Givanni Damico | April 26th, 2020
Buffalo went into this draft without a first-round pick due to the Stefon Diggs trade, but you wouldn’t know it based on the talent they came away with. They did a great drop addressing the only needs on this team as well as some holes on the depth chart. Every single guy in this draft class could easily find themselves on the 53-man roster in 2020.
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Round 2, Pick 54: A.J. Epenesa, EDGE, Iowa
If a guy like Epenesa, who was mocked to Buffalo when they had their first-round pick, falls to you in the second round, you can’t pass on him. A lot of my fellow Bills’ fans were arguing for J.K. Dobbins or a receiver there, but you can get a guy who produced like Dobbins later on, but you can’t find a guy like Epenesa in the third round or after. He had no business being there that late and he is a perfect scheme fit for the Buffalo defense.
The Bills’ defensive line isn’t getting any younger. Jerry Hughes is 31 years old and in the last year of his contract. His production doesn’t warrant a new contract, especially at his age. Trent Murphy is 29 years old and a potential candidate to get cut to free cap space. Buffalo lost Shaq Lawson and Jordan Phillips on the defensive line in free agency as well. Mario Addison was one of the bigger free-agent signings for Buffalo, and he should make a great impact, but he’s 32 years old. Next up, there’s Star Lotulelei, who can’t get cut because of his heavy cap hit, but he looked miserable against the run last season. Ed Oliver is the only member of that defensive line who’s spot is set in stone for years to come. Some Bills’ fans don’t realize how big of a need this is for the future of the cold front defense. Fantastic pick by McBeane here.
Round 3, Pick 86: Zack Moss, RB, Utah
Moss is an absolute bruiser! He complements Devin Singletary’s skill set very well and should fight for a good amount of carries right away. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report stated that he thinks Moss will come in and start right away, forcing Singletary to a third-down back role. I disagree because when Singletary was the Bills’ “workhorse” last year, he averaged over five yards per carry. There’s nothing that suggests that he can’t handle a large workload, but Moss will come in and play the Frank Gore role better than Frank Gore did. Moss has great burst in short space while flaunting some sneaky agility as well. Don’t look at his 40 time and assume that he’s slow. He has good long speed and will be Buffalo’s main north-to-south runner.
Round 4, Pick 128: Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF
This is a guy that I had mocked to the Bills in my pre-draft Bills’ seven-round mock. Davis is already the second-tallest receiver on this team (aside from another rookie that I’ll speak about later on), and he also touts a 4.54 40-yard dash speed. He looks even faster when running routes. Davis has good body control and had great production at the college level at UCF. Many Bills’ fans were arguing that the pick should have been Antonio Gandy-Golden of Liberty, but that is a bias because of how much Bills’ fans have heard about Gandy-Golden throughout the drafting process. Davis’s tools are far more sharpened then Gandy-Golden and he will be able to make an impact immediately. The only reason I wanted Gandy-Golden is so I could get a jersey with his name on it.
Round 5, Pick 167: Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia
This was a fantastic value pick for Brandon Beane and the Buffalo Bills. Fromm should not have still been on the board at the time and Beane took advantage of the fact that he was. The only reason I graded this pick a bit lower is that I believe that Buffalo could have addressed a slightly bigger need than a backup quarterback with this pick. I would’ve liked to see an offensive lineman or potentially a cornerback (although they took a great one later), but Fromm should be Buffalo’s backup quarterback for years. What does this say for Matt Barkley? Well, he is nearly 30 years old and doesn’t have his position on this team set in stone, BUT he is a veteran presence that two young quarterbacks need. I believe that Buffalo should and will carry three quarterbacks through the 2020 season.
Round 6, Pick 188: Tyler Bass, K, Georgia Southern
If you’re going to take a kicker in the late rounds, take the Hot Rod! Rodrigo Blankenship had a better career at a higher-profile school and went undrafted. That could have been a priority free agent signing after the draft, but I have to trust Big Baller Beane here. Bass was 20-28 kicking field goals last year, so I’m a bit worried about his consistency, but I’m also well aware that Steven Hauschka’s time as Buffalo’s kicker is running out. He wasn’t reliable outside of 40 yards last year and he’s getting up there in age. I just think Buffalo could have waited and picked up a UDFA here.
Round 6, Pick 207: Isaiah Hodgins, WR, Oregon State
Hodgins is another guy that probably should have went one round sooner than he did. Hodgins is the tallest receiver on the Bills at 6’4”. He gives Josh Allen a reliable jump ball receiver to throw it up to in the endzone. Does this threaten Duke Williams’s spot? Possibly. Is Robert Foster going to make this team? Almost certainly not. Hodgins needs some work, but he should make this team with no problem. Phenomenal BPA pick by Beane.
Round 7, Pick 239: Dane Jackson, CB, Pittsburgh
Jackson was a late riser in the draft process but he is a fantastic value pick here in the seventh! I had an early-fifth round grade on him and believe that he can contribute in a year or two. Beane said that he would take a BPA approach, and for the most part, he did apart from the kicker. Another great draft by Buffalo.
Despite not holding a first-round pick in this year’s draft, the Bills managed to land a first-round caliber player late in the second round. They addressed needs as well as depth concerns and overall had another fantastic draft. Epenesa was the best value pick in the draft but I really like Gabriel Davis a lot in Buffalo’s offense. Tyler Bass was a bit of a head-scratcher, but I’m just going to trust Beane on this one and hope that he’s right. Bass may not even make the team, but if he beats Hauschka in a training camp battle, I guess he deserves the spot. Brandon Beane is proving that he is one of the best GMs in football.
Overall Grade: A
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