The Buffalo Bills enter the 2020 NFL Draft with the least draft capital, according to the pick value chart developed by Rich Hill of the Morning Consult and Pats Pulpit. Subsequently, I chose the Bills as the team I wanted to invest my time and efforts into understanding their draft needs without knowing this. Fear not, I still believe the Bills can fill their major needs with the limited capital that they possess and that Stefon Diggs was worth the hefty price.
You can check out my 2019 season in review for my rationale here, but my team needs for the Bills are as follow:
Cornerback, Defensive End
Swing Tackle, Running Back, Tight End 2, Backup Quarterback, Wide Receiver, Safety Depth
Using the wonderful and thoroughly addictive Draft Network Mock Draft Machine, I have compiled what I believe to be the best case scenario for Buffalo, while being realistic. This includes a few trade ups to land players that I believe are strong fits for the Bills, players that meet both their scheme and the personality of the team’s play style.
Without further ado, your 2020 Buffalo Bills draft class:
Trade for #47 from the Atlanta Falcons for #54 and #188
A.J. Epenesa, Defensive End, 6’6 208lbs. Junior from the University of Iowa
Epenesa has been an absolute beast over his last three seasons with the Hawkeyes and is a former 5 star recruit that decided to stay home. Epenesa has a massive frame, at 6’8, and uses this length and power to bully tackles and make plays in both the run and pass game. He finished his Hawkeye career with 26.5 sacks (22 over his last two seasons), 36 Tackles for loss, and 9 forced fumbles. I think he’s been unfairly pushed down boards for Combine performance, but fortunately he’s not going to be running go routes for Josh Allen this season. Buffalo has had success with Trent Murphy, and Epenesa can be a supercharged version of this player who will provide the team with a balanced powerful skill set against both the pass and the run. If you’re still unsure after his unfortunate NFL combine performance, pop on the USC Iowa Holiday bowl from this year and forget it ever happened.
You can watch those highlights here:
Troy Pride Jr., Cornerback, 5’11 193lbs. Senior from Notre Dame
Pride is a fiesty, confident corner who really made his bones at the Senior Bowl after the season. With many of the best corners dealing with nagging injuries and unable to participate at the event, Pride was given the opportunity to shine and ran with it. He came out of the event as the favorite corner of many at the event, running stride for stride with prospects like Denzel Mims, Quartney Davis, James Proche, and Michael Pittman Jr. He’s a physically blessed player who should be a long term starter across from Tre’Davious White and be a great 2nd corner for the Bills for this upcoming season and beyond. On Mockdraftables, one of his athletic comparisons is Sheldon Brown, which I think would be a great long term fit for Buffalo, if he’s able to turn into that player.
Trade for Picks #124, #232 from the Pittsburgh Steelers for Picks #128, #206
Devin Asiasi, Tight End, 6’3 257 lbs. RS Junior from UCLA
Asiasi is a one of a number of tight ends who sits in the middle of the draft in a cluster. Asiasi transferred from the University of Michigan and finished his career at UCLA under Chip Kelly. Joe Marino of The Draft Network says that Asiasi is a player who can function as an in-line blocker and as receiver at the pro level. Between the size and the upside of no longer playing under a terrible head coach, Asiasi should make the jump and be a talented TE2 for the Bills.
Lamical Perine, Running Back, 5’11 211 lb. Senior from the University of Florida
Perine is one of my personal favorite running backs in this draft and I think is a near perfect compliment to Devin Singletary. Singletary deserves the opportunity after his play last season to be a major bell cow for the Bills, and Perine can fill the shoes of a departing Frank Gore. With half of the touches of a Jonathon Taylor, he should be pretty fresh, even for a senior running back. His primary skill is running with power through contact, but I was impressed with his ability to get outside and make plays on the outside during his final season. Perine has NFL pedigree, being cousins with Myles Jack and Samaje Perine.
5th Selection and 6th Selection:
Picks #232 and #239
Colton McKivitz, Offensive Tackle, 6’6 304lbs RS Senior from West Virginia
Aaron Parker, Wide Receiver, 6’2 204lbs Senior from University of Rhode Island
I’m going to wrap this up with two 7th round selections in McKivitz and Parker. McKivitz was a 4 year starter at West Virginia, spending 3 seasons at Right Tackle and 1 season at Left Tackle. He was voted 3rd All American by the Associated Press after this season. He’s pretty light for 6’6, finishing in the 30th percentile according to Mockdraftable, but I’ll trust the starting pedigree and that he translates as a long term swing tackle for the Bills.
Parker is a productive FCS receiver who finished with 142 catches, 2,149 receiving yards, and 19 TDs over the past two seasons. Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network writes that Parker needs to develop his route tree and has mostly succeeded as a contested catch player at the FCS level. I’ll trust the production and think that the Bills need a big body to make catches down the field for Josh Allen, which this receiving core lacks. He should contribute to special teams as well as a player who competes with physicality.