With less than 72 hours of the final 2021 NFL Draft pick, the Buffalo Bills certainly look better than they did a year ago. Fans wondered if the Buffalo Bills actually got better on paper. While it might not have been in the areas many of us were hoping for, this draft class definitely made the team better.
Yes, it’s disappointing that Bills didn’t draft Cornerback in the first two days of the draft. However, there were other positions on the list that required depth. For example, I didn’t take the need for the swing tackle too seriously. I was greeted with a backhand to the face by Brandon Beane, general manager of the Buffalo Bills, who wrote back-to-back offensive tackles. It goes to show that what we Bills fans want for the team rarely matches what the people who actually run the ship want to do.
Buffalo Bills Round 1 – Pick 30
When the Bills were up to 30 picks, I was really hoping for an Edge Rusher or a Cornerback. Asante Samuel Jr. and Joe Tryon were both available and had met with the Bills during the pre-draft process. Seeing them on the board gave me tunnel vision. When I saw that the Buffalo Bills decided to write Greg Rousseau, I was disappointed. However, after some time to think about it, I was delighted because Rousseau has a lot of untapped potential.
Even though it wasn’t the best name for my big board, I certainly understand why it was the choice. Yes, it only has one year of production. However, this was his first year playing this position and he produced on a very large scale. He was still able to count more than 15 sacks in a season without sophisticated techniques. I might have caught someone more polite, but I really like the draft pick in hindsight. That says a lot about the culture that has been instilled in the organization of the Buffalo Bills. Writing an unfinished product like Rousseau works for both the player and for the team. Plugging Rousseau into a culture like Buffalo allows him to become the best version of himself.
Buffalo Bills Round 2 – Pick 61
As much as drafting ruffled Edge Rushers back-to-back feathers, I was delighted to see the Carlos Basham Jr. Bills Draft Basham was one of the first I looked at and he ticked all the boxes for me.
In my humble opinion, I think he may be one of the best Edge Rushers in this draft class. I think the main reason he’s lasted so long is because of his age. At 23 already, the teams might have feared that Basham was already a finished product. However, for bills it is a good thing. After drafting Rousseau in the first round, Basham feels comfortable with the high stage he offers as a rookie.
Buffalo Bills Round 3 – Pick 93
As I mentioned before, a backup Swing Tackle wasn’t high on my personal priority list for the Buffalo Bills heading into this draft. However, writing Spencer Brown makes a lot of sense from a team-building standpoint. Protecting the QB franchise is as important as securing the weapons for your QB franchise. If he is not standing he cannot bring the ball to these weapons.
Although the Buffalo Bills have re-signed Daryl Williams this offseason, there is potential built into the contract. There is no guarantee that Williams will be able to double his season last year. Brown is an insurance policy for Daryl Williams’ injury and potential regression in 2021.
Buffalo Bills 5th Round – Pick 161
I might have been okay with writing back-to-back rushes, but I was definitely confused with the direction of the project after Bills drafted Tommy Doyle. I love the perspective, but it just doesn’t make sense to me. With Dawkins, Williams and Brown on the roster, it seemed like a waste of choice.
However, Daryl Williams is not guaranteed to be on this list in 2022. Therefore, Spencer Brown could be promoted to the title of Right Tackle in 2022, which would make Tommy Doyle the next man as a Swing Tackle replacement on the list. Yes, it would have been nice to pass that choice on to someone who would have a more direct path to playtime. That said, it’s heartwarming to know that Beane and McDermott are building a model of lasting success rather than mortgaging it. ‘to come up.
Buffalo Bills 6th Round – Pick 203
When the Buffalo Bills traded the 174th pick with the Houston Texans, I was thrilled. I saw this as an opportunity for Brandon Beane to start attacking the various positions that were marked as areas for improvement. But before that, he decided to keep his eyes on the future when he drafted Marquez Stevenson.
Stevenson is a burner who brings a versatile skill set to the next level. He has the ability to operate primarily out of the lunge, threatening as a deep threat on the border, and returning kicks. It’s too early to tell, but Stevenson could find himself in a heated training camp battle with Isaiah McKenzie. Even if he loses this battle, he is eligible for the practice squad and can take McKenzie’s place in 2022.
Buffalo Bills 6th Round – Pick 212
Maybe my favorite pick in the 2021 Buffalo Bills Draft was Safety Damar Hamlin. After losing Dean Marlowe to the Detroit Lions in free agency, there was a vacancy in the security post. Hamlin comes in as a very experienced and productive collegiate security. He is a very complete player who does nothing well but who does not have any glaring weaknesses either.
Hamlin will primarily serve as injury insurance for Micah Hyde and / or Jordan Poyer. As much as I love Hamlin, I hope this never has to happen. However, I think Hamlin also allows the Bills to use more defensive packages that include 3 guarantees. It has the versatility to back up in the racing game, play in the nickel, or roll back as deep security. This versatility allows Bills to be more creative with their coverage plans in the future.
Buffalo Bills 6th Round – Pick 213
After patiently waiting, the Buffalo Bills finally drafted a Cornerback with their third sixth-round selection. Rachad Wildgoose wasn’t someone I knew too well, but it was fun getting to know his game. He’s a very physical Cornerback who likes to make his presence felt.
He may not be an immediate contender for the CB2 competition, but he will contribute to the bully identity the Buffalo Bills are trying to create. Wildgoose plays a tough brand of football, which can be felt most immediately as a Nickel Corner and / or in special teams. Wildgoose showed me a glimpse of the ability to contribute as a Boundary Corner, but it may take a little while before the coaching staff gives him that role as the opposite of White.
Buffalo Bills 7th Round – Pick 236
The inside offensive line was another group of positions that were seen as a top priority for the Buffalo Bills entering the draft. However, they waited to fix it with the last choice. That being said, I think Jack Anderson has found a great choice.
Anderson is yet another player who makes his presence known to his opponents. He has the flexibility of position to play guard post and center. Ideally, he can compete for one of the two starting guard posts. If he doesn’t win any of those gigs, he can still come in and be a great substitute for Mitch Morse at the center position.
Buffalo Bills 2021 Draft Class Recap
The outcome of this Buffalo Bills draft class gives me a clear picture. In the past, the Bills felt more comfortable taking players with big jobs and good production to college. In 2021, Bills seemed comfortable adding top athletes. I think it’s because they believe in the culture of the organization. Whether you’re a 1st round pick, a 7th round pick, or an undrafted free agent, you need to earn your place on the team. This blue collar mentality really makes everyone the best version of themselves.
Plus, they believe in the coaching staff to hone the talent of these raw athletes. in 2021 the Buffalo Bills were certainly trying to add athleticism and they succeeded. You can train pattern, technique, and situational football, but you cannot teach athletics. With a full roster already in place, these recruits shouldn’t be contributing heavily in the first year. Rookie contributions are always welcome, but that patience is a luxury the Buffalo Bills have this year.
Summary of air raid hours
Last night on Time for the air raid, we were honored to be joined by NFL Draft Diamonds owner Damond Talbot. In addition to getting his reaction to the 2021 Buffalo Bills draft class, we talked about the unwritten free agents that Bills managed to sign. We also got his thoughts on the Buffalo Bills picking up fifth year options over Josh Allen and Tremaine Edmunds. Damond has an incredible wealth of knowledge about football in general and the Buffalo Bills in particular.
Now that the NFL Draft is behind us, we haven’t finished the show with our regular simulation project. Instead, we asked Damond about a few little school prospects to keep on our radar for 2022. If you missed us live, you can see the replay linked and embedded above. You don’t want to be missed as we turn the page on the draft and start breaking down the 2021 Buffalo Bills roster.