hardly touched the ball in college and is a late declare – two things that don’t typically translate to NFL success. Only time will tell which side is right, but it’s a risky pick.
James Rapien (SI) – Jayson Oweh, EDGE
Much like Kadarius Toney, Jayson Oweh is a high-risk, high-reward prospect. From a traits perspective, he’s everything you could ever hope for. Athleticism goes a long way towards NFL success for edge rushers, and Oweh is a phenomenal athlete. However, that athleticism and those flashes of greatness have not translated to consistent production. Oweh didn’t record a single sack last year, although he was able to generate pressure at a relatively consistent pace. If Buffalo can improve his technique and consistency, then he could be a star. However, he’s probably a year or two away from being a regular contributor.
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