Bills Urged to Steal Patrick Mahomes ‘Asset,’ Speedy WR in NFL Draft

Ladd McConkey

Getty Former Georgia receiver Ladd McConkey at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 31, 202.

The Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott are in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine. While it’s unclear who the Bills will select in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft, selecting a wide receiver should be a top priority.

If Georgia’s Ladd McConkey is available at No. 28, the Bills should snatch him up. The Buffalo News’ Ryan O’Halloran wrote that McConkey could be “instantly deployed by offensive coordinator Joe Brady.”

Selecting the 22-year-old prospect “would serve three purposes: Slot receiver as a rookie, outside-inside receiver in 2025 and he wouldn’t become a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.

“No, really, that’s part of my thinking about getting aboard the Ladd Train. You know McConkey would be an immediate asset for quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Make him an immediate asset for Josh Allen.”

With Gabe Davis expected to walk in free agency, the Bills need another pass-catching weapon. As for the Chiefs, they need to upgrade at wide receiver if they’re looking for a Super Bowl three-peat. Kansas City already released veteran Marquez Valdez-Scantling.

Whichever receiver the Bills pass on at No. 28 could land with the Chiefs at No. 32. The 33rd Team projects McConkey landing with the Chiefs in their mock draft. O’Halloran surmised, “The Bills will be better this year if he does the job for them and not the Chiefs.”

The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia also urged Buffalo to draft a new weapon for Allen. “While wide receiver likely won’t dictate a complete overhaul thanks to having [Stefon] Diggs and [Khalil] Shakir, they desperately need to get a player who legitimately challenges defenses deep down the field to help open up the intermediate game for Diggs, [Dalton] Kincaid and others.”

Ladd McConkey Impressed at the NFL Combine With His Speed & Smooth Gauntlet Run

After watching McConkey perform at the NFL Combine on March 2, NFL analyst Kirk Herbstreit posted, “Ladd McConkey will be this year’s Puka!” While Puka Nacua was a fifth-round draft pick, the Rams receiver set a new NFL rookie record in receptions (105) and receiving yards (1,486).

Pro Football Focus’ Trevor Sikkema ranked the 5-foot-11 1/2, 186-pound receiver as the sixth-best receiver entering the draft. “McConkey is one of the best route runners in this class,” Sikkema wrote. “But, unlike some stereotypical expectations, he doesn’t just have quick speed; he also has good long speed. He is a slot guy at the next level due to size, but a more versatile one because of that all-around speed.”

In nine games last season, McConkey, battling through an ankle injury, recorded 30 receptions for 478 yards and two touchdowns. In 15 games in 2022, he registered 58 receptions for 762 yards and 7 touchdowns.

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper spoke highly of McConkey, who won two national championships during his tenure with the Bulldogs. “Ladd McConkey can fly. Ladd McConkey catches everything,” Kiper said. “[He’s] plug and play… I think Ladd finds a way in there [first round]. I don’t think Ladd McConkey in the first round is a stunt, I really don’t. It’s real.”

At the Combine, McConkey ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 on his second attempt. After watching his performance in the gauntlet, several analysts used the same adjective: smooth.

Ladd McConkey Has the Kind of Versatility Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott Loves

McDermott has a history of gravitating toward versatile players and based on McConkey’s comments on the combine, there isn’t an offensive task he can’t do.

“When it comes to competing, I’m going to out compete you, I’m going to outwork you,” McConkey told reporters. “I think I can run routes, play on the outside, inside, special teams. Think I’m very versatile and can do a little bit of everything.”

Cover 1’s Greg Thompsett posted, “At Georgia, he lined up outside WR 72% of the time and 28% in the slot his 2 years as a starter.”

McDermott is also looking for a prospect who can make an immediate impact. “It’s a young man’s game right now with the amount of rookies that are playing and playing impactful snaps around the league,” McDermott told reporters.

“We need our young players to come in and be ready to play and able to play and so I think that’s an important piece of it for us here that these interviews, we really get to the bottom of who these players are not just as players but who they are as people in their DNA.”