It feels like the Bills have made it. They have a great coach, a great quarterback, a great roster, and a division title to defend. However, as long as the Lombardi Trophy eludes, there remains work to be done. Did the Bills accomplish what they needed to in the 2021 NFL Draft? Here are the Bills’ 2021 draft picks and grades.
Bills draft picks in 2021
- 30th Overall Selection (R1-P30): Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami
- 61st Overall Selection (R2-P29): Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest
- 93rd Overall Selection (R3-P30): Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa
- 161st Overall Selection (R4-P17, from Los Angeles Rams): Tommy Doyle, OT, Miami (OH)
- 203rd Overall Selection (R6-P19): Marquez Stevenson, WR, Houston
- 212th Overall Selection (R6-P28, from New Orleans): Damar Hamlin, S, Pitt
- 213th Overall Selection (R6-P29): Rachad Wildgoose, CB, Wisconsin
- 236th Overall Selection (R7-P8, from Carolina): Jack Anderson, OG, Texas Tech
Who did the Bills draft on Day 1?
With the 30th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills selected Miami EDGE Gregory Rousseau.
Buffalo Bills grades for 2021 NFL Draft
Edge rusher is arguably the most significant need on the Bills’ loaded roster. They had to attack the position early in the draft, with EDGE depth being lackluster in the draft. As such, Buffalo selected Rousseau with the 30th selection.
Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami (FL)
Although I agree with the position they chose, there are two key factors that held me back from giving the Billas an A for Day 1.
Firstly, Rousseau only has one year of quality tape, and even then, he was inconsistent. He opted out of the 2020 season, and in 2019 he did his most damage on the interior rather than on the outside. Secondly, I believe Jayson Oweh — who went one spot later to the Baltimore Ravens — is the better prospect.
Oweh generated otherworldly numbers at Penn State’s Pro Day, recording a 4.36 40-yard dash, 39.5-inch vertical jump, and a 156-inch broad jump at 6’5″ and nearly 250 pounds. At any rate, Rousseau fills a pass-rush need and provides Jerry Hughes with a running mate to terrorize opposing quarterbacks.
Carlos Basham Jr., DL, Wake Forest
The Bills decided to stack edge rushers in Rounds 1 and 2. After taking Rousseau on Day 1, they took Carlos Basham Jr. on Day 2. The Bills certainly have a type at EDGE, it appears. Like Rousseau, Basham’s size trends near “tweener” territory.
Still, Basham has more explosiveness than Rousseau, and his dense, well-leveraged frame allows him to get inside linemen. With Rousseau already in tow, doubling up is a bit underwhelming — especially with Ifeatu Melifonwu on the board. Still, Basham himself is a good player, and he can help in Year 1.
Spencer Brown, OT, Northern Iowa
The Bills are masters when it comes to building depth along the offensive line. They already have a starting tackle duo in Daryl Williams and Dion Dawkins, and Cody Ford has positional versatility. Spencer Brown makes the Bills richer in the trenches.
He tested as the most athletic tackle prospect in history, and his athleticism is very visible on tape. He has some issues with leverage, but he’s in a great situation. He doesn’t have to start right away in Buffalo, and he can iron out his issues with little pressure.
Tommy Doyle, OT, Miami (OH)
The Bills are bolstering their offensive line hard-core. They already came into the 2021 NFL Draft with tons of offensive line depth, and now they’ve added both Brown and Tommy Doyle. As a talent, Doyle is worth this pick, as he has the length and athleticism to be valuable depth. That said, they could have addressed a more pressing need, considering the value on the board at other positions.
Marquez Stevenson, WR, Houston
The Buffalo Bills, at this point, have a lot of flexibility with what they can do here. Thus, getting a speed threat like Marquez Stevenson in Round 6 is a low-risk, high-upside move. Buffalo’s receiving corps is only more versatile after this move, and Stevenson’s skill set meshes especially well with Josh Allen’s ability to dish the ball down the field.
Damar Hamlin, S, Pittsburgh
With Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde aging, the Buffalo Bills had a modest need at safety. In the late sixth round, Damar Hamlin provides very good value. He’s an experienced, heady player who has some measured athletic upside. He was a bit up and down at the Senior Bowl, but he has good traits to invest in for the Bills.
Rachad Wildgoose, CB, Wisconsin
At this point, the Bills appear to be prioritizing depth in the secondary. Rachad Wildgoose has an intriguing production profile, with a peak in 2019 that included a pick and 6 pass deflections. He’s also decently sized. Nevertheless, there doesn’t appear to be as much upside here. The hope is that Wildgoose can be a special-teams contributor on top of his rotational value.
Jack Anderson, OG, Texas Tech
This is another solid pick on the offensive line for the Buffalo Bills. Jack Anderson is a former top prospect and a multi-year starter for the Red Raiders. He performed admirably at the Senior Bowl and showcased a high-floor profile. At the very least, Anderson provides utility as a depth player, and that’s something you can’t have enough of on the offensive line.
Buffalo Bills Overall Grade: B+
The Bills didn’t need to have a home run draft with what was already a solid roster. That said, Gregory Rousseau isn’t a great fit on the edge, and Carlos Basham Jr. will also need some creativity. That said, the Bills increased the depth of their offensive line ten-fold, and they also added high-upside Day 3 players like Damar Hamlin and Marquez Stevenson. Upgrading the trenches, and adding skill-position talent, gives the Bills a solid grade.
Team needs for Buffalo coming into the NFL Draft
One of the deepest rosters in the NFL, Buffalo could stand to add talent to a few positions through the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Bills aren’t completely barren on the edge, but they need help. Jerry Hughes is only getting older, and although A.J. Epenesa flashed last year, his upside is a bit capped with his athleticism. If Buffalo can add an explosive pass-rushing catalyst, they’re in business.
Tre’Davious White and Levi Wallace should be able to man the boundary for another year. Still, the Bills might want to add upside and rotational ability. Additionally, they could acquire an upgrade in the slot.
The Bills have a lot of depth at defensive tackle, and Ed Oliver is still developing. Nevertheless, Buffalo doesn’t quite have a fearsome rotation yet. At the very least, they can add a high-upside interior lineman to boost the middle of the defensive front.
Dawson Knox still has some untapped upside for the Bills to try and unearth. However, if the right value is there, the Bills shouldn’t hesitate to use one of their 2021 draft picks on a tight end. With Josh Allen throwing the ball, it could be an explosive combination.
The Bills can boast their safety tandem of Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer for another year. Having said that, like many of Buffalo’s other positions, they should have a contingency plan for the future. There’s plenty of upside on Days 2 and 3.
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