2024 NFL Draft, NFL Draft

Final Pick 6 — 2024 NFL Draft

Featured Photo Credit: Keith Randolph Jr. Credit: Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK via Imagn.com, LLC.

ROUND 1 : Get Up To Speed.
Don’t overthink it! Take the best-available ‘X’ receiver with the greatest chance of becoming your WR1. Period. All of these guys were heavily-scouted, all made it to One Bills Drive for a thorough interview, and all of them win against your entire position room in a foot race, taking the top off the field. I am partial to having size to go along with your speed, and judging from the highest ScoutScore, Beane sees it the same way. Use your 2025 RD2 if necessary, but make Brady and Mangas happy: bring one of their LSU proteges to the Buffalo Bills: Brian Thomas Jr. The coaches already know how to use him.
Just Missed The Top Six: DL Byron Murphy (‘Freaks’ list, ” 33 in. vertical at Combine and a 4.87 forty, also a FB, helped RB score a TD on goal to go in scouted game vs Baylor), EDGE Chop Robinson (RAS 9.68 is 2nd at position and #1 of the Day1-Day2 EDGEs, 5 solos, 1 sack 2 TFL in scouted game vs Rutgers).

ROUND 2 : Think Snaps.
At Pick #60, the Bills need to think about how often one of these second-rounders get onto the field in 2024-25. EDGE Adisa Isaac would have a clear path to snaps. Isaac plays LDE opposite Chop Robinson and is taller and faster. Manny Diaz, Adisa Isaac’s Defensive Coordinator in 2023, is part of Sean McDermott’s inner circle, and they’ve both talked about how to best use Isaac, for sure. PSU finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in FBS fewest yards allowed (223.3), and most sacks in the nation (48). Trey Benson gets onfield because he’s the draft’s ideal complement to James Cook. Benson was ranked first in the ACC in yards per carry. He averaged an FBS-leading 0.51 missed tackles per attempt, the highest mark in college football in at least 10 years. His weight adjusted forty time is 92%ile, he cuts at full speed, and makes the defense think twice on every play. The Bills would like to mix about 7-8 IDL, and Orhororo (say “uh…row, row, row your boat”) is anything but gentle in his downstream salvos at the QB. He adds some inside-outside versatility as a DE…and overlapped with Baylon Spector at Clemson. Tez Walker’s top interview likely impressed the Bills at his 30-visit, he has position versatility and downfield-stretching speed, possesses the #4 wingspan in the draft class, and would keep BTJr fresh (you didn’t overthink it, did you?). Marshawn Kneeland is the only EDGE 30-visit (they’ll like this Billsy manner), and you need one more EDGE in that rotation. I’ll let you decide if you need a CB with Kaiir Elam’s speed who plays special teams –Max Melton. Melton’s INT vs Northwestern was a scouted game. Melton was the fastest player tracked at the Senior Bowl practices (19.52 MPH, 20.96 earlier in the week). 20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.29; 3-Cone Drill: 6.95; Vertical Jump: 40 1/2; Broad Jump: 11’04”. I prefer Hicks and Bishop a bit better, but they received fewer looks.
Just Missed The Top Six: S Jaden Hicks (Cross-trained at Free and Strong Safety this spring), S Cole Bishop (was teammates with Kincaid, 4th in Lowest Passer Rating Allowed, SS with highest solos per game), and EDGE Bralen Trice (led the nation with 70 pressures in 2022, 70 pressures in 2023, and most pressures in a single game by a P5 defender since PFF began charting college football –2014).

