After their assault on the Super Bowl fell short in the AFC Divisional Round last season, the Buffalo Bills were looking to retool in the 2023 NFL Draft. Did they succeed? The Bills’ draft grades tell the story of how Buffalo’s 2023 NFL Draft unfolded.
Buffalo Bills NFL Draft Grades
Round 1, Pick 25: Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
Packaging the 27th overall and 130th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Buffalo jumped up to the 25th spot to land Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid. Wide receiver was considered a need for the Bills, and in taking Kincaid, they land a player who arguably possesses better route-running ability and hands than a large percentage of this WR class.
A relative newcomer to football, Kincaid impressed at the FCS level before emerging onto the national stage with the Pac-12-winning Utes. From his route-running to his ability to pluck the ball away from his frame, Kincaid’s technical ability is almost-flawless, and his body control and timing enables him to make any catch.
While his pass-catching prowess made him one of the top tight ends in the class, Kincaid’s a willing blocker too. Josh Allen gets a game-changing weapon for the Bills’ offense.
Round 2, Pick 59: O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida
Although the Bills added Connor McGovern in the offseason, interior offensive line was still considered a substantial need in the 2023 NFL Draft, so much so that they were consistently paired with the position in the first round of mock drafts. Often that player was Florida guard O’Cyrus Torrence who took the SEC by storm, not skipping a beat following his transfer from Louisiana.
A mammoth of a man, Torrence boasts incredible power to act as a roadblock in the ground game, something that the Bills have been crying out for. Despite being the size of a house, Torrence can get out to the second level well, while he’s showcased technical nuance as a pass protector.
Round 3, Pick 91: Dorian Williams, LB, Tulane
While this might appear to be a little bit of a reach when you consider Dorian Williams‘ ranking on the PFN Big Board (125), I love this pick for the Bills. Buffalo needed to add a linebacker following the departure of Terrell Edmunds, and the former Tulane standout has the potential to walk straight into the starting lineup as a rookie.
The 6’2″, 225-pound linebacker showcases impressive closing speed and isn’t short on sideline-to-sideline speed either. Displaying violence in his hands, he hits with ferocity. More than just a heavy hitter, however, Williams demonstrates impressive instincts and play recognition. He’s also a highly experienced special-teams weapon.
Round 5, Pick 150: Justin Shorter, WR, Florida
A big, physical threat on the outside, Justin Shorter has a limited route tree. He’ll factor into the Bills’ lineup as a WR3 or WR4, nothing more. At 6’4” and 229, he has size and speed, but inconsistency, inability to stay on the field, and the aforementioned limited route tree stymied his long-term development through five years in college.
Round 7, Pick 230: Nick Broeker, G, Ole Miss
There certainly aren’t many players with as much experience as Nick Broeker in this draft, especially at this point, as the four-year starter for the Rebels has a fully-equipped toolbox.
Broeker is strong and refined with his hands, which helps make up for a lack of athleticism. He’s better in pass protection and will need to improve his ability on the move in the run game to be a contributor at this stage.
Round 7, Pick 252: Alex Austin, CB, Oregon State
A knockout at this stage, Alex Austin has high-end potential in his game. Austin has great instincts and a terrific athletic profile that follows him to Buffalo. He’s sticky in coverage and stays in phase well. Austin also has special-teams ability and a feisty attitude all over the field.
What Were the Bills’ Biggest Needs Entering the Draft?
- G, CB, WR, LB
The Bills are one of the more difficult teams to project. They have talent or upside everywhere, so picking apart their roster isn’t easy. They’ve been able to upgrade their offensive interior for a while now, yet haven’t seemed interested. Spencer Brown has upside, but if the right player falls to them, he could be replaceable.
Meanwhile, Buffalo could very well find a complement to Stefon Diggs. Gabe Davis is a fine boom-or-bust player. He’s a downfield threat of the highest order, but he doesn’t take a ton of the target-share pressure off Diggs. Buffalo could be in a position to add a shifty inside-out player, of which there are plenty in this class to fit the niche.
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