AFC East Draft Grades – Buffalo Bills (Part 2 of 4)

By Ryan Whitfield

Twitter: @RyanWhitfieldNE

Buffalo Bills – Grade – C

Since 2012 It’s been well documented the Baltimore Ravens have seemingly poured endless dollars and draft capital into the Wide Receiver position and have failed to solve their issue. In Orchard Park, it’s been a frustrating parallel. In 2014, the Bills sent their 2014 9th overall pick and their 2015 1st and 4th round picks to move up 5 slots and take Sammy Watkins. If they had only done their research on what a poor route runner Watkins was.

Since then, the Bills traded Ronald Darby for Jordan Matthews (now of the New England Patriots) and a 3rd round pick. Mid-season last year the Bills sent a 2018 3rd and 7th round pick to the Panthers to acquire Kelvin Benjamin. With the 5th pick of the second round the Bills took Zay Jones just last year, who had potential, but after this offseason’s bizarre arrest, there should be concerns.

However, it appears that Buffalo Bills GM Brandon Beane and coach Sean McDermott think that their new first round QB Josh Allen can bring out the high-end potential of Jones and Benjamin, and that they’re confident there won’t be any off field issues. Beane opted to continue to add talented names to the defense while bringing in the guy he believes will be the next franchise QB. In all, The Bills added some good high end talent, but missed on too many depth pieces.

Round 1 Pick # 7 – Josh Allen – QB Wyoming

Wyoming Stats
Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
Year G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rate
2015 2 4 6 66.7 51 8.5 0 0 138.1
*2016 14 209 373 56.0 3203 8.6 28 15 144.9
*2017 11 152 270 56.3 1812 6.7 16 6 127.8
Career 365 649 56.2 5066 7.8 44 21 137.7

56.2. That was Josh Allen’s Completion percentage in his college career. In 2017 the list of guys who finished in that range in the NFL is not an encouraging one. DeShone Kizer (53.6%), Tom Savage (56.1%), CJ Beathard (54.9%), Brock Osweiller (55.8%), Blaine Gabbert (55.6%). Get the Point? Josh Allen, is the prototypical “Big-armed” QB, but the inconsistencies in his accuracy has to be a major concern, especially when Josh Rosen was still sitting there at 7. While there’s certainly something to be said for identifying your guy and going and getting him, it would seem that Beane has “hitched his wagon” and now it’s a wait and see if that wagon sets up shop in Buffalo, or if it rides out of town.

Grade – C

Round 1 Pick # 16 – Tremaine Edmunds – OLB Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech Stats
Tack Tack Tack Tack Tack Def Def Def Fumb Fumb
Year G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds PD FR FF
*2015 6 6 5 11 2.5 0.0 0 0 0 0 0
*2016 13 49 45 94 16.5 4.5 1 9 3 1 0
*2017 13 57 51 108 14.0 5.5 0 0 2 0 3
Career 112 101 213 33.0 10.0 1 9 5 1 3

Over the past two seasons, it is hard to find a better OLB in college. 202 tackles and 10 sacks are impressive on their own. But racking up 30.5 Tackles for a Loss the last 2 seasons is Game Changing. Edmunds was also able to defend 5 passes and create 4 TO’s (3 FF and 1 INT). A guy who is 6’5, 250 LBS and runs a 4.54 40 is an elite talent. Size, playmaking, and the ability to rush or cover in man. Edmunds should anchor the Bill’s defense for the next 5 years +.

Grade – A+

Round 3 Pick # 96 – Harrison Phillips – DT Sanford

Stanford Stats
Tack Tack Tack Tack Tack Def Fumb Fumb
Year Pos G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk PD FR FF
*2014 DE 4 4 5 9 2.0 2.0 0 0 0
*2015 DE 1 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 1 0 0
*2016 DT 12 21 25 46 10.0 7.0 1 0 1
*2017 DT 14 37 61 98 17.0 7.5 0 2 2
Career 62 91 153 29.0 16.5 2 2 3

In his final 2 years at Stanford as a starter, Phillips became a reliable three down player. In those 2 years he tallied 144 tackles with a staggering 98 of those coming last season. In those two years he also racked up 14.5 sacks, good for .55 a game. While there are some concerns on Phillips athleticism and at times his lack of size when kicked inside, Phillips should be able to help replace the aging Kyle Williams. What he lacks in size and athleticism he makes up for in motor and big play capability.

Grade – B+

Round 4 Pick # 121 – Taron Johnson – CB Weber State

Taron Johnson is small and his NFL.com Draft profile claims his frame is maxed out. This means, he’s most likely a nickel corner who his quick but does not have good downfield speed. He had 1 pick in three years in college and was projected to go in rounds 5-6. Head scratcher.

Grade – D

Round 5 Pick # 154 – Siran Neal – DB Jacksonville State

At 6’1 206 LBS Neal brings the size that Johnson does not. In 2017 Neal was good for 39 tackles and just 1 pick. Obviously Beane was looking to add depth in the middle rounds, but this feels like just a warm body.

Grade – D-

Round 5 Pick # 166 – Wyatt Teller – Guard Virginia Tech

While Teller regressed on tape in 2017 he fits an immediate need in Buffalo, slotting in as the back up to Vladimir Ducasse. Questions about his effort and motor are concerning but the ability and strength are there. He’ll be a project, but at a 5th round cost, he’s worth the investment.

Grade – C+

Round 6 Pick # 187 – Ray-Ray McCloud – WR Clemson

Given his smaller size at 5’10 190 LBS, McCloud is in Buffalo to compete for the slot position. In three seasons at Clemson he caught 127 balls for 1,226 yards and 4 Touchdowns. His skill set as a returner may be his ticket on to the final 53.

Grade – D

Round 7 Pick # 255 – Austin Proehl – WR North Carolina 

Austin Proehl, son of Ricky Proehl, is another late round flyer. In 4 years at North Carolina he put together a stat line of 91-1265-5. He’ll most likely have to battle out McCloud for the slot position, and Beane once again addressed a need with depth.

Grade – C-

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