ROUND 3: You Don’t Have a Pick Right Now, But If You DID…
If Beane wants a pick here, he could trade that Diggs RD2 from next year with the Panthers and make the RD3#1 his own, opening up any of these six. In Kinchens, you get the most “Bills-y” of the safeties. During his entire Bulldog career, Van Pran gave up one sack on 1878 snaps as the Bulldogs’ center, and would give the Bills a great competition for Connor McGovern from the get-go. Despite Diaz leaving, the Miami Connection is still alive and well, giving you Kinchens and Leonard Taylor right here, with Taylor’s Top-Five IDL Pass Rush Pressure % at 10.4% –102 pressures over the last 2 seasons, despite low-ish snap count. The ACC is still Beane’s favorite conference. But this year the Big10 hosted more Bills scout visits than the ACC, led by Michigan’, in turn led by Michigan’s seven Top-100 picks, if my count is right. Zak Zinter [ Joel Klatt’s account of his injury story thankfully doesn’t show the injury, but it’s required viewing]. The Bills’ OL Coach went to Zinter’s Pro Day. After winning back-to-back Joe Moore Awards, Zinter was inarguably their leader for both titles. He’s an absolute mauler with a mean streak and agile: 33″ vert. Duplicates Torrence’s position, though. Andru Phillips checks all the boxes; he and Stiggers are my best bets if the Bills go corner before Day 3.
Just Missed The Top Six: WR Johnny Wilson (best downfield blocker in class, built like a tall brick outhouse).

ROUND 4: The Two-Pick Shakir.
Khalil Shakir was pick #148, a round-five, seeming afterthought, but he’s now the Bills remaining WR starter and this year’s most-likely Puka Nacua (in my opinion). Beane can mine gems at greater depths than his NFL GM counterparts, and I’m here for it. We get to pick TWO in this round if one wasn’t used to trade up: #128 and #133. Take a DB with one of these two picks if you haven’t already; listen to Tykee Smith’s interview if you’re wanting a tiebreaker with Kalen King in the Pick #128 Group, but also listen to Stiggers in the Pick #133 Group. Estime’s attractive here if you don’t have your thunder back; he runs mean and can catch the ball. But Guerendo’s faster, and it’s okay to take Stiggers and Guerendo here in RD4. I think they like Goncalves’s potential to be a swing Tackle, but maybe Tommy Doyle’s nearing the end of his rehab. Bortolini’s versatility gives you what you lost in Bates’ move to the Bears. Mustapha put up 3 solos, 1 TFL, and a PBU in a scouted game, and met with the Bills both at the Combine and Senior Bowl. Just Missed The Top Six: CB Caelen Carson.

ROUND 5A: Safety Second.
You have three picks in this round going in: #144, #160, and #163. Hope you’ve already taken your first DB. Time to think about taking some depth and special-teams pieces. A second safety makes sense, but so does LB (you’ll keep 5, and you have 5 if you count Nicholas Morrow). Ulofoshio got the only 30-visit among the linebackers. Simpson is kind of slight in build, but is a ballhawk, often leading the SEC in interceptions. Adams, an Ontario/Toronto native and one of the fiercest on the Senior Bowl OL, took reps at Center at the Senior Bowl. He led the Illini in knockdowns with 120.5 and had double-digit knockdowns in six of 12 games. Vaki was used both on offense (RB) and defense (S) during Senior Bowl practice. Trevor Sikkema called him “the most interesting player” in the draft class. Vaki made Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List, and you saw it at the Combine and Pro Day: Elite Explosion Factor, 39″ vert, 520 squat, 10’5.5″ broad. Jarrian Jones had one of my 5 favorite CB interviews (Jones, Terrion Arnold, Stiggers, Tarheeb Still, and Storm Duck), and adds the height and speed behind Taron Johnson that Cam Lewis lacks.


ROUND 5B#160 and ROUND 5C#163: TAKE TWO: Pay Attention to McDermott’s Inner Circle.
There are 37 picks between Beane’s pick at #163 and his RD6#200, so he’s looking to fill out his roster and practice squad at this point, and he’ll pick TWO from the list below. Sean’s “inner circle” at Penn State, Miami, Baylor, and LSU occupy most of the names here, plus two 30-visits –WR KR Ryan Flournoy and DT1T Khristian Boyd. If Jordan Jefferson goes before this –or even if he hasn’t– Boyd is an attractive option. He was the Defensive Player of the Week at Shrine, put up 38 Bench Reps, and showed off a nice toolkit of moves for a guy from the Missouri Valley Conference (Spencer Brown’s school, too). Love his strength, burst, hands, and grip. Ryan Flournoy’s downfield blocking is arguably the best in the class, so he’d make you forget Gabe’s good blocking quickly. Flournoy’s Combine numbers of 4.44 in the forty, an 11’0” broad, and 39.5” vertical leap means he’s in the “Elite” category for explosion grade. Curtis Jacobs deserves strong attention with a Day-3 pick (Beane always chooses a LB there). Jacobs was the signal-caller for the Diaz defense that’s #3 in Momentum-Killer Play % (Ints, Fumbles, Sacks, Missed FGs, and 10+ yd. penalties).

