Buffalo hosts draft prospects, hints at future selections the team may make in early rounds

Defensive tackle Ed Oliver (pictured above) recently came to Buffalo for a pre-draft visit. Buffalo may draft Oliver with their ninth pick (courtesy of Creative Commons).

There is widespread speculation among those who follow the Buffalo Bills about what the team will do in the 2019 NFL Draft this month. The team has 10 total selections in this year’s draft and should be able to add some significant talent to their roster. 

To analyze all 10 selections would be a long and painstaking process. So, for the sake of saving time, the team’s first three selections in the draft will be analyzed.

Buffalo’s first draft choice is the ninth overall pick. The team’s front office has given no hint as to what player they will choose other than saying they will pick the best overall player available. There is also a possibility the team could trade the pick. A trade down the draft board is more likely than a trade up because most teams trade up to draft a quarterback—Buffalo did just that last year.

Assuming the team stays put in the ninth slot, Buffalo’s draft pick will most likely be defensive tackle Ed Oliver. Some think Buffalo may take an offensive lineman or a wide receiver, but if Oliver is still available by the ninth pick he would be, hands down, the best player still available. Oliver would be able to replace recently retired defensive tackle Kyle Williams.

Buffalo has already shown interest in Oliver. The team will host him for a visit at their facilities on an undisclosed date and head coach Sean McDermott made an appearance at Oliver’s pro day at Houston University on Thursday March 28. Oliver impressed in his workouts by putting up a quick 4.71 second 40-yard dash among other notable workout numbers.

The Bills’ second pick of the draft is the 40th overall selection in the draft and the eighth overall pick in the second round. After choosing not to address the offensive side of the ball in round one Buffalo will most likely add a weapon for quarterback Josh Allen.

A player like tight end Irv Smith Jr. would be an enticing choice for the Bills. Buffalo is thin at the tight end position after releasing tight end Charles Clay. 

Smith Jr. could step in as a number one tight end and give Allen a reliable passing option over the middle of the field and in the passing game. Smith Jr. has also proven to be a competent blocker which would be an added benefit.

Smith Jr. does not have any connections to Buffalo thus far leading up to the draft, but it is not out of the ordinary for teams to draft players they have not hosted for a workout. If Smith Jr. is still on the board when Buffalo picks in the second round, be on alert for him to be their choice. 

Buffalo’s third choice is the 75th pick overall and the 11th pick in the third round. In the third round, do not be surprised if the Bills continue to address the offensive line. An interior offensive lineman like guard Beau Benzschawel is a possible option with the team’s third choice.

In free agency the team added to the offensive line with players like center Mitch Morse and tackle Ty Nsekhe, but protecting Allen will remain a priority for this team and Benzshawel’s strength is his pass-blocking ability. 

Benzschawel has a lot he still needs to work on, but there will be plenty of competition among offensive linemen this offseason, so Benzschawel will have an opportunity to earn his spot.

Successfully predicting the NFL draft is about as easy as picking a perfect bracket for college basketball’s March Madness, but if Buffalo’s draft is executed like this through the first three rounds, they could walk away proud of their strategy. 

Oliver, Smith Jr. and Benzschawel are all talented prospects that could help the team move forward. These choices bolster the defense and give much needed help to the quarterback. Anything could happen, but through the first three round, these options are not out of the realm of possibility.

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