The 2019 NFL combine ended this week. College players from around the nation came to display their physical abilities in the hopes of wooing teams and moving up draft boards. One of the most impressive players at this year’s combine was wide receiver DeKaylin Metcalf.
Metcalf made an impression on the national media immediately. Upon his arrival, it was said he weighed in at 228 pounds with only 1.9 percent body fat. Metcalf then proceeded to put up 27 reps on the bench press, which was tied for the most among wide receivers, and he ran a cheetah-like 4.33 second 40-yard dash. That’s a fast time for anyone let alone a receiver who stands at 6’4” and almost 230 pounds.
After this performance Metcalf became the talk of the combine and speculation began as to who may be the team that drafts the star wide receiver. One team that became the popular choice was the Buffalo Bills. The Bills have the No. 9 pick in the draft and have a need at wide receiver. So, drafting Metcalf seems to be the logical choice and the national media seems to agree, having paired up the wide receiver with Buffalo in many mock drafts.
Despite what seems to make sense to the national media and many Bills fans, Buffalo will not draft Metcalf with the No. 9 pick come April 25. Wide receiver is a glaring need on the team’s roster, but general manager Brandon Beane has stated in the months leading up to this draft that Buffalo will never draft based on need. They will always take the best available player.
To many, Metcalf is the prototypical No. 1 wide receiver with size and speed. Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott has said that he does not believe the prototypical No. 1 receiver still exists in today’s NFL.
Buffalo also tends to draft defensively. The team likes to build around the defensive side of the ball and in the first round of the 2017 draft they selected defensive back Tre’davious White and in the 2018 draft they selected linebacker Tremaine Edmunds after selecting quarterback Josh Allen.
In national circles, Metcalf and Buffalo seem to be the obvious match, but many who follow this team closely may not feel the same. Expect Buffalo to fill their needs at wide receiver through free agency which begins on Wednesday March 13. The team believes that free agency is the best place to fill needs and set yourself up to take the best player regardless of position come draft day.
With this in mind do not be surprised when Buffalo passes on Metcalf with their top 10 pick in this year’s draft. This team has proven to be somewhat of a wildcard in the past two drafts and they may make a selection nobody expects, or they could possibly trade back and gather more draft capital.
Should the team remain at nine, a player like defensive player Ed Oliver could be in play or offensive tackles Jonah Williams or Jawaan Taylor. None of these picks are flashy, but they fit the model set in place by both McDermott and Beane.
The ties between Metcalf and Buffalo are logical, but Buffalo has broken from traditional draft logic in recent years and they are building a team in the best way they know. The seemingly obvious choice is not always the right one.