Bills’ Draft ‘Steal’ Puts $17 Million Starter on Hot Seat

O'Cyrus Torrence

Getty O'Cyrus Torrence of Florida participates in a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 05, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

After trading up to snag Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft, the Buffalo Bills focused their attention on the offensive line and selected Florida’s massive right guard, O’Cyrus Torrence, with their No. 59 overall pick in the second round.

Within seconds of Torrence’s name getting called on Friday, April 28, WGR 550‘s Sal Capaccio tweeted, “Torrence will make camp very interesting for Ryan Bates,” and he wasn’t the only Bills analyst to question whether Buffalo’s 26-year-old starter could be in the hot seat after the team drafted the 6-foot-5, 330-pounder.

Spectrum News 1 reporter Jon Scott tweeted, “Bates contract isn’t big enough to feel he *has* to start should O’Cyrus Torrence come in and win the job this year. It’s absolutely one they could get out of in 2024 to open spot for Torrence… or not too bad to eat as reserve… or even kick in to center.”

Ryan Bates

GettyBill guard Ryan Bates stretches during warm-ups prior to the game against the Tennessee Titans at Highmark Stadium on September 19, 2022.

Bates signed a four-year, $17 million contract last year, and earned an overall 61.8 grade from Pro Football Focus for the 2022 NFL season. Because the Bills re-signed Ike Boettger and inked Connor McGovern to a three-year, $23 million contract in free agency, WROC-TV‘s Thad Brown questioned the choice to go with Torrence, but couldn’t deny his value.

Brown tweeted, “Grabbing Torrence at 59 is pretty incredible value for the #Bills. On the flip side, he’s being added to a crammed position. McGovern and Bates are on multi-year deals. Torrence also only played guard in college. May have been better fits available but still nice pick.”

SB Nation gave the Bills’ second-round pick a solid “A” grade: “Not sure why Torrence fell this far, but he’s a steal at this point for the Bills. Powerful mauler in a phone booth who will instantly boost the run game of Buffalo.”

Bills general manager Brandon Beane said on Friday evening that “Torrence will start off at guard,” per The Buffalo News‘ Jay Skurski. “He doesn’t totally close the door on him working at tackle at some point, but that doesn’t sound like the plan right away.” Beane also noted Torrence will have to “come in and earn” the starting role.”

As for Bates, “We’re going to still have him there at guard working, but he can get us out of a game at tackle and he’ll probably back up Mitch at center,” Beane said.

O’Cyrus Torrence Was Expected to Be a 1st-Round Pick

Overall, the Bills received a lot of praise for nabbing the first-team All-American, who played for three seasons at Louisiana before following his head coach, Billy Napier, to Florida, per In a total of 48 games and 47 starts throughout his collegiate career, he didn’t allow one sack, which has to be music to quarterback Josh Allen’s ears.

NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms loved the selection, who ranked Torrence as the No. 3 best offensive lineman in the draft. He tweeted, “The @BuffaloBills got the best true guard in the draft. O’Cyrus Torrence is a power house!! He is a road grater in the run game and immoveable in the pass game.”

NFL Network‘s Daniel Jeremiah tweeted, “Great value pick for the Bills at 59. Torrence had some 1st-round buzz and Buffalo is able to grab him at the end of round 2.”

13WHAM‘s Dan Fetes tweeted, “@nfldraftscout described O’Cyrus Torrence to me as ‘an ass kicker’ Would have been happy with him at No. 27. VERY happy the #Bills got him in the second round.”

Bills reporter Maddy Glab delivered this “fun fact” about Torrence. Glab tweeted, he was “the second-most mocked player to the #Bills at No. 27. He was mocked to Buffalo 18 times out of the 171 we tracked… Good get for the Bills in the second round.”

O’Cyrus Torrence’s Nickname Is ‘Cybo’

Torrence told The Buffalo News back in February that his nickname is “Cybo” which is short for “Cyborg.”

The newest member of the Bills’ offensive line, who was 10 pounds when he was born, explained the nickname stemmed from a popular Cartoon Network show. “Cybo has been with me since I was a kid; my mom used to call me ‘Cyborg’ from the Teen Titans because I was a big kid,” Torrence said. “It kind of stuck. My brothers cut it to Cybo.”

Torrence, who met with the Bills at the NFL Combine and had a Top-30 visit with the team, is thrilled to land in Buffalo. “When I got the call I was wondering does this feel right? Then when I saw the call was coming from Buffalo my heart starting beating fast. I’m still soaking it in right now,” he said, per One Bills Live host Chris Brown.

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