After the Buffalo Bills made the playoffs in the first year under head coach Sean McDermott, they had a rough second season, finishing 6-10. However, there is hope moving forward as they believe they have found their franchise quarterback in Josh Allen. Now, it’s time for them to build around him.
Unlike so many teams this offseason, the Buffalo Bills are not looking for a quarterback. During the 2018 NFL Draft, the Bills traded up from 12th overall with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to draft Josh Allen. While Buffalo finished 6-10, they saw glimpses of hope from their offense and Allen.
Last season, Allen missed four games due to an elbow injury. However, he showed flashes of becoming a big play quarterback with his huge arm and elusiveness. Although Allen had his ups and downs as a rookie, he progressed late in the season with some solid performances against the Miami Dolphins and the Detroit Lions.
— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) December 5, 2018
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) December 5, 2018
Now that Buffalo has their quarterback of the future, it is time for the team to build around him.
To take advantage of Allen’s unique skill set, Buffalo should target a wide receiver early in the draft. While many have pointed to D.K. Metcalf, other receivers would also fit in well with the Bills offense.
Lost in all the Metcalf hype during the NFL Combine was N’Keal Harry and what he brings to the table. The 6-foot-2, the 228-pound receiver may not have the speed Metcalf does, but he can win one-on-one matchups on the outside. Also, Harry was durable in college, a question mark Metcalf has about himself.
Buffalo also needs help at the tight end position as the team released Charles Clay last month. If they want to go the unconventional route, the Bills could choose to draft one of the top tight ends. Both T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant from Iowa are expected to go in the first round. Hockenson is the more polished of the two players as he caught 49 receptions for 760 yards and six touchdowns in 2018. However, Fant, who ran a 4.50 40-yard dash at the combine, could have the higher ceiling.
A best friend of a quarterback in any offense is a tight end who can keep the chains moving. Most Bills fans and analysts may not view want a tight end in the first round, it wouldn’t be a bad selection. If Buffalo doesn’t address the tight end position in the first round, players like Alabama Irv Smith Jr. and Kaden Smith from Stanford could potentially be options in Day 2 of the draft.
Last but certainly not least, Buffalo needs to draft a younger running back. Yes, LeSean McCoy is still on the Bills roster, but he will be 31 in July and is coming off the worst season of his career (514 yards rushing).
The Bills won’t likely draft a running back early, but there’s some value at the position during this year’s draft. Justice Hill, who is a little undersized, has the potential to be the 2019 version of Phillip Lindsey. During his three seasons at Oklahoma State, Hill rushed for 3,539 yards and 30 touchdowns. He also caught 49 receptions for 304 yards and a touchdown during his three seasons in Stillwater.
If Hill isn’t an option, later on, Elijah Holyfield from Georgia, Mike Weber from Ohio State and Jalin Moore from Appalachian State would fit in the Bills offense.
The 2019 offense is just as crucial as 2018 for the Bills. The team has to find playmakers to complement Allen’s game. Their success during the 2019 draft will determine if the Bills are ready to take the next step sooner rather than later.