The NFL Draft is upon us with the festivities kicking off on Thursday night with Round 1 and going through Saturday afternoon.
With the coronavirus pandemic still a concern worldwide, this year's event will still take place all virtually after having to cancel the main event that was scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Buffalo Bills were slated to pick with the 22nd overall pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, but the team ended up using that pick to acquire wide receiver Stefon Diggs from the Minnesota Vikings. That leaves Buffalo with seven picks to make in the draft, with the first pick not coming until the 54th overall pick in the second round on Friday.
With that, here is my second and final mock draft for the first 54 picks of the 2020 NFL Draft:
We saw trade ups from both the Broncos and Falcons to secure their two top players in Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III and Florida’s C.J. Henderson. That allows the Jets to pick up an additional second round pick and move down only five total spots, which keeps them in a position to draft one of the top tackles.
Six total tackles are off the board by the time the Seahawks are on the clock before Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz becomes the first interior offensive lineman off the bored. On top of six tackles being taken in the first round, I’ve got six wide receivers coming off the board, as well as five corners, setting the stage for a Round 2 run on defensive backs.
The real winners of the first round are the Dolphins and Raiders, who combined for five total picks on Day 1. The Dolphins raise some eyebrows by taking Justin Herbert over Tua Tagovailoa, but was able to secure the second-best interior defensive lineman in the draft with Javon Kinlaw, and rounded out Round 1 by selecting a plug-and-play tackle from USC in Austin Jackson.
Mario Addison is 32, Jerry Hughes is 31, and Trent Murphy is 29. For a defense with almost no holes, they’re relying on quite a few players approaching the tail end of, what have been, very solid careers, respectively. Outside of Darryl Johnson, who impressed in preseason but played very few meaningful snaps during the regular season, they have very little youth and quality depth at the position. That is something that general manager Brandon Beane should really look at when considering his overall roster construction.
This was difficult because Michigan’s Josh Uche was still available here, and it ultimately came down to scheme fit. Uche, who measures in at just 6-foot-1 and 245 pounds, would have came in as the smallest edge player on the roster by a pretty wide margin. Although he may be a more dynamic pass rusher than Okwara, the Notre Dame senior provides more consistency on run downs and has more of a chance to be a three-down edge rusher, whereas Uche looks to be more of a third down specialist at the next level.
Uche also likely best fits as a standup rush linebacker in a 3-4, where Okwara would be an out-of-the-box solution for head coach Sean McDermott and the Bills out of the gate.
If you know me, you know I’m a pretty big Notre Dame fan, so this is coming from someone who watched every game of Okwara’s college career. He’s got all the tools: athleticism, arm length, size, initial-step, speed on the edge – he just needs to find a system and coaching staff that can maximize a player with loads of upside.
The Bills have very few needs, which is a testament to Beane’s roster building acumen, but they’re still not in a position to realistically draft the “best available player” when you consider some of the needs at corner and edge. I also won’t rule out running back in the second round either, which should make for a very fun next few days.