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Buffalo Bills 2017 NFL Draft Recap

Hello Bills Mafia,

Another year has passed and no playoffs for the Buffalo Bills. Cheer up though because it seems that the Bills finally found a “franchise” quarterback for the time being. Tyrod Taylor has played above expectations with limited talent around him and he’ll look to keep improving to help this team reach the playoffs since the 1999 season, that’s quite the streak. New head coach Sean McDermott will look to put the ‘Shade’ on that playoff drought during his tenure in Buffalo. Getting back to the promise land all starts through the draft and building a team. Let’s stampede right into what the Bills did this year in the draft and see how each player will contribute.

-1st Round, Pick #27: Tre’Davious White – Cornerback (LSU)

  • The Buffalo Bills lost top cornerback Stephon Gilmore during the off-season and needed to acquire immediate help in the secondary after his departure. Tre’Davious White will attempt filling in Gilmore’s shoes, but that’ll be a hard task and more than likely going to be a team alliance until the rookie gets his feet wet in the NFL. White is smaller than the prototypical island corner, although that’s what he was at LSU. He shadowed the opposing number one receiver all game long. The NFL is a different animal and I believe he’ll have a tough time covering certain number ones considering his 5’11” frame. Tre’Davious White will be a good player, don’t get me wrong, but he’s better suited for a nickel-slot corner and obvious passing situations. White’s slender frame made it difficult to wrap up bigger players and non-existent in stopping the run. Tre’Davious White is a good cover corner, but we’ll see how he fits in new head coach Sean McDermott’s aggressive defensive scheme.

-2nd Round, Pick #37: Zay Jones – Wide Receiver (East Carolina)

  • The Buffalo Bills snatched the FBS career leader in receptions (399). With a receiver core consisting of injury-prone Sammy Watkins along with free agent additions Corey “Philly” Brown, Andre Holmes and all the other stragglers currently on the roster, Zay Jones is primed to start right away. Jones has good size at 6’2″ and speed with a 4.45 dash. The Bills will gladly take on a reliable sure-handed receiver. Sammy Watkins cannot stay on the field and the Bills did not pick up his fifth year option, so Watkins might not even be on the team next year. I expect big things from Zay Jones this upcoming season and could end up as the number one receiver by years end.

-2nd round, Pick #63: Dion Dawkins – Offensive Guard (Temple)

  • Dion Dawkins was highly considered one of the best offensive guards in the entire 2017 draft. Dawkins can play both on the inside or outside along the offensive line and the Buffalo Bills will probably kick him to right tackle. The Bills offensive line is a lot better than what people give them credit for. Cordy Glenn and Richie Incognito anchor the left side of the line down. Eric Woods is a great center and right guard John Miller was PFF’s most improved sophomore players. The right tackle position is the only one that needs an upgrade and makes sense for Dawkins to take over if he’s looking for a starting job. His versatility will come in handy too if need be. Great selection for the Bills.

-5th Round, Pick #163: Matt Milano – Linebacker (Boston College)

  • The Buffalo Bills linebacking core took a hit when Zach Brown left in free agency to join the Washington Redskins. The Bills only have a few players that are assumed to have a prominent role in the 4-3 look, but even they have their questionable concerns. Reggie Ragland is still an unknown after missing his rookie season with an injury. Lorenzo Alexander is getting up there in age and Preston Brown is currently just a guy as of right now. The Buffalo Bills need depth and quite possibly a player to take the torch one day. Matt Milano most likely won’t be that guy, but he brings a versatile style of play to the team being a former safety. He’s not afraid to initiate contact and run after the ball carrier. Milano’s skill set will best be used on special teams and sub-packs where his coverage training will be needed. For a fifth round selection the Bills got a nice special teams contributor and a linebacker they can use on passing downs. Sean McDermott likes his linebackers to do a lot of man-to-man coverage and Matt Milano fits the mold.

-5th Round, Pick #171: Nathan Peterman – Quarterback (Pittsburgh)

  • The Buffalo Bills organization has been very shady about their quarterback situation. It’s been rumored that they wanted to move on from Tyrod Taylor and give someone else a try. Well, Taylor has made that very difficult for upper management to do so because of his play-making ability. Tyrod Taylor should finally feel a sigh of relief as EJ Manuel is now in Oakland, Cardale Jones was just traded to the Los Angeles Chargers and the Bills traded out of the top ten in the first round with players like Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson still available. TJ Yates won’t be threatening Taylor’s job and now Nathan Peterman appears to be a developmental project for offensive coordinator Rick Dennison to groom. Peterman had an inconsistent career at Pittsburgh, but he comes from a pro-style offense so his game will easily translate to the next level. The question is if he can make the necessary throws on a consistent and accurate basis.

-6th Round, Pick #195: Tanner Vallejo – Linebacker (Boise State)

  • Despite what you think of Tanner Vallejo, you cannot question the kids’ toughness. He played almost all of the 2016 collegiate season with a wrist injury and you could tell it put a damper on his play. Vallejo won’t be in the starting conversation, but as mentioned earlier the Bills needed linebacking depth and tough players like him always find a niche on special teams. He has the capabilities of racking up the tackles for a defense as he did with Boise State accumulating 275 in his career. We’ll see what happens with this prospect moving forward.

The Buffalo Bills had a good draft and added some good players to help out in key positions. The Bills will have an uphill battle trying to get into post-season play since the 1999 season when they have to compete with a lot of talented AFC teams this season. They’re trending in the right direction though and it appears they finally have a quarterback with the potential to lead them to the playoffs. We’ll see what’s in store for the Bills Mafia this season. Until then, have a great day!

-Austin Thomas


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