Astro’s Bills Mock, Round 1 – With Analysis

Photo of QB Baker Mayfield from

The Buffalo Bills will have a bevy of selections in the coming NFL Draft, beginning with 2 deal-able picks on the very first night, and a total of 5 in the Top 100.   They will likely compete with the Browns (12 picks overall) and the 49ers (9 picks overall) for control of this draft. If the Draft was held tomorrow, the Bills’ picks would be arrayed like this:

  • RD1, #21
  • RD1, #22
  • RD2, #53
  • RD2, #55
  • RD3, #96
  • RD4, #117 (approximate due to compensatory picks)
  • RD5, #149 (approximate due to compensatory picks)
  • RD5, #157 (approximate due to compensatory picks)

The Bills will need to address several needs through Free Agency and the draft, notably DL1T, DL3T, QB, Center, G, WR, EDGE, LB, and CB. Depth at S would be nice. We’ll add FanSpeak OTC‘s fan-voted team needs (RBTE) to the list. Shady just turned 29, and O’Leary and Thomas are both exclusive-rights free agents after this year

My order of priority would be QB, Center, DL3T, LB, EDGE, G, CB, RB, WR, DL1T, S Depth, TE.  Free-agent signings will alter this list, as will Combine results and possible trades.

Photo of QB Tyrod Taylor from

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: Tyrod Taylor is a middling quarterback, despite his penchant for taking care of the football. It begs the question whether or not to leverage the two first-round picks (and likely more) to move up for the game’s most-valuable playing piece. The Bills’ #21 (worth 800 points on the trade chart) and #22 (780) would be a once-in-a-decade chance to snare a franchise QB.

The 1,580 points, plus a player to be named later, could get the Bills as high as Denver’s Pick#5. That’s the position likely necessary to get ahead of the Jets’ pick of one of the remaining QBs. While the Jets have struck out more than Aaron Judge, they may stumble into a franchise signal-caller one of these years.

Other teams who might draft early could also take a Quarterback before the Bills, including the Browns (#1, #4), Giants (#2), Colts (#3), Dolphins (#11), Cardinals (#15), and Chargers (#17). The 49ers were smart to get Garoppolo and break from this brouhaha. Some of the above teams will take free-agent veterans, so the daunting list of 6 or 7 teams needing Quarterbacks will dwindle.

While it’s still Early in The Process, I’ve run a simulation of the first 20 picks in the 2018 Draft, and the players listed below were available at Pick #21 should the Bills not trade up. I’ve arranged them in the same order as the needs above. Click the player’s position to read my Cover 1 article about the Bills’ best fits at that position.

  • Vita Vea DL3T Washington/Maurice Hurst DL3T Michigan—–very few sims had both Vita Vea and Maurice Hurst here. Most have one or the other. Combine will make Vea gone.
  • Baker Mayfield QB Oklahoma/Mason Rudolph Oklahoma St—–most sims offer either Mayfield or Allen at #21; Some have Lamar Jackson here. Rudolph-Rosen are typically gone.
  • Billy Price C-G Notre Dame—–C-G is not a flashy pick, but would help most teams. Price is an even better C, but he’s more experienced (3 years) at G. Price is a pro’s pro.
  • Rashaan Evans LB Alabama—–most sims have the productive Roquan Smith going before Evans, but the Combine will vault Roquon way up. Both are relentless with range.
  • Ronald Jones II RB LSU—–All RBs not named Saquon Barkley or Derrius Guice are still in play at #21. Nick Chubb is tempting, as well. This move makes Sony Michel RD2.
  • Ogbonnia Okoronkwo EDGE Ohio State—–If you prefer Chad Thomas, Hubbard, or even Arden Key, they are also on the board.
  • Marcell Ateman WR  Oklahoma State—-Ateman’s a big-bodied WR, but with the free agent market so good at WR, would a rookie wideout be a RD1 pick?
  • Orlando Brown OT Oklahoma—–his hugeness Orlando Brown can move a pile, and the more-agile, much-lighter Connor Williams declared. But is our RT “alread-Dion” on the team?
  • Ronnie Harrison S Alabama—–Armani Watts is also here; he might make it to the RD2#53 neighborhood, though.
  • Mark Andrews TE Oklahoma—–DraftTek’s TE’s live here; you can wait until later for the others, though.
Photo of former Ohio State C-G Billy Price from

You have been rewarded for your patience. By not trading up,  you get 2 of the above players, as the Bills pick again next at #22.

