Buffalo Bills 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft: Kaiir Elam kicks off a playoff retooling

In this Buffalo Bills 2022 7-Round NFL Mock Draft, who do they select, and how should they retool for a return to the postseason?

After an early ousting from the playoffs, the Buffalo Bills now turn their attention to the offseason. That includes a free-agency period that Buffalo will have to be major players in to retain a bevy of players from this year’s playoff team. Additionally, the 2022 NFL Draft is just three months away. Let’s take a peek at a Bills 2022 7-Round Mock Draft and see how they retool for a return to the playoffs next year.

Buffalo Bills 7-Round NFL Mock Draft

The Bills have nine total selections in the 2022 NFL Draft. That includes one pick in each round until two in both Rounds 6 and 7.

Round 1, Pick 25: Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida

Buffalo needs help in the secondary. That includes each position but nailing a cornerback is their top need. Kaiir Elam represents a player vying for consideration as one of the top four CBs in this draft. With a varietal who’s who of corners in this class, it will be a wonder where teams rank them all the way until their names are called.

In Elam’s case, however, he represents an NFL legacy and a player with tremendous ball skills. He can cover a variety of receivers and is fine being left alone on an island. He would immediately bolster Buffalo’s coverage group if he’s available at 25.

If Elam is not available, there may not be a cornerback on the board for Buffalo with the 25th pick. As such, look for Buffalo to become players in the trade market or attach themselves to another position of need here.

Other alternatives at No. 25: Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington; Kyler Gordon, CB, Washington; Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia

Round 2, Pick 57: Phidarian Mathis, DT, Alabama

The Bills are going to have to spend big to keep their free agents. One of those players who they’d have to opt to re-sign is this past season’s starter at one defensive tackle spot: Harrison Phillips. The team will still have Ed Oliver in 2022 with a fifth-year option for 2023.

Pairing Phidarian Mathis with Oliver would be a dream scenario. Mathis is a big man with a high motor. Despite being an older rookie next fall, Mathis is NFL-ready. He can rush the passer and crash down the line of scrimmage in the run game. His skill set pairs nicely with Oliver’s, freeing up favorable one-on-one matchups on the inside.

Other alternatives at No. 57: Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia; Logan Hall, DT, Houston; Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State

Round 3, Pick 89: Jalen Pitre, S, Baylor

A do-it-all safety in the third round would be too great to pass up for the Bills. That’s what Jalen Pitre brings to the table. Pitre isn’t the biggest man, but he plays much bigger on the field. He patrols the middle of the field and covers like a cornerback.

The best part about grabbing a player with Pitre’s upside is the fact that he won’t be rushed into duty right away. Pitre can sit behind both Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer as both are in the final years of their contracts in 2022. Pitre can fill in as a nickel corner and sub-package safety in the meantime as a rookie. He’d almost certainly make an impact no matter where he lines up.

Other alternatives at No. 89: Verone McKinley III, S, Oregon; Kerby Joseph, S, Illinois; Yusuf Corker, S, Kentucky

Round 4, Pick 127: Sincere McCormick, RB, UTSA

With the shortening shelf life of NFL running backs, the clock is ticking on both Devin Singletary and Zack Moss. While both will remain under contract leading in 2022, the Bills could use a revitalization in their running back room. Looking no earlier than Day 3 for the position, the Bills can still find a valuable role player with the upside to grow into a starter.

That player is UTSA’s Sincere McCormick. The elusive RB dominated action at UTSA, routinely making highlight-reel plays look ordinary. McCormick has great contact balance and better speed through his breaks. He’s a rare blend of power and speed rolled up in one tough-to-tackle frame.

Other alternatives at No. 127: Hassan Haskins, RB, Michigan; Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida; Tyler Goodson, RB, Iowa

Round 5, Pick 167: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State

Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders will not play the game forever. In fact, both of their careers with the Bills could be over as soon as, well, now. Sanders was on a one-year contract while Beasley brought unnecessary attention to the team and has just one year remaining on his deal. That would leave 28-year-old Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis as the team’s remaining big-time pass catchers. It’s safe to say the Bills could look even earlier for a wide receiver in the draft.

With their first pick of the last three rounds, they grab Christian Watson from North Dakota State. Watson is a massive man at 6’5″ and plays just as big, if not bigger. He dominates at the catch point and runs crisp routes. He was wickedly underthrown at times in NDSU’s offense this past season but still made plays coming back to the football. He’ll beat defenders with his quick first step or run right by them with his long strides.

Other alternatives at No. 167: Charleston Rambo, WR, Miami (FL); Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan; Kyle Philips, WR, UCLA

Round 6, Pick 185: Jaylen Watson, CB, Washington State

As the expression goes, you can’t have enough good cornerbacks in today’s NFL. As such, look for the Bills to add yet another talented playmaker with one of their later-round selections. Jaylen Watson is a talented player with great range. He’s likely best suited for a situational or nickel coverage role to start his career as he gets a bit handsy in coverage, but he certainly has the upside to make an impact before too long.

Other alternatives at No. 185: Allie Green IV, CB, Missouri; Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebraska; Jermaine Waller, CB, Virginia Tech

Round 6, Pick 204: Dohnovan West, G, Arizona State

With their final pick of the sixth round, the Bills could look to address depth along the offensive line. Bringing in a player like Dohnovan West would be ideal. West has positional versatility, having played three different positions at a high level in three seasons at Arizona State. After a 2019 campaign at right guard, West flipped sides to left guard in the COVID-19 shortened season of 2020. He then played extremely well at center for the Sun Devils in 2021 and has a great strength-balance combination.

Other alternatives at No. 204: Blaise Andries, G, Minnesota; Josh Rivas, G, Kansas State; Luke Wattenberg, C, Washington

Round 7, Pick 230: Bryan Cook, S, Cincinnati

At this stage, the Bills should be on the lookout for potential high-upside, low-risk players at any position of need. In Bryan Cook, they find another safety who could play a pivotal role in years to come. And again, he would be best served sitting behind Hyde and Poyer for at least a year. Cook is an experienced safety who generated some terrific plays in run defense and coverage this past season with the Bearcats.

Other alternatives at No. 230: Tycen Anderson, S, Toledo; Jeremiah Gemmel, LB, North Carolina; Scott Nelson, S, Wisconsin

Round 7, Pick 245: Clarence Hicks, LB, UTSA

The Bills will have work to do on defense this offseason. Depth at linebacker will always be an issue, but with the depth of this class at the position, it makes sense to make one of their selections a talented, three-down player. UTSA’s Clarence Hicks represents our Conference-USA Defensive Player of the Year because he was just that: an elite three-down player.

Hicks can stop the run with great read-and-react ability. He can also drop in coverage and rush the passer with ease. Adjusting to the speed of the NFL will be his biggest hurdle.

Other alternatives at No. 245: Jeremiah Moon, LB, Florida; Otito Ogbonnia, DT, UCLA; Aaron Hansford, LB, Texas A&M

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