Buffalo Bills' 2019 draft: Analysis for every pick

NFL draft profile: Ed Oliver (1:14)

Ed Oliver is a great interior defender with violent hands and elite first-step quickness. (1:14)

Breaking down the Buffalo Bills' class in the 2019 NFL draft.

Round 1, No. 9 overall: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

My take: Few will quibble with the Bills' decision to take Ed Oliver and stop his fall down the board. Despite an overwhelming need to add offensive talent at the start of this offseason, Buffalo's best bet early in this draft has always been to tap into a well-stocked class of defensive linemen. Oliver's selection blends value and need for the Bills, who lost starting defensive tackle Kyle Williams to retirement this offseason. Oliver should start immediately and is about as safe a pick as Buffalo could have made at No. 9.

Switching roles in the NFL: Bills general manager Brandon Beane noted that Oliver played mostly nose tackle at Houston but will shift to three-technique in the pros. That means Oliver will transition from a lateral style of play in college to more of a penetrating philosophy in Buffalo. In doing so, his role should be similar to that of Williams last season alongside nose tackle Star Lotulelei. Like Oliver, Williams faced questions entering the NFL about being undersized, but he answered them with a relentless motor. Although McDermott cautioned against raising expectations of Oliver to that of a six-time Pro Bowler in Williams, Beane acknowledged that this pick was made with replacing Williams in mind.

McDermott felt Oliver's presence: One of the few pro days McDermott attended this draft season was Oliver's at Houston. Videos at the event showed McDermott getting hands-on with Oliver during drills, which fueled speculation that he could be the Bills' target. McDermott said he felt Oliver's presence during the visit, adding, "The closer you got, the more you felt the quickness, the power and the juice." The Bills will need Oliver to use those traits to overcome a lack of size at 6-foot-2 and 287 pounds.


NFL draft profile: Cody Ford

Cody Ford is an offensive lineman out of Oklahoma who was a first-team All-Big 12 selection for the Sooners.

Round 2, No. 38 overall: Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma

My take: The Bills traded up two spots to leapfrog Tampa Bay and avoid the Buccaneers selecting Ford. The cost of the deal was a fifth-round pick (No. 158 overall), which Buffalo sent back to Oakland after acquiring it last September for quarterback AJ McCarron. The pick of Ford makes sense because it fills a long-term need at offensive tackle. Ty Nsekhe, whom the Bills signed as a free agent this offseason and should start at right tackle, turns 34 in October. However, the cost of the Ford trade -- and in a larger sense, whether dealing McCarron before last season was the right move -- can be debated.

Round 3, No. 74 overall: Devin Singletary, RB, Florida Atlantic

My take: It is hard to analyze this selection without considering the future of LeSean McCoy in Buffalo. As a third-round pick, Singletary is a lock to join the 53-man roster and be part of a backfield that also could include free-agent signings Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon and Senorise Perry. It is becoming easier to see the Bills trading or releasing McCoy after his career-worst season in 2018. Buffalo could save more than $6 million of his $9.05 million cap number by making a move before Week 1.


NFL draft profile: Dawson Knox

Dawson Knox is a tight end out of Ole Miss who has shown good potential as a blocker and has an excellent blend of size, length and top-end speed.

Round 3, No. 96 overall: Dawson Knox, TE, Ole Miss

My take: The Bills continued to opt for quality over quantity by making their second trade up of the draft. After giving up a fifth-round pick to move up two spots in the second round, the Bills gave up both of their fourth-round picks to rejoin the third round and take Knox, the top remaining tight end on the board. He addresses the team's biggest remaining area of need. Only Tyler Kroft, Jake Fisher and Jason Croom were under contract entering the draft.

Round 5, No. 147 overall: Vosean Joseph, LB, Florida

My take: The Bills were thin on numbers at linebacker and Joseph could add depth on the back end of the 53-man roster. Joseph has athletic potential but might be undersized at the NFL level. With Buffalo's starting linebackers set, his best path to a roster spot could be special teams.

Round 6, No. 181 overall: Jaquan Johnson, S, Miami

My take: Safety was perhaps the deepest spot on the Bills' roster entering the draft, but general manager Brandon Beane stayed true to his draft board in selecting Johnson. Expected to go higher in the draft, he is an undersized safety who probably will carve a role on special teams because the Bills have two established long-term starting safeties in Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. He will compete with 2018 draft pick Siran Neal and veteran Rafael Bush for a backup job.

Round 7, No. 225 overall: Darryl Johnson Jr., OLB, NC A&T

My take: The Bills have a glaring long-term need at pass-rusher, so they are taking a look at Johnson and his athletic potential in the seventh round. Johnson, who has ideal length at 6-foot-6, could be a candidate for a back-end spot on the 53-man roster or the practice squad. With the contracts of Jerry Hughes and Shaq Lawson set to expire after this season, he has a chance to contribute in 2020.

Round 7, No. 228 overall: Tommy Sweeney, TE, Boston College

My take: The Bills are doubling down on tight end, their biggest position of need, in the draft. After trading up for Dawson Knox in the third round, they added another option in Sweeney in the seventh round. He projects as more of a blocking tight end at the NFL level and is likely to compete with Jake Fisher, a converted offensive tackle who signed as a free agent this offseason, for a roster spot.