But which pair make the most sense to take? I’ll take a stab at rank-ordering them:

  1. QB Baker Mayfield——Beane didn’t acquire multiple draft picks to pass on a QB in RD1. Mayfield’s brash, visceral, and competitive. So was Kelly. Rudolph and Allen’s skill-sets fit, too.
  2. C-G Billy Price————The Bills need a better OL to release the run game.  Eric Wood needs replacing. Richie’s old. A battle between Ducasse and Miller at RG means you had no RG.
  3. DL3T Vita Vea————-Vea’s size-speed combination is better than Hurst’s, and pressuring AFC East QBs gets better results. Dareus’s departure and Kyle’s age make this pick early.
  4. LB Malik Jefferson——-You’d like Jefferson’s speed at LB, even though you have Milano (11 tackles vs Indy) and Preston Brown (3rd in the NFL in tackles, 2014-2017).
  5. TE Mark Andrews——-Mayfield’s go-to target would be hard to turn down. Clay’s injuries, plus O’Leary and Logan Thomas’s contract years, create an reason to re-tool.
  6. EDGE Obo Okoronkwo–Lawson’s injuries, Hughes’ drop-off, plus the Bills’ rank of 27th in sack rate, make this position an early consideration.
  7. WR Marcell Ateman—–Re-signing Benjamin and Matthews (if you want them) would be prerequisites for waiting until RD2-3 for a WR.
  8. OT Orlando Brown——I think Price fixes the line more than adding another OT, especially if Cordy, Dion, and Seantrel figure in the 2018 team photo. Mills is gone, though.
  9. Ronnie Harrison——This is a depth need, not a starter need, and we’ll wait until Day 3.

We’ll take our QB in Baker Mayfield and some O-Line protection in Billy Price in RD1.     >>>>>ROUND 2 LINK

Editor’s babble: Thanks to Dean Kindig for his astute contributions to our blog. You can follow Dean on Twitter @TCBILLS_Astro.

*Views expressed on the blog are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the owners of the website.

18 Replies to “Astro’s Bills Mock, Round 1 – With Analysis”

  1. Barring something major and incredibly controversial happening before the draft, I believe there’s approximately 0% chance Mayfield is still on the board at 21. The question is will he fall out of the top 5 picks?

    • The answer is yes, but not far out of the first 5 picks. If it goes:
      1 Cleveland Saquon Barkley RBF Penn State
      2 NY Giants* Sam Darnold QB USC
      3 Indianapolis* Bradley Chubb EDGE NC State
      4 Cleveland * Josh Rosen QB UCLA
      5 Denver
      6 NY Jets

      I offer Denver 21, 22, and 95. I will have already acquired a vet QB (likely a Vikes’ QB) and an interior DT from Free Agency.

  2. I agree Joma, Mayfield will be gone by the time the Bills pick at 21. If they stay put at 21 and 22 I think they take Mason Rudolph QB and a DT in the first round. They have so many holes to fill I just don’t see them moving up in the first round to grab a QB.

