What should the Buffalo Bills do at 50th overall in the NFL Draft?
The Buffalo Bills have been one of the most active teams this offseason, making key trades and signings. The way teams make it to the playoffs and build a playoff caliber team year in and year out is because of success in the NFL Draft.
The Bills do not have a first round pick in 2015, thanks to the trade-up to grab Sammy Watkins at fourth overall last season. Looking back, Buffalo might not have made that deal due to the receivers that would have been available had the Bills stayed put at nine overall (Odell Beckham, Brandin Cooks, Kelvin Benjamin, etc.). The list can go on, as 2014 was a very deep receiver class—2015 may even be better.
So without a first round pick, who should the Bills target with their first pick in the NFL draft? Which comes in at number 50 overall, falling in the middle of the second round.
Buffalo has two main needs that should be addressed early with their picks: Offensive line and linebacker. The trade for Lesean McCoy brought a dynamic play-maker to their offense, but they gave up arguably their best linebacker in Kiko Alonso, who spent all of 2014 recovering from an ACL injury. Depth at offensive line is highly questionable as well, in order for the McCoy trade to work out in the Bills favor, they will need an adequate o-line blocking for their gifted tailback.
With the tackle position locked up with Cordy Glenn and Seantrel Henderson, two young but gifted blockers, the Bills need to focus on the interior of their line, mainly the two guard spots next to their solid center Erik Wood. The combination of Kraig Urbik, Chris Williams, and Cyril Richardson leaves a lot to be desired for starting caliber offensive guards in the NFL. Even the addition of Richie Incognito is unproven, the guard did not play in the NFL last season, but he is bound to steal some lunch money as training camp (kidding…).
Which side of the ball should the Bills go with? Here are two prospects Buffalo should strongly consider:
Dawson is the most NFL ready inside linebacker in my eyes. He can diagnose the run faster than any other linebacker in the draft. He plays instinctive football and is just the type of player that could dominate in a Rex Ryan guided defense. He is a faster, more athletic version of a former Ryan linebacker, David Harris. Dawson is also a stud in the passing game, only 35% of passes thrown his way were completed; those are defensive back numbers. Dawson would come in immediately and start for a dominant Bills defense on paper.
Tomlinson has been rising draft boards (I originally graded him as a 3rd round prospect) but his football IQ and his ability to play right away has NFL scouts intrigued. Tomlinson was a four-year starter at Duke, and led the team not only by his play on-field, but became a vocal leader on that offensive unit. Tomlinson will protect the quarterback, something Bills fans are hoping to see with more consistency, as Laken did not allow a sack in his final two years in college. Tomlinson would immediately start at either left or right guard and will be the perfect pupil to learn the way to play the game from Erik Wood.
Either of these young men will add talent to a Buffalo Bills team that is starting to build something special, and can come in and play right away.
Any Bills fans have a different prospect you want Buffalo to target 50th overall? Let me know in the comments below…
Dan Schalk is the head writer for MFST, you should follow him on Twitter @ffsportstalk