The Buffalo Bills are mere days away from deciding who they will select in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft and while analysts have pored over each and every direction the team may swing with their No. 25 overall pick, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah believes the team will swerve to select a running back.
While the Bills are in desperate need of a cornerback and could definitely use another receiver, selecting Iowa State’s Breece Hall, “by far — would be the best running back on their roster if he were to go there,” Jeremiah said during a conference call on April 21.
“I think you’ve got an offense that’s going to go out and get a bunch of leads with how explosive they are, I think getting somebody that can finish the game, I think Breece Hall gives you that ability,” Jeremiah continued.
While drafting a running back so early is considered a too-risky of a move by many, Jeremiah said it’s the “right move “provided your team is ready to win right now,” and the Bills are “a championship-caliber team right now. You draft a running back, every single one of those carries you would think for the next four or five years is going to be a meaningful, valuable carry.”
Hall, who’s 5-foot-11, 278 pounds, recorded 41 rushing touchdowns over the past two seasons at Iowa State. In 2021, the 20-year-old running back rushed for 1,472 yards and 20 touchdowns along with 36 receptions, per The Buffalo News. At the NFL combine, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds.
As it stands, the Bills’ No. 1 running back is Devin Singletary, followed by Zack Moss, and Duke Johnson, the latter of whom signed a one-year deal with Buffalo last month.
Numerous Other Analysts Predict the Bills May Draft Hall in the First Round
On April 13, Cover 1 reported that one of the most-sought running backs in the 2022 NFL Draft, Hall, visited Buffalo, a player that many analysts predict could be taken in the first round, per ESPN‘s Draft Predictor.
Earlier this month, The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia predicted the Bills will select Hall in the first round, and for three reasons. First is that general manager Brandon Beane is not against the idea of taking a running back early.
“In last year’s build-up to the draft, Beane left the door wide open on taking a runner in the first round,” Buscaglia wrote. “He did not subscribe to the theory that the position wasn’t worth the selection. ‘I don’t worry about that too much,’ Beane said last April. If he’s the best guy on our board, we wouldn’t hesitate to take him.'”
Second, the fact the team’s leading back, Singletary, is set to become a free agent in 2023, and adding Hall would be solid insurance. Buscaglia noted, “They’ve also been looking for a do-it-all back who can break a run wide open, and they might be veering toward running more zone principles and need a runner like Hall to execute those plays at a high level.”
Lastly, selecting an elite running back from the draft is way cheaper than signing one in free agency or making a trade. Buscaglia wrote, “Given their cap situation, using a late first-round pick on a running back gives them the most cost-effective fifth-year options of any position. It provides them roster control through the entire prime of the player’s career without a big second contract.”
The Bills Could Take a Gamble & Possibly Draft Hall in the Second Round
The Bills drafting a running back early “won’t be a surprise,” but Democrat & Chronicle’s Sal Maiorana tweeted, “and it might happen in the second round if Breece Hall is sitting there.”
If the Bills take a corner in the first round such as Michigan’s Daxton Hill or Clemson’s Andrew Booth Jr., and then snag Hall with their No. 57 overall pick, that seems to be Buffalo’s ideal situation.
Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus said gave Hall a glowing review:
With the bell-cow type back growing out of vogue more so every year in the college game, Hall was a true throwback. His 531 carries in the past two seasons were 111 more than any other Power Five running back in the country. His 41 scores were also five more than any back in college football. Iowa State ran their offense through him largely because there are very few weaknesses to his game. Whatever concept or play you want to draw up, chances are Hall can execute.