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Strategy And Personnel

The Sports Xchange

April 29, 2018 at 10:44 pm.

A closer look at the Bills picks:

Round 1/7 — Josh Allen, QB, 6-5, 237, Wyoming

The Bills knew they had to come out of the first round with their potential quarterback of the future. They had a choice between Allen and Josh Rosen after they traded up to Tampa Bay’s spot at No. 7, and they took the riskier path by choosing Allen despite the fact that he will be somewhat of a project. Allen has a tremendous skill set to coach, but he has flaws pertaining mostly to accuracy. Barring a surprise, Allen seems destined to sit and learn behind AJ McCarron in 2018.

Round 1/16 – Tremaine Edmunds, LB, 6-4, 250, Virginia Tech

The Bills moved from No. 22 to 16 to make sure they could pick Edmunds, considered by many as the best outside linebacker in the draft. Edmunds, however, could become the middle linebacker in head coach Sean McDermott’s 4-3 because he’s so athletic and versatile. Edmunds should walk into the building and be a starter, somewhere, from Day 1.

Round 3/96 – Harrison Phillips, DT, 6-3, 290, Stanford

Phillips is essentially a younger version of 35-year-old Bills DT Kyle Williams, the man he will share time with on the inside of the Bills’ 4-3 defense, and likely replace next year. Phillips is a motor-never-stops guy, exactly the way Williams has built his 13-year career. What makes Phillips so intriguing is that from his interior line spot, he led the Cardinal with 103 tackles as a senior in 2017, and that made him a third-team AP All-America as well as first team All-Pac-12.

Round 4/121 – Taron Johnson, CB, 5-11, 192, Weber State

The Bills have a big need at cornerback, and Johnson projects as a slot corner, the position that Leonard Johnson played so well last season for the Bills. Taron Johnson doesn’t have the skill set to succeed on the outside, nor does he have the size to do battle with the best outside receivers. This pick seemed like a bit of a reach as NFLDraftScout.com had him projected as a seventh-round pick.

Round 5/154 – Siran Neal, S, 6-0, 206, Jacksonville State

The Bills made a somewhat curious pick, given other needs, when they took Neal. He was primarily a safety in his senior season, though he did get some time at cornerback. Previously, he had been a linebacker. However, the Bills are putting a value on secondary depth, and Neal brings versatility to the table to back up safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde, and maybe even inside corner in the dime.

Round 5/166 – Wyatt Teller, G, 6-4, 314, Virginia Tech

Teller comes to Buffalo as a mature 23-year-old with 43 career starts. He will compete with Ryan Groy and Vlad Ducasse for a starting spot at guard, though it seems unlikely he will make much of an impact as a rookie. He has uncommon strength and was a weight-room warrior for the Hokies. Last season as a senior, he was a first-team all-ACC selection, though scouts felt his play dipped a bit from 2016.

Round 6/187 – Ray-Ray McCloud, WR, 5-10, 190, Clemson

He had average production as a pass-catching threat, but he may factor into the Bills return game as he was a second-team All-America pick by Pro Football Focus for his punt-return skills. The Bills probably should have addressed this position earlier, because McCloud isn’t likely to have much of an impact.

Round 7/255 – Austin Proehl, WR, 5-10, 175, North Carolina

Again, same as McCloud, there is not likely to be much of an impact from this player, if he makes the team at all. His father Ricky played 17 seasons in the NFL, but Austin simply doesn’t have the size, and he battled injuries in college. His only chance would be as a slot receiver.

PLUG AND PLAY

LB Tremaine Edmunds: The second of the Bills’ two first-rounders comes to a team that needs two starting linebackers. Edmunds will certainly fill one of them, either at middle linebacker or outside on the weak side. He has tremendous speed, and he’s also a sure tackler who made 226 during his college career. An outstanding player, at a huge position of need.

WILL SURPRISE

DT Harrison Phillips: This is head coach Sean McDermott’s kind of a player, someone who never stops working and hustling and competing. With former third-round pick Adolphus Washington playing unimpressively for two years, Phillips could become the prime backup at both tackle spots behind Kyle Williams and Star Lotulelei.

WHAT THE HELL?

S Siran Neal: The Bills had far more pressing needs at wide receiver in the fifth round, but they opted to add some depth at safety behind Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde. This may have been a bit of a reach without addressing a key area of need.

 

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