The Buffalo Bills have continued to improve season after season, but have not achieved their goal of reaching the Super Bowl as of yet. The Bills showed that they are not playing around after signing free agent defensive end Von Miller in the off-season. To reach new heights this season, Buffalo have garnered plenty of players in the National Football League (NFL) Draft last month. Here is a recap of the Bills draft selections.
Round 1, Pick 23: Kaiir Elam - CB - Florida (6'1 1/2", 191 lbs, 1 INT, 5 pass break-ups).
Elam dropped a bit in this draft because he missed three games due to a knee injury last season, but he has the size to press receivers at the line of scrimmage, while having the speed to stay with them after the press. Drafting a corner was a top priority for the Bills after All-Pro CB Tre'Davious White is coming back from an ACL tear last season. Elam should see time on the field right away.
Round 2, Pick 31: James Cook - RB - Georgia (5'11", 199 lbs, 728 rushing yards, 7 TD, 284 rec yards, 4 TD).
Cook had over 1,000 all-purpose yards even though he was in a three running back rotation for Georgia and even though opposing defenses were always keying on the Bulldogs rushing game. Cook will be the change of pace back in a rotation with Devin Singletary and Zack Moss.
Round 3, Pick 25: Terrel Bernard - LB - Baylor (6'1", 224 lbs, 106 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 4 pass break-ups).
Bernard played at outside linebacker for the Bears and made plays all over the field. Though he is undersized by NFL standards at OLB, he should see time as a nickel linebacker because he can blitz the quarterback. Pressuring the QB is definitely something more the Bills need after the Chiefs knocked them out of the playoffs with only four plays in overtime.
Round 5, Pick 5: Khalil Shakir - WR - Boise State (6'0", 196 lbs, 77 rec, 1,117 rec yards, 7 TD).
Shakir can line up on the outside or in the slot with no issues. He is able to make plays happen after the catch and as a kick returner. The Bills are set at receiver with Stefon Diggs, Jamison Crowder, and Gabriel Davis, but he could see some minutes as a back-up or splitting returns with Isaiah McKenzie.
Araiza had the best season as a punter in NCAA history. He has the potential to become the best punter in NFL history because his some of his punts from last season went 70 yards in the air.
Round 6, Pick 6: Christian Benford - CB - Villanova (6'1", 208 lbs, 7 INT, 18 pass break-ups).
Benford led the FCS with 18 pass break-ups. He could see some time when teams run four or five WR sets. He is a disruptive playmaker at corner. Once he becomes accustomed to the step up in competition, then he will be very productive.
Round 6, Pick 31: Luke Tenuta - OT - Virginia Tech (6'8", 319 lbs).
Tenuta started at both tackle positions while at Virginia Tech. He adds depth at offensive tackle for the Bills.
Round 7, Pick 10: Baylon Spector - LB - Clemson (6'0", 233 lbs, 75 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT).
Spector will compete for a back-up inside linebacker spot.
Overall, Bills Mafia should be very happy about this draft. Drafting cornerbacks were a priority, but they also enhanced their offense by picking Cook and Shakir. Araiza is a game-changer because opposing offenses will now have to start their offense at best at their own 30 after his punts. Grade: B+.