Alex Brasky | @BataviasBest
Sunday, April 29, 2018 | BataviasBest.org
After months of anticipation, the 2018 NFL Draft took place over the weekend and ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. awarded the Buffalo Bills an A grade for their performance. The Bills came away with their QB, along with a list of other valuable assets which are sure to improve the scope of their roster immediately.
1st Round | Josh Allen (QB-Wyoming)
The future, the franchise. Josh Allen will have his detractors in Buffalo but will still have every chance to become, over the next few seasons, what this team needs. He may not play right away, and may take time to groom behind new addition AJ McCarron, but that’s all well and good – if he turns out to be our guy.
1st Round | Tremaine Edmunds (LB-Virginia Tech)
Comes from a football family, and is still only a teenager. It was surprising that he stuck around until pick #16, but hey, the Bills will sure as hell take it. The key to whether or not this draft is a success, behind Josh Allen of course, Edmunds must turn out to be an All Pro-type player – and I believe he can.
3rd Round | Harrison Phillips (DT-Stanford)
Looks as if the Bills found the heir apparent to Kyle Williams. This guy is a monster and you’ll find very few with a negative thing to say about his character. His work ethic seems to be second-to-none, and his tenacity at the defensive tackle position is valuable. Phillips is also a former wrestler, which only adds to my excitement and intrigue surrounding him. I like this pick a lot.
4th Round | Taron Johnson (DB-Weber State)
This former wide receiver was undervalued coming out of HS, and thus didn’t face top-tier competition in college. In my eyes, this pick left a lot to be desired but time will tell. Johnson isn’t a model of physicality which will limit his ability to guard along the outside.
5th Round | Siran Neal (DB-Jacksonville State)
Another defensive back from the lower levels of college football drafted by the Bills, but this one I feel different about. Neal is more physically able than Johnson, which is something I value when it comes to corners/safeties. If you can’t get into your guy at the line of scrimmage, or lay the hammer at the next level, of what use are you to the team defensively? Neal can presumably do both.
5th Round | Wyatt Teller (OG-Virginia Tech)
This was my favorite pick of the draft, and it had nothing to do with the fact that I wrote prior to Thursday night that I believed the Bills desperately needed to upgrade their offensive line. I can see Teller working his way into the starting lineup before the season is over. His effort was lacking last season, but McDermott won’t let that problem persist. This is a perfect fit for the former Hokie.
6th Round | Ray-Ray McCloud (WR-Clemson)
I don’t see McCloud becoming a prototypical NFL wide receiver. A former running back with good hands, I expect the offense to find a fit for him running gadget-type plays close to the line of scrimmage. The former Tiger is slower than you’d like, and doesn’t possess elite physical traits. I don’t love this pick.
6th Round | Austin Proehl (WR-North Carolina)
The son of former Carolina Panthers WR Ricky Proehl, Austin has football in his blood but will have plenty to prove at the next level. Proehl’s private workout with Bills’ assistant WR coach Chad Hall during the pre-draft process may have been a factor in his selection.
All in all, I would have to agree with the sentiments of one Mel Kiper Jr., as I too see the Bills’ performance in the 2018 NFL Draft as one worthy of an A grade. They not only were able to get top-tier talent at the top of the draft, but also addressed big needs towards the mid-to-late rounds. This was a good year for the Buffalo front office.