The Buffalo Bills weren’t active during this year’s NFL Free Agency period, as they used their limited salary cap resources to retain their own–primarily left tackle Cordy Glenn, who received the franchise tag, and left guard Richie Incognito. This makes the 2016 NFL Draft very interesting and important for the Bills, as they’ll need to find players that can make an impact in place of those that were released or departed via free agency. Here at Building the Herd, I’ll predict who the Bills will pick in the draft and take a look at how the depth chart would shake out in this scenario. Please share any thoughts or comments below!
Nothing really changes here as the Bills really didn’t lose anyone in free agency but didn’t gain anyone on offense. They draft Tyler Boyd from Pittsburgh in the 3rd round to start across from Sammy Watkins. Boyd is one of the most dynamic players in this draft and although he doesn’t fit that speed type that General Manager Doug Whaley and Co. have said they want, he is an all-around great player. Rob Quinn broke him down earlier in the draft season Tyler Boyd Scouting Report
Another change I have is Cyrus Kouandjio starting at right tackle in place of Seantrel Henderson. The 2nd round bust finally works his way to the top after two years of getting minimal play time. Seantrel Henderson showed flashes the last two years but he was awful really bad throughout those two years.
The Bills draft Dak Prescott to be the third stringer behind Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel. They get the backup quarterback and potential starter that Doug Whaley has been preaching they need all offseason in the 4th round. Dak is a good fit for the scheme and offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s ideal quarterback.
I have them drafting Joshua Perry in the 2nd round to start next to third year linebacker Preston Brown. Joshua Perry is one of the most overlooked linebacker prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft and would be an interesting fit with the Buffalo Bills’ defense. Rex Ryan’s scheme is multiple and diverse, so having a player like Perry that can play several different positions within that defense would be valuable. While he doesn’t have the quick-twitch athleticism of his teammate Darron Lee, Joshua Perry has the speed, physicality and football intelligence that should allow him to make an early impact in all aspects of the game—from defending the run, dropping into coverage and rushing the passer.
The next change I have is Robert Blanton starting over Corey Graham. Outside of tackling Corey Graham was not a good safety in coverage and allowed a team-high 6 touchdowns. It is not a secret that safety is an important position in Rex Ryan’s defense as we saw them struggle when veteran Aaron Williams went down with injury for majority of the year. They needed safety depth so they signed Robert Blanton to a cheap deal, who was a top 10 safety in 2014 according to Pro Football Focus I think he’ll return to that form in 2016.
The final change I have is Louisiana Tech’s Vernon Butler starting at the 5 technique in place of former Bill Mario Williams. This is who the Bills expend their first round pick on. Vernon Butler is the type of player that a defensive line coach will salivate over. He has the size, movement skills and power to be a wrecking ball on the interior, but needs to clean up his game to be a truly dominant player. He’s been compared to a former Rex Ryan draft pick in Muhammed Wilkerson for his length, power and lateral agility, but Butler may be a bit bigger. Nonetheless, Vernon Butler is one of the more physically intriguing players within a deep defensive line group in the 2016 NFL Draft.
I also had them drafting Florida safety Keanu Neal in the 4th round, South Carolina offensive tackle Brandon Shell in the 5th round, William and Mary inside linebacker Luke Rhodes in the 6th round, and Nebraska nose tackle Vincent Valentine in the 7th round. Keanu Neal is a physical safety that’s a great fit with Rex, however he is a bit too raw to start so he will develop on the bench. Brandon Shell is a good run blocker and fits Roman’s scheme good, the Bills also need depth at tackle so it makes sense in the 5th round. Luke Rhodes is a flyer at linebacker in the 6th round, after watching the entire defense suffer because of the linebacker play when Nigel Bradham went out for the latter part of the year they need depth so they take Rhodes in the 6th round. Wanting versatility on the line Rex Ryan takes a big guy up front, Vincent Valentine, to add depth at the nose tackle in the 7th round.