  3. I would probably trade up for one of the top 3 guys and give up a crapload to do so, though do keep in mind I follow collage football about as well as I do the NBA…aka I hear mentions about it on the radio. But I am desperate enough to try anything at this point. They should have taken a guy last year at 10. And if he didn’t look super promising, taken another guy this year. If they try to fill as many holes as possible and find another Tyrod-ish mediocre QB (or just keep Tyrod,) then they’ll probably be drafting in a similar position again next year. And so they’ll pass again next year and wait for the following and rinse and repeat. Time for a new plan. The Bills have never drafted a QB in the top 10 of the draft…can’t imagine why they’ve only had 1 great QB in the last…I dunno, ever?

    • If I’m Beane, I didn’t acquire all these picks to stand pat. We already see that Beane isn’t reluctant to pull the trigger on a player that makes the Bills better!

      FYI, the Bills jets (Yes; I know they’re rented) have been to KC 5 times in the last 3 weeks, 2x to Los Angeles, 2x to Washington/Baltimore, and 2x to Phoenix. No stone is being left unturned.

  4. I think Denver probably has to land Cousins for them not to be in on the QB sweepstakes themselves…or have come away unimpressed with Mayfield at the Sr. Bowl…assuming he’s the one left available. And if Cleveland is dumb enough to not take a QB at 1, man do I hope someone (Bills please!) jumps up to 3 and nabs Rosen/Darnold away from them.

  5. Gaines is a free agent. I’m sure the Bills would be thrilled to offer up the rest. Lawson has limited value at this point until he proves he’s something more than a depth player. Glenn is good, but his large contract and lack of availability the last two years detracts greatly from his value. Both guys at best are 3rd or 4th round compensation values at this point, I think…again, at best. If the Giants were interested in those players, I’m sure it still costs the Bills their two firsts in addition. Basically it would save them from having to offer their 1st next year and they’d unload a couple guys they are interested in parting with anyway…at least Glenn. They might still have interest in Lawson, but I’m sure they’re not the least bit tied to him. All that said, I’d do it in a heartbeat!

  6. I’d do it, too, if the guy the Bills like is Rosen or Darnold.
    I’m betting Cordy Glenn returns 100% next year.
    If Giants stay at #2, they take Bradley Chubb, I think.

  7. The Bills may have a QB in their sights and if he falls past 10 pull the trigger. I wouldn’t be surprised if they trade back to pick up extra picks if a team gives them an offer during the draft… They could still have 2 first round picks (drop down to the late 20’s) and pick up another 2 or 3..

    • I could see that happening in RD2 but not in RD1. They’ll have a QB plan in place. Of course, if they bring in Foles or Bridgewater, I think they let the draft come to them in RD1.

  8. Assuming the Browns pick their QB at 1, they are likely to deal their no. 4 pick. The Colts also have their QB and would likely deal their no. 3 pick.
    (3) and possibly (4) QBs (depending on Denver) will be off the board after the 6th pick.
    Bottom line- to get into the premium class of available QBs, the Bills need to deal up to at least the no. 5 pick and should target Cleveland’s no.4.
    Unfortunately there are more teams than the Bills in this situation- and it will likely cost them heavily to make such a deal. The Bills do have some expendable picks and should be able to make some moves without giving away the farm Chicago Bears style.

    • I asked Chris Brown on Fan Friday this very question. He said, no, he wouldn’t trade up to 5 for the 3rd best QB. Doesn’t mean it can’t happen, though.

      Brown did specifically mention Foles! The advantage there is he wouldn’t cost the draft capital that getting, say, Josh Allen would.

  9. I don’t think Cleveland is interested in dealing their picks away with their new GM…or at least not with the Bills and moving way back. They’d probably be willing to drop a spot or two where they gain some assets and STILL get the guy they want because the team moving ahead of them is targeting a QB. I don’t think they’ll be looking to move to the back of the draft, though. They already have a ton of quality draft picks and a ton of picks in general. You do get to a point where having THAT many rookies all coming in at the same time isn’t necessarily a good thing. I think they’re better off going with the elite talent. If the Bills want to trade up, I think they have to target the Giants, Indy, or Denver. The Giants and Broncos might be interested in QBs themselves, though.