ROUND 6: TAKE TWO: Listen to the Interviews –Because Beane Does.
Quite the menu here, but there are some late-round gems for Beane to mine for. Of the four 3-tech DTs, I like Keith Randolph Jr. the most. The interview, the locker-room presence, the athleticism (basketball in HS), and the scouted games –he held his own vs Michigan and Blake Corum, and he had 4 solos and a TFL in the scouted victory over MN. Of the linemen, I am drawn to Trevor Keegan by his top-5-in-RD6 interview, the fact that the Bills sent the OL Coach to the Pro Day (Zinter or Keegan?), and Keegan’s elevated level of nasty and archetypal size. Three linebackers caught my eye: JD Bertrand (best interview of all LBs), Jaylon Carlies (the Milano build with Safety-OLB flexibility — he even played WR), and do-everything chameleon Jaylen Harrell (29 snaps, 2 solos, 2 sacks, 2TFL, and 2 run stops in a scouted game). You have a pair of good-sized WRs, especially Devaughn Vele, a tall slot option with high upside who returned kicks, and one of the best interviews. Two votes here: You may have back-burnered CB up to now, and I’ll put the word in for Tarheeb Still. Listen to his interview, consider his CB-FS-KR flexibility, and watch the Shrine game, Pinstripe Bowl Pick Six, and his 4.19 shuttle time. My other vote goes to Keegan or to Matt Lee, Center out of Miami. He lives and breathes football –just listen.

ROUND 7: Draft Developmentally.
In RD7, Beane will draft for upside. Which player has a chance, in 2 years, to be vying for a spot on the 53? That exactly describes Gio Manu, and the Bills scouts went all the way to British Columbia for his Pro Day. Manu has size you can’t teach: Arm Length- 35 1/2” (89%), Wingspan- 83 1/2” (79%), and he blew up the vert. The Tongan started 33 games at left tackle [seen here] and six at left guard. Now we don’t have need for a ILB#1 or ILB#2, but Bethune was FSU’s leading tackler tied with Fiske. A transfer from UCF in the ‘2022 offseason after amassing 108 tackles at UCF, the gregarious Bethune became the Seminoles’ captain in 1 year. The other LB here, Michael Barrett, describes himself as a small LB / big DB, and that’s a fit in the Bills’ back 7, perhaps as a Taron Johnson understudy… Barrett had 2 solos, a sack and a TFL against Colorado State in one scouted game, then led in solo tackles in a 3x-scouted game vs Penn State. Best interview and best name here is Storm Duck, an opportunistic DB who impressed at his Pro Day with Bench Reps: 17; Vertical Jump: 39; Broad Jump: 11’02”; 20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.25; and 3-Cone Drill: 7.10. I love his FS-CB flexibility, humility, and willingness to work. You should also consider Mark Perry at Safety, though. Perry has speed, route-reading panache as a split safety, clicks and closes well, and has pop as a tackler. Eyabi Okie-Anoma has length, is fast, quick, and athletic, and showed a sweet spin move at the Shrine Game. He needs the tutelage of Groot and Von.

Just Missed The Top Six: Joshua Cephus WR (great interview), Evan Anderson DT1T (shows quickness laterally), Drake Nugent C (our OL Coach was at Pro Day, good interview), Jowon Briggs DT3T (one of the IDL’s strongest with 42 Bench, and it shows on tape), Kenny Logan S (Most solos per game in draft class —watch this and picture Micah Hyde), Ro Torrence CB (size, speed, good player on a bad team, allowed just 20 receptions in coverage last season, picks off Penix here by showing 6 rushers and sending 3).

Editor’s babble: What more can be said about Dean Kindig and his wizardry regarding the NFL Draft? Nothing but love for my brother Dean. You can also find Dean on Xwitter @TCBILLS_Astro.

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