The Buffalo Bills may have exceeded expectations in some ways during the 2019 season, finishing 10-6 after missing the playoffs the year before and seeing Josh Allen make strides under center. And yet they’ve still got plenty of holes to fill in the weeks to come, or at least if they intend to get back to the playoffs — and then go deeper — in 2020.
Free agency is right around the corner, but CBS Sports NFL Draft writer Chris Trapasso looked a little farther ahead to address some of Buffalo’s most pressing needs, releasing a on Wednesday.
Here’s a look at each and every one of the Bills picks he predicted, plus how they would fit on Buffalo’s current roster:
Trapasso thinks Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins will be in play for the Bills in the first round, but Chaisson is also CBS Sports’ second-ranked pass rusher of the 2020 class. In other words, it’d be a stunner if Buffalo passed on his potential at No. 22, especially with this year’s receiver crop being so deep. The Bills defense is already rock solid, but with Shaq Lawson set to hit free agency and Jerry Hughes approaching his age-32 season with a high cap number in 2021, pass rusher is a reasonable priority here. Chaisson, in particular, isn’t just young and athletic but a pretty advanced pass rusher when it comes to technique as well.
Rd. 2, No. 54 overall: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
Rd. 3, No. 86 overall: Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
Well, what do you know? The Bills get Higgins, after all! And what a steal this would potentially be in the second, with Higgins clocking in as CBS Sports’ fourth-ranked WR of the draft class. At 6-foot-4 and 216 pounds, he’d give Buffalo’s group of pass catchers an immediate size boost, not to mention a potential Day 1 starter on the outside. John Brown and Cole Beasley both had good 2019 seasons, but adding another starting-caliber wideout would be a huge get for Josh Allen.
As for Chinn, the big-bodied speedster makes a lot of sense for a Bills secondary that could be saying goodbye to three different contributors, including corner Kevin Johnson and reserve safety Kurt Coleman, in free agency. The Bills literally created a nickel coaching position for their 2020 staff, and Chinn would be a prime prospect to develop in that area.
Rd. 4, No. 128 overall: Michael Ojemudia, CB, Iowa
Rd. 5, No. 155 overall: A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College
Rd. 5, No. 167 overall: Tyre Phillips, OL, Mississippi State
Rd. 6, No. 188 overall: Jauan Jennings, WR, Tennessee
Rd. 6, No. 201 overall: Robert Landers, DL, Ohio State
Rd. 6, No. 207 overall: Shaun Bradley, LB, Temple
With six different picks on Day 3, the Bills will have the freedom to touch on just about every one of their needs. And while someone like Chinn would probably slot in well as a nickel specialist and reserve safety, Ojemudia feels more like post-Kevin Johnson insurance at CB. Tall, long and zone savvy, the Iowa product tested better than expected at the scouting combine and has the makeup of a perfect fit in Leslie Frazier’s secondary, according to Trapasso.
At running back, Devin Singletary is all but a lock to be a featured part of the offense, and T.J. Yeldon, signed last April, is still just 26. With grizzled quasi-starter Frank Gore on track to hit the open market, however, Dillon would be a powerful, explosive complement to the Bills’ new No. 1. In fact, in that sense, he’d probably be targeted to fill the role that Yeldon simply couldn’t in 2019.
Phillips played offensive tackle in college, but at more than 340 pounds with what Trapasso calls “jaw-dropping power,” the school of thought here is that the Mississippi State product could kick inside and help power Buffalo’s ground game. The Bills just recently locked up guard Quinton Spain, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t use developmental depth in the trenches.
Buffalo’s trio of sixth-rounders here would offer some intriguing depth at other key spots. Like Higgins, Jennings may not always separate consistently, but his size, vision and deceptive cutting make him a nightmare to bring down after the catch, and his style of play would seemingly complement the quickness and speed of guys like Brown and Beasley. Landers is a true three-technique lineman who might get washed out in the run game but could win through the gaps with his first step. And Bradley seems to fit their mold of linebacker mainly because of his speed.