The Buffalo Bills storybook season ended on Sunday and although the Super Bowl has yet to be played, teams are still starting to look towards the NFL Draft and how they can improve their teams.
With their draft position at No. 30 locked in, the Bills have a clearer picture of who they might be able to grab in this year’s draft and how they can improve their team. There are a few different places that they might look, as general manager Brandon Beane is always looking to protect his franchise quarterback in Josh Allen, while also giving him enough weapons around him.
On Monday, Steve Palazzolo from Pro Football Focus put together his most recent Mock Draft and connected the Bills to USC guard Alijah Vera-Tucker.
Palazzolo said that Vera-Tucker has graded well at both guard and tackle during his collegiate career, but he believes that he’s a better fit at guard in the NFL.
“He’s a smooth pass-protector and good second-level run-blocker,” Palazzolo said about Vera-Tucker during his mock draft article. “2020 showed that he could play tackle in a pinch because he allowed just eight pressures on 305 pass-blocking snaps on the season. Vera-Tucker helps the Bills maintain their solid offensive line.”
The Bills went through a lot of changes across the offensive line this season before they were able to settle down with their starting five which included tackles Dion Dawkins and Daryl Williams, guards Jon Feliciano and Ike Boettger, and center Mitch Morse.
The starting offensive line thrived with their ability to play multiple positions as they battled with injuries throughout this year. But, they will have to choose who they want to lock up in the offseason though as Williams, Feliciano, Boettger, Nsekhe, and Winters are all free agents this season.
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The Bills Will Still Get Cody Ford Back Next Season
How the Bills handled injuries this season was crucial to the team’s success. Brian Winters, Ty Nsekhe, and Ryan Bates all played roles at one point or another on the offensive line this season, but their biggest loss of the year was tackle Cody Ford.
The second-year linemen out of Oklahoma was in and out of the lineup all season long with different injuries but was placed on the injured reserve after Buffalo’s bye week with a knee injury. ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques reported that Ford suffered a torn meniscus, which was first reported by the NFL Network.
So, a lineman like Vera-Tucker, who has experience playing both tackle and guard and has success doing so, could be a crucial addition to Buffalo’s depth up front as they look to protect the future of their franchise in Allen.
The Bills Could Also Look to Running Back
With the potent passing offense the Bills had this year, it’s no wonder they struggled to run the ball. Despite having two young running backs in Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, who combined for 1,168 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, the Bills ran for 107.7 yards per game due in part to Allen’s running ability.
So, heading into the 2021 NFL Draft, the Bills may also look to draft a running back. Louis-Jacques believes the Bills should go after Clemson running back Travis Etienne.
While the Bills have plenty of depth at running back as it is, Louis-Jacques believes that Etienne has an elite level of speed that the Bills don’t have at the moment, which is something that the Chiefs possess.
Palazzolo doesn’t have Etienne going in the first round of his Mock Draft.
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