Who Should the Buffalo Bills Draft First in 2020?
Bills fans don’t have to worry about figuring out how they are going to stream Day 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft. After swapping the 22nd pick for Stefon Diggs, Buffalo won’t make their first selection until a couple of hours into Day 2.
The saving grace is there are some pretty intriguing edge rushers and offensive linemen who should still be on the board at pick #54. Those seem to be the Bills’ most genuine areas of concern, although drafting depth in the secondary will likely occur within one of their first few picks.
Let’s look ahead and try and figure out who the Buffalo Bills should draft first.
Buffalo Bills’ Biggest Draft Needs
Ed Oliver looks like a future superstar in the interior of the defensive line, and Tremaine Edmunds is a middle linebacker Sean McDermott is excited about. However, Shaq Lawson’s departure means there’s a big hole at defensive end. Signing Josh Norman at this stage of his career tells me Buffalo is desperate for a cornerback.
Josh Allen could always use more protection, so I could really see the Bills going in a number of different directions when they’re on the clock in the second round. Perhaps the Bills will just trust their big board and draft the best player available.
I’ll toss out three potential names.
Draft Curtis Weaver
Three years at Boise State was more than enough for Curtis Weaver to prove his worth as a potent edge rusher. The SoCal native accumulated 34 sacks in his three seasons with the Broncos and should translate into a valuable asset at the next level.
Doing his damage from the defensive end spot, I doubt it would take very long for Weaver to supplant guys like Trent Murphy and Jerry Hughes on the Bills depth chart. I’ve seen some NFL mocks that have Curtis coming off the board at the tail end of round one, while others have him getting picked in the third round.
Buffalo picking at #54 is one of the reasons Weaver slipping to round three doesn’t seem all that likely.
Draft Ezra Cleveland
If Curtis Weaver is gone or the Bills decide to pass on him, maybe it’s because Brandon Beane is zeroing in on another former Boise State player. Whether Ezra Cleveland slides this far remains to be seen, but I’m sure the Bills have their eyes on him in the event that he does.
Neither Cody Ford nor Dion Dawkins is indispensable, and Ezra Cleveland is a beast in both the running and the passing game. Opening up holes for Devin Singletary and affording Josh Allen time to go through his progressions could easily sway Buffalo into nabbing a big-bodied tackle with their first pick in the draft.
If Cleveland is gone, names like Isaiah Wilson and Prince Wanogho could be in the mix.
Draft Damon Arnette
Tre’Davious White and Josh Norman can both match up, but drafting a cornerback who excels in zone coverage would help solidify Leslie Frazier’s unit. Damon Arnette did exactly that during his time in Columbus, and he’s in the running with J.K. Dobbins and Malik Harrison to be the third former Buckeye selected. Of course, Chase Young and Jeffrey Okudah are both expected to be top-3 picks.
At 6’0 and 195 pounds, Arnette can hold his own in run support and battle right ends trying to leak out into space. The faster he can develop his awareness in space, the quicker he can become an every-down player in the National Football League. While his skill set might not fit what every team is looking for, I suspect he’d blend in nicely with the DBs in Buffalo.
Who Will the Bills Draft First?
It’d be nice if Buffalo had multiple picks in the first couple of rounds so that they could address more than one need, but that’s not the hand Sean McDermott has been dealt. With just one pick inside the first 85 selections, it would make the most sense for the Bills to spend their first pick on an offensive lineman who can start contributing right away.
It’s possible to find quality edge rushers and corners deep into the draft, while it’s much more unlikely a “ready-to-play” offensive lineman will last beyond the first two rounds. Ezra Cleveland has all the tools to be a Pro-Bowl caliber offensive tackle, and it’s evident he could boost Buffalo’s protection scheme immediately upon arrival.
The only question that’s left is if Ezra will be